Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Homophobia, Sexism and the Watch Business

Yes, you read the title right.


Breitling's US boss has been accused of homophobia by a former sales executive.  That is bad enough, but this is now public as the sales executive in question - Frederick Cargian has sued and the documents have been filed in Manhattan Federal Court.  The focus of the complaint is Thierry Prissert who oversees Breitling on this side of the Atlantic, and the discriminatory behavior that is alleged to have begun when he took over the US operations in 2010.

To boil the complaint down to some basics - and to be clear I am basing this on what is available through shockingly few media outlets, according to Mr. Cargian's complaint there were a fair number of alleged incidents, but chief among Mr. Cargian's overall concerns are:

1.  Mr. Cargian's complaint asserts that he had been a very successful sales representative.  
2. Mr. Cargian's complaint asserts that he had been responsible for a specific territory that was then reduced with an inexperienced new rep being offered a large part of it.
3.  That Breitling's US boss - according to Mr. Cargian's complaint - encouraged a "boy's club" atmosphere.
4.  Mr. Cargian's complaint asserts that women and (by default owing to his sexual orientation) Mr. Cargian were often excluded from Breitling company activities - most glaringly a "team building" trip to Crewe, England held by auto partner Bentley.
5.  Mr. Cargian's complaint asserts that at BaselWorld male sales team members were billeted together, Mr. Cargian was assigned to share a room with a married female sales team member.

There is more, but let's just say those are some key points and again - this is information gathered from the reporting of Britain's Independent.

Although he appeared to be doing a good job for Breitling and had been with the company for quite some time, he was let go in December 2013 after a "brief" tenure of 23 years...

Okay, those are the basics and you can check out a few articles relating to this here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/breitling-boss-thierry-prissert-accused-of-homophobia-by-gay-sales-rep-10055004.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/breitling-watches-president-biased-lawsuit-article-1.2119334


So let's see what comes out of this, but I will say that the watch world IS A BOY'S CLUB.  The level of testosterone that wafts around the BaselWorld venues and most particularly after hours parties and drinking sessions is palpable.  Moreover, it doesn't have to be that way.


The BR 01 Turns 10!

It is hard to believe, but the Bell & Ross BR 01 is celebrating its 10th birthday.


Courtesy of Bell & Ross

This is the BR 01 10th Anniversary.

The BR 01 took its inspiration from cockpit instruments creating a timekeeper with undeniable roots in aviation.

This is a large watch, with easy to read indices and hands - and that was the point 10 years ago, just as it is the point today.

Courtesy of Bell & Ross
But this is not merely a re-do of the first BR 01, because times as well as materials have changed.  This anniversary model was conceived of Matte black ceramic with a stainless steel case back.  Measuring 46 mm in diameter, the dial is clean and precise.  Hours, minutes and seconds. 

The movement is the BR-CAL.302.  This is a self-winding mechanical movement.

Courtesy of Bell & Ross
The dial and the back of the case bear the birthday wishes.

Water resistant to 100 meters, the BR 01 10th Anniversary is secured by a black rubber strap with folding black pvd buckle.

Here are the specifics straight from Bell & Ross:

Technical specifications

Movement: BR-CAL.302. Mechanical automatic

Functions: hours, minutes, seconds

Case: 46 mm diameter. Matte black ceramic. Steel case back with the inscription "10th Anniversary" 


Dial: stamped black. Hands, indices and numerals covered with a white photoluminescent coating (Superluminova®) and "10th Anniversary" inscription

Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire

Water resistance: 100 m

Straps: black rubber and ultra-resistant synthetic canvas

Buckle: pin. Steel with black PVD* finish 



Monday, March 30, 2015

The North Flag

From Tudor!


Now point of full disclosure, several of my European colleagues got treated to a very fun preview of this watch the night before BaselWorld. But all jealous feelings aside, I have to say that this was the watch that just about everyone was talking about. One of my colleagues from the magazine that I sometimes write for said - "That is the one watch I would be ready to take out my credit card for."

I got to see this early on at BaselWorld, but I wanted to give it time to sink in before writing about it.  And after seeing everything else on offer from all of the brands, I can honestly say that this made my top 3, no question!

This model is called the North Flag.  A closer look will reveal that the lugs are "integrated" just like those of the Ranger 2 of "yesteryear".  It comes in a few options in terms of bracelet -
stainless steel, or matte black leather with yellow stitching and lining. Secured by a satin finished stainless steel clasp.
The case is stainless steel measuring 40 m in diameter.  The back is a sapphire crystal display.  Water resistant to 100 meters.


And wait - there's more!  Not only is this a certified chronometer, it also utilizes a Tudor manufacture movement!  That would be:
Manufacture Tudor MT5621 
Self-winding mechanical with bidirectional rotor system and COSC certified.  Hours, minutes, seconds, rapid date set and power reserve indicator.  70 hours of power reserve!

If I am honest, I was a wee-bit underwhelmed by last year's Ranger.  But this one, this one I think is a home run!  Well done Tudor!


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tempting Teutonic Timekeepers

from Tutima!  Sorry, just couldn't resist the alliteration ; )

Courtesy of Tutima
This is the Saxon One Chronograph from Tutima.  I got to try it on in person, and it was fantastic!

The case is different - but that is part of the attraction.  Not another round flieger, but something with a bit of sophistication and presence.

The case is stainless steel and measures 43 mm.  The movement is noted as the Cal. Tutima 521.  A self-winding ti-compax chronograph.

I love the case on this series, but I REALLY love the dial and strap combination of this particularly piece.  The daily color is not grey, or metal, or some other "MANLY-MAN" descriptor.  No, in keeping with the unique elegance of this watch, the color of the dial is known as Opalin anthracite.  I like that!

Water resistant to 20 atmospheres with "integrated" push pieces for the chronograph functions.  This watch is special.

Here are the "pertinents", straight from Tutima -

MovementCal. Tutima 521
CaseStainless steel
DialOpalin anthracite
BandAlligator strap with folding clasp
Diameter43 mm
Height15.7 mm

Movement details: Automatic movement chronograph. Rotor antique grey with gold seal. 25 jewels. Polished screws. Power reserve when fully wound 44 hours.
Functions: Date display. Hour, minute, small second. Chronograph 60-second counter, 60-minute counter and 12-hour counter. Sweep second and minute counters. 24-hour display.
Case details: Water-resistant 20 atm. Integrated push-buttons. Bidirectionally rotating bezel with red reference marker. Domed sapphire crystal anti-reflective on both sides. Screw-in crown. See-through back with sapphire crystal.

Hoping for a Different Outcome

Insanity: 

doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


The only certainty in life is change, and change is afoot yet again in La Chaux-de-Fonds.  And I am beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe Girard-Perregaux is actually cursed.   

There, I said it.

In the past ten years there have been so many blunders, so much time and money poured down the sinkhole.  Updating, repairing, promoting... and just when you start to think that things are stabilizing and improving, the music starts and chairs start getting yanked.  It seems inevitable that every few years the tree is shaken again and more people fall out.  Reorganization happens, yet another leader is brought in, lay-offs and redundancies.   And as we are now into the third such cycle that I have seen in my brief tenure covering these things, it just starts to bum me out.  This is a brand with so much potential, so much promise - so many possibilities.  And in the end, they always seem to end up pretty much in the same place.  In essence, all of the personnel changes seem to succeed only in halting progress, stymieing momentum and setting the brand back even further than it was before it made the changes.  

As we often say in the US, if they could just get out of their own way, they might really do something great.

But I have to believe, keep faith - maybe this time...