March 16, 2016
Kering should buy rest of Christophe Claret and save Ulysse-Nardin/Girard Perregaux in the process.
The late Rolf W. Schnyder made Christophe Claret to what the company was at it’s greatest. And, CC was just a bi-product in RWS’s process of growing Ulysse Nardin from two employees to three hundred. The RWS era Ulysse Nardin produced watches that were interesting enough to do their own publicity. UN had a “story” twenty years before it got hip and no need for sponsoring.
At the helm of Girard Perregaux was another passionate and visionary man, Luigi Macaluso. In his case, though, it was rather a steering wheel. Late Mr. Macaluso was a proper petrolhead. The tourbillon with the three golden bridges, brought down to wrist watch size, is a masterpiece.
UN and GP were prototypes of a “small giant” company. Somehow these two patrons managed to maintain the feeling of a family even in factories that employed hundreds. They lined Christophe Claret’s pockets with money… and their own companies promptly lost their mojo once they had lost their inimitable bosses.
Somebody in Kering needs to visit the Basel faire, this week, and get a close look at the CC stand. Never mind the weird and frankly rather silly CC complications of late, the watchmaking is there and the finishing is nice and traditional. Kering needs to flex their muscle one more time and finish what they started in UN and GP. Like Swatch Group with Breguet, Richemont with Roger Dubuis, Kering needs to buy Christophe Claret and bring their best watchmaking under one roof in Le Locle. Find the mojo, make some nice watches, again, and maybe sell a few to third parties… like Bovet and Jaquet Droz. If nothing else, the people who already bought GP and UN watches for millions, with Christophe Claret mouvements in them, deserve to be safe in the knowledge that there will be spare parts in stock to service their watches for years to come.