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FASHION - INTERVIEW

Interview with Mauro Egermini, CEO of Schwarz Etienne

Schwarz Etienne was founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1902 by Paul Arthur Schwarz and his wife Olga Etienne. They started out as a manufacturer of mechanical movements with the brand they named by combining their family names, and this family business became a Swiss-made watch brand that produces all of its parts in-house. I talked with Mauro Egermini, CEO of Schwarz Etienne, about this 117-year-old watch brand.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Mauro Egermini

Mauro Egermini

FASHION - INTERVIEW

by Mehmet Kaplan

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I have always curious how such small pieces used in a mechanical watch is produced and mounted with this precision and perfection. Considering today's technological developments, it is a little more possible to understand how all parts are produced with lasers, CNC machines, and optical control devices, but how was this possible 100 years ago? The distinguished brands like Schwarz Etienne produce in-house all the parts they use in their watches for over a hundred years. They also supply mechanical movement to some other watch brands. Mauro Egermini has been carrying all the responsibilities of the Schwarz Etienne brand since 2014. I had the opportunity to interview Mauro Egermini, CEO of Schwarz Etienne, and I asked him about his career and Schwarz Etienne.

Mauro, before talking about Schwarz Etienne, could you tell us about your background and your career in Schwarz Etienne?

Born in Le Locle at the end of the 1960s, I lived in a world filled with the possibilities of horological discovery from an early age. My father, an antiques dealer, allowed me to play with watches that can today be found in museums: minute repeaters, mysterious clocks and tourbillons ticked through his childhood. I also assembled hundreds of Valjoux movements during the summer holidays of my teenage years.

After studying economics, I started my career as the finance manager at the Domaine de Montmollin et Fils. After a stint of three years there, my passion for watchmaking took me to Cartier, where I was responsible for purchasing and production logistics for new products. This was also the period that saw the launch of Montblanc Horlogerie in 1997 and Panerai after it was acquired by the Richemont group in 1998.

In 2001 my career took a new direction when I was offered the position as manager of the LVMH watchmaking workshop. I worked there for 13 years, taking the brand upmarket of Dior and launching the Louis Vuitton watch collection.

Buoyed by his experience, I was gripped with a desire to go it alone. In 2014 I teamed up with two partners to create E20 Innovations, a company specialised in watch assortments, and take over the Schwarz Etienne watch brand. The independent brand today has a complete collection of watches that are made entirely in-house and offers its movements to third parties through a third company, La Division du Temps, created in 2018.

Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08

Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08

The history of Schwarz Etienne dates back to 1902. Could you tell us about the past and the present of Schwarz Etienne?

Schwarz Etienne is a Swiss watch brand whose origins go back to 1902 when Paul Arthur Schwarz and his wife Olga Etienne created a movement factory at La Chaux-de-Fonds whose name combines their patronymics. Originally, the family company worked primarily for the different brands in its possession, such as Venus, Alpha, Sultana Le Phare or Astin. Schwarz Etienne has strived to make watchmaking an art in constant evolution. Today, it is one of the few watch companies to fully manufacture its watches, movements, and components, including its regulating organ, the pendulum, in-house, due to E20 Innovations the sister company of Schwarz Etienne.

Schwarz Etienne Roma GMT

Schwarz Etienne Roma GMT

What are the values that Schwarz Etienne has represented for more than a century? What makes Schwarz Etienne special?

Innovation, audacity and the aim to be different...

“The manufacture spirit with the association of a touch of madeness and the technicity pushed to the extreme.”

Schwarz Etienne always tries to bring novelty and freshness to watch lovers in the design of their products, but they always keep being serious about the Quality to realize and produce their timepieces.

Schwarz Etienne

Schwarz Etienne

Schwarz Etienne is not only a watch manufacturer, and also a movement supplier for other watch brands. What are the advantages of being in this position in the watchmaking industry?

It allows us to be INDEPENDENT in a few ways, as we have this incredible opportunity to be able to produce our own timepieces not depending to any suppliers.

Our doors remain open to new adventures with anyone having a serious project. This is really rich in term of exchanges of ideas and creation topics.

Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08

Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08

Time is flowing, suppliers are changing, handcraft masters and artisans leaving their places to the new ones. How do you maintain quality and sustainability despite all changes?

Internal training - having an open eye on all new technology is the key... doing some creative watchfulness. We also like to challenge the new generation by working with some art school which brings us a lot of creativity and audacity which we really appreciate.

Schwarz Etienne Fiji Floral Seconds

Schwarz Etienne Fiji Floral Seconds

What are you paying attention to the most in the design and development process of Schwarz Etienne watches?

In term of design: we always work on the concept of creativity with an attractive product but different...!

In term of the process of development: to be cost effective - the best quality for the value!

Schwarz Etienne - Ode aux Printemps

Schwarz Etienne - Ode aux Printemps

What is the special aspect of bees for Schwarz Etienne?

Bees are represented in the coat of arms of the Swiss city where Schwarz Etienne resides – La Chaux-de-Fonds. By honouring this vital insect through its 2018’s special edition - “Ode aux Printemps” - Schwarz Etienne took on Einstein’s message interpreting it to the modern day to raise awareness about the current dangers posed by the threat of bee extinction. The keystone of many ecosystems, bees provide humankind with invaluable services. The “Ode aux Printemps” edition combines innovation and creativity, while emphasising the precision, careful attention to detail and industrious teamwork exhibited by bees. A working philosophy is equally dear to Schwarz Etienne.

How would you define your watches with only three words?

“To get off the beaten track” - audacious- qualitative

Schwarz Etienne Fiji Floral Seconds

Schwarz Etienne Fiji Floral Seconds

What do you enjoy most about using Schwarz Etienne watches in your daily life?

Their readability !

We are proud to show both the front or back side of our timepieces... As they are As they are worked with the same level of details on the front as on the back (movement, lining of the strap etc...)

Not to be show off with a high-value item.

To tease questions and curiosity...!

Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08

Schwarz Etienne Roswell 08

What is the importance of Baselworld for watch brands?

Today Baselworld, SIHH or any other annual watches exhibitions meeting (in the future) are and will be important for us. Indeed we need to have the possibility to get in touch with clients and press coming from the entire world. We absolutely need this exchange platform. Unavoidable.

What is next for you?

Continue to have fun in developing our 4 pillars collections and in the meantime the sales network!

Thank you Mauro for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of Schwarz Etienne





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