Among all kinds of watch companies, manufacturing is by far the most famous and rarest. A watchmaker is a reputation concept that tends to legitimize the brand and increase its sales. The word "make" is enviable, but it is often abused. Team Charlie Paris introduces you to this particular term of the watch industry and introduces you to a famous watch manufacturer.
In the watch industry, the term manufacturing is often used, but it is still a vague term because there is no official definition. However, a watch manufacturer can be defined as a watch company that produces and controls the manufacture of watches or clocks from a to Z without relying on external companies. This means that it should not outsource part of its schedule or to external suppliers. As a result, a manufacturer is independent, unlike other watch brands, which often use other companies to integrate movement in their watch models. Manufacturers must have 100% control over their production lines. Theoretically speaking, the manufacturer must control the watch manufacturing process, from parts design to manufacturing, and then to quality control. But in fact, few companies can internationalize the whole process.
It's very complicated to produce all products in-house, and real manufacturing hardly exists, which is a distorted term. The most common form of tabulation and design is not necessarily in the manufacturing plant. In fact, a brand must realize most of the functions of a watch, that is, movement and the components that make up the watch. It must also ensure the watch's complete assembly in the case and its operation, whether it is Automatic watch perhaps Quartz watch-Yes. Watchmakers don't have to be hand-made, because most of today's "manufacturers" are industrialists. However, some watch parts are difficult to make. For example, the screw in a pendulum is a part that few manufacturers make themselves. The real question is, to what extent must the brand make watch parts in order to be seen as a manufacturer?
Moreover, many brands have manufacturing movements but these movements are not created by them. These are actually orders that these brands place with specialized companies in order to obtain a manufacturing movement. These companies can then make their signature on these movements but these are not movements created by the company's workshops. In this case, the term manufacture is used as a guarantee of exclusivity of the mechanism. In the long term, some major watch brands go so far as to buy the company that manufactures their movement in order to suck up their external suppliers and get as close as possible to a real factory. To illustrate this idea we can draw a parallel with the automotive industry, comparing a watch with a car. A car engine is very rarely designed, machined and manufactured by their care.
The term manufacture sells and gives a brand a notion of prestige. In the eyes of customers, a factory is a prestigious company. This term allows a company to differentiate itself from non-manufactures and to influence its selling price upwards. This term with marketing and commercial issues has led many companies to obtain this title, to affix it under its brand name.
This trend first appeared in the 2000s and led many brands to transform themselves not as a simple watch tracker, but into a prestigious manufacturer. For this, most brands that are or want to become manufactures will develop in-house the design and manufacture of the movement. Most will facilitate this research and development and production work by acquiring former suppliers and subcontractors. This is the case for Breitling, Rolex, Breguet, Omega, etc. However, few watchmakers start from scratch, i.e. by building all the necessary infrastructure themselves and recruiting the necessary human resources. Other companies use less honest techniques by using a subcontractor who will make a movement for a single brand, which will then say that it is a manufacturing movement.
If we take the strict definition of a factory, we can call complete manufactures only Seiko in Japan, which has a fully integrated model, as well as the Swatch Group as a whole which produces all the parts present in its watches. Not far behind is Rolex, which still supplies itself with a little from other suppliers for very special parts. Finally, if we take the broadest definition, there are many more factories like Cartier, Breguet, Fréderic Constant, Chopard, Omega, Maurice Lacroix, Patek Philippe, Pequignet, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Zenith, etc.
Team Charlie Paris has decided to introduce one of them, the Cartier watch manufacturer. The Cartier watch manufacturer is one of the largest manufacturers. Located in Switzerland, since 2003 it brings together all the watchmaking professions that enable the production of Cartier watches in a creative journey that starts from the design of the movement to the finished object. The Cartier factory has been located in La Chaux-de-Fonds since 1972 and is at the centre of a region of watchmaking tradition. La Chaux-de-Fonds is a Swiss city that has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site since 2009 for its watchmaking urban planning. Previously manufactured in France with Swiss movements, Cartier watches are installed in La Chaux-de-Fonds to meet the New Ambitions of the House. The Cartier factory was completed in 2001 and has a total area of more than 33,000 square meters, of which 13,000 m2 are devoted to production. It brings together the 7 production sites once scattered throughout the region. All the know-how of watchmaking is represented with 175 trades, organized in three major poles: development, production and customer service. Everything is gathered in the same place and allows all the necessary steps to be carried out in full to the realization of their watches. Cartier's mission is to ensure the design and development of these watches while guaranteeing its durability and know-how. Cartier watches are repairable for life, as evidenced by the first Maison creations that have already passed through more than a century. The Cartier factory guarantees the repair of all its watchmaking creations regardless of their condition or age.