Concepto to push parts as Swatch Group alternative

The Concepto Watch Factory, a Swiss manufactory that develops and manufacturers top level watch movements and complex mechanisms in-house, has set up a new company called Optimo Assortments which hopes to become a serious alternative to Swatch Group-manufactured parts.

The La Chaux-de-Fonds company has the capacity to produce 400,000 kits a year after its chief executive Valérien Jaquet set up a laboratory capable of producing watch components on an industrial scale, including balance wheels, springs, pallet levers and escape wheels.

Optimo Assortments has said it will aim to produce 50,000 kits by the second half of 2012, rising to 200,000 in 2013.

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It has also scheduled a new family of movements for launch this autumn and seven watch brands are already lined up to place orders with Optimo.

Jaquet has invested CHF 9 million (£6.7m) in the project, which has taken four years to be ready to start supply.

Jaquet says he is happy to position the firm as the only "serious" alternative to market leader Nivarox-FAR, which is owned by Swatch Group.

The Concepto group was set up in 2006 and has four companies under its wing including Concepto Watch Factory, manufacturing, and Artisia Watchmaking which is focused on assembly.

It employs 90 people and at present supplies some 30,000 movements a year to 40 brands, including de Grisogono, Hublot and Romain Jerome.

Jaquet says he originally had the idea to launch Optimo some 15 years ago.

"When Swatch Group first raised its heckles over being a supermarket for watch parts, no-one imagined that deliveries of assortments would one day end," he said.





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