Auguste Reymond is a brand with proven bouncebackability.
The company, created in 1898, was all but wiped out three times in the 20th century – once by the great depression in the 1930s, again by World War II, and most recently by the quartz crisis of the 1970s – but on each occasion it rose again thanks to the leadership of Mr. Reymond and his continuous product innovation.
One of those innovations, the Braille watch for blind people, was developed in the post-war 1950s, and remains a leader in the space to the present day under the stewardship of ARSA, the parent group of Auguste Reymond at the time.
The quartz crisis that hit Swiss makers in 1970s took a heavy toll on the company, which fell into liquidation and survived only on a much smaller scale thanks to a management buyout by James Choffat.
The brand’s most recent renaissance came in 1989, when the Auguste Reymond name was bought by Nitella SA, another watch factory located in Tramelan, and a watch designer named Thomas Loosli.
This company was back on its feet within two years, with a collection of watches designed by Loosli that drew inspiration from historic models from its past.
It was also soon back at Baselworld, and now has more than 50 appearances under its belt.
“For the past two years we have been redeveloping the brand into a major player again,” Doina Gachet, sales and marketing executive for Auguste Reymond told WatchPro when we dropped in on the stand at Baselworld.
The company is reconnecting with distributors around the world, and has enjoyed early success in Russia.
Expansion into the UK is on the horizon, although Auguste Reymond will not be rushed. “We are trying to find a passionate agent in the UK. There is a good opportunity there. It is a difficult, but interesting market,” Gachet said.
The 2014 Auguste Reymond line up comprises gents and ladies watches housing both quartz and mechanical movements. Jazz Age and Cotton Club are the brand’s fine mechanical timepieces retailing at prices ranging from CHF 950 – 5700, depending on materials and complications.
The quartz collections include Charleston for gents and ladies, Diva Q, Dixieland, Elegance A, and Magellan. They range in price from CHF 530 – 1200.