Tag Archives: deMonaco

Company history – episode 3

The launch @ the midst of an economic crisis
Developing the total proposition – from the inventions of the technology to launching a brand – is a multi year and multi million journey, and the target was to be ready by summer 2009. Coming out of the booming beginning of the new century, it was judged that the biggest problem would be how to ramp up production without compromising the quality and individual bespoke attention for each and every customer. While the global crisis was heating up during the latter part of 2008 and the first part of 2009, the dilemma arose: Is this the right time to launch a brand selling time pieces that starts at €90K, or should we put everything on hold and wait for better times to come? And against what everybody advised, the brand launch was not postponed, but pulled forward. If we want to understand the true value of our idea, we need to be able to succeed even during the peak of a crisis. The brand never looked back, and is only more convinced that doing the counter intuitive, rarely is the easy way but often maximizes changes of success.

Mission & belief
We are an authentic independent Monegasque watch company dedicated to create the next generation of the world’s most desirable time pieces. Monaco’s contemporary Culture, Beauty and Imagination are what we are built on and inspired by, culminating into our commitment to create a legacy. What unites us is the belief that life is not only about luxury, but luxury sure is life!

What’s next
The clear intention is to make this into a long term success, and developing a brand is not a sprint but a carefully orchestrated marathon. We want our experiences to seduce people into a moment of indulgence for themselves, a statement to others and a degree of distraction from reality – a skill that unfortunately we often lose while growing up. The brand’s ambition is to be bespoke, which is why only a limited series is made of every edition before moving on to the next endeavour in the collection. No lofty sales targets are being chased, but instead there are strict quality and customer satisfaction targets: Every person owning an Ateliers deMonaco time piece needs to be convinced they bought something substantial for generations to come. And as one of founding principles of the company, expect continued innovation in the quest to leave a legacy.


Interview with Ita McCobb of Patrizzi & Co Auctioneers

They see Monaco as full of contrasts – visually and culturally.  It is this dualism they look to capture in the design of their watches. “A lot of what is magic about our Only Watch 09,” says van Pappelendam, “goes back to the passion, craftsmanship and precision of our tourbillion. This tourbillion is one of the most precise in the world – the movement has a maximum deviation of between zero and two seconds in 24 hours. It is a hybrid between modern technology and traditional craftsmanship.” “The reason we are able to achieve such accuracy with this watch is the use of the most modern materials and technology,” says Pim Koeslag, Master Watchmaker and co-founder of the brand.  “The silicium escapement and anchor are developed in-house with the help of external specialists, in fact, when we finally finished it we could hardly believe its extreme accuracy.”They patented their system to balance the tourbillon cage and ensure the gravity point is in the centre of the cage. “This allows us to have a flat line of rate difference and amplitude even at vertical positions,” says Koeslag. “I personally have never seen such precision before in a tourbillon. ”Their Xtreme Precision (XP) technology allows the 28800 beats an hour to be translated into ultimate accuracy, regulated to a tolerance between 0-2 seconds/24H. This precision is enabled by three innovations:

• Perfect Balance Cage – Their technology allows the watchmaker to balance the weight of the tourbillon cage by manually adding or removing small metal weights at the opposite sides of the escapement. This is to bring the gravity point of all 80 components to the center of the cage to achieve perfect balance.

• Silicium escapement and lever – This is a material normally used in the aerospace, micro processor and semi-conductor industry for its unique properties: low weight, extreme hardness and high corrosive resistance. The combination of making both escapement wheel and lever from silicium results in significantly improved energy efficiency. The extreme hardness (almost twice as hard as steel) results in low friction so no need for lubrication. And as the material is not magnetic, there is no interference that could cause irregularities in the precision.

• Deep Reactive Ion Etching and LIGA – This precision manufacturing method creates individual components. In comparison, traditional methods require continuous fine-tuning of the machines due to wear and tear. As a consequence, the DRIE and LIGA process has significantly improved manufacturing accuracy: up to 10 times more accurate than conventional machining methods. There is a lot of innovation in this watch – some of it based on technology, some, such as the sapphire bridge on which the tourbillion  is built, are more aesthetic innovations. One of the ideas they had in their initial designs was the vision of Monaco seemingly floating above the Mediterranean – but how do you recreate it? Finally, Koeslag said, “We just need to make it float.”

“It is quite difficult to make a sapphire bridge,” laughs Koeslag. “Only one supplier was able to cut it successfully – and then there was the problem of fitting the ruby that sits on the sapphire bridge…” There are two bridges holding the tourbillion cage – the sapphire bridge on the front, and a hand mirror-polished steel bridge on the reverse – it takes an entire day to finish just one. The case is built up of 33 individual components that are assembled by hand. This and the convex curves they have used in the watch, was the only way they could achieve the contrasting finishes they wanted for each surface in order to replicate the special light effects you get in Monaco. intricate hand engraving of the 18k rotor has been done by industry-recognized Mr. Benzinger, who has also decorated the front and back of the Ateliers deMonaco shield that can be seen through the sapphire crystal back. The hand-finishing of just one handcut and handmade watch takes 120 hours. All the edges of the movement are curved and hand-finished. The sapphire is double anti-reflection treated on both sides. The inside case is of titanium grade 5 with fishscale finishing. “The chamfering of the bridges is done so as to create extra light reflection,” says van Pappelendam. The idea was that everywhere it goes this watch reflects – as in Monaco, where everywhere you go something is shining. ”Ateliers deMonaco’s Only Watch comes in aspecial presentation case with an engraved Only Watch plaque. The multi-faceted watchcase is in 18k pink gold, the dial in onyx with black mother-of-pearl. On the reverse there is a huge sapphire crystal displaying the completely hand-engraved manufactory movement and which is engraved Only Watch Pièce Unique. The watch, with matching cufflinks, comes in a presentation case and with a state-of-the-art travel case.