(A continuation of the article “Surrounding the SIHH...”) The path of the independent brands is far from being strewn with rose petals. Michael Vogt, who also had a stand at GTE with his watch brand for travellers, Vogard, created in 2003, can bear witness to this fact. “Since I began, the market has changed considerably,” explains the former head of marketing at TAG Heuer (during the Christian Viros era). “In 2008, the industry suffered a veritable earthquake that created a new reality for the small watch brands. The market became locked up and the large groups exerted enormous pressure on the retailers. Even if 2012 was an excellent year for us—November and December were the best two months in a very long time—going to battle with a wooden rifle is not enough. Today, you need F16s and aircraft carriers… The general watchword is consolidation and the big have become way too big. Now, with ten years of hindsight and 5,000 watches sold, we can affirm that our unique technology [Editor’s note: developed by the excellent independent watchmaker Andreas Strehler] has proven reliable. Yet, I need to form a strategic partnership with a more powerful brand. This has become a necessity.”
Vogard has, however, put in a credible performance. Increasing gradually in complexity, its very original and exclusive collection, designed and produced with care, debuted with the Timezoner, the world’s first watch where the time zone can be adjusted by a simple movement of the crown. Vogard then introduced the Chronozoner, a chronograph for travellers with the same exclusive complication. This year saw the launch of the Datezoner. In addition to the chronograph, this watch changes the date automatically for the corresponding time zone.
Progressively, the brand’s collection has passed from CHF 7,500 to CHF 15,000 for the Datezoner. In addition, Vogard has increased its specific editions, with time zones based on the passions of the watch’s owner: golf courses, air fields, F1 circuits, casinos, surf spots, etc. Even the rotating bezels can be totally personalised (for an additional fee of CHF 1,200). We also cannot forget that Vogard is the only brand to display the respective summer and winter time hours in different time zones.
Source: Europa Star February - March 2013 Magazine Issue