‘Shadow watchmakers’ come into the light

‘Shadow watchmakers’ come into the light

Postby koimaster » June 3rd 2017, 11:26am

‘Shadow watchmakers’ come into the light
Brands are at last revealing that they use external partners

June 1, 2017
by: Ming Liu

Christophe Claret has worked, in his words, as a “shadow watchmaker” for 65 brands in his 35-year career. Some houses — Ulysse Nardin and Harry Winston — he can name, others require privacy. Despite large brands’ protestations of in-house expertise, sometimes collectors want “exceptional” pieces, he says. “Of course, some houses can do this internally, but many prefer to go outside because they don’t necessarily have the creativity within.” They turn to Mr Claret, who launched his own brand in 2009 (his Maestro, below), and to his peers — but have rarely communicated that fact. Now, that is changing.
As Swiss craftsmen started excelling in watchmaking in the 19th century, makers of discrete parts for movements developed independently alongside familiar brands. For example, ETA, the largest manufacturer of Swiss watch movements, is the agglomeration of several independent workshops and, although it was absorbed by the Swatch Group in the 1980s, it continues to make movements for other brands. For the past five to 10 years, to control production and avoid supply-chain disruption, big brands have bought other companies.

https://www.ft.com/content/58460422-195 ... d2cb31823a

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