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Company story – episode 1

This outlines the story of the 3 musketeers who launched a new and exclusive alternative luxury watch brand at the peak of a global economic crisis. Call them passionate, crazy, brilliant or stupid. At least they are attempting to realize their dream and add a new chapter in the rich history of global watchmaking.

Ateliers deMonaco is a new independent luxury watch manufacturer inspired by, designed for and made in Monaco. The brand targets a new generation with Nouvelle Horlogerie by creating iconic timepieces that are derived from their passion to challenge existing conventions to leave a legacy: “We have always dreamt about making a mechanical watch movement that is the most precise in the world and will keep generations of scientists busy trying to figure out how we did it !” All watches and their movements are completely in-house designed and manufactured, an unique capability that only few independent watch manufacturers still have to-date. The collection and innovations can be characterized as the ultimate collision between modern technology and classical craftsmanship, leaving a hybrid time piece that utilizes the best of both. To guarantee every watch gets its own unique character, every individual watch is hand-finished, -polished, -brushed and -engraved, which for some can take over 100 hours each. Each watch will be individually numbered and is only made available in very limited editions. And as a true Monegasque proposition, every watch that leaves our ateliers will have the iconic shield of Monaco hand-engraved in the heart of the movement.

The founders
Be it luck, faith or just mere coincidence, the three founders met through their mutual passion for Haute Horlogerie. Although their Dutch no-nonsense roots allowed them to connect well from the start, they cannot be more diverse in anything else.
Pim Koeslag (1981), the Benjamin of the three, attended watch-making school in Amsterdam after which he did several internships at some of the most renowned watch brands in the world. When offered employment at most of them, he decided to work for a small and lesser known watch company in Geneva that allowed him more freedom to experiment and develop new technologies: Frédérique Constant. With an age of only 28 springs young, there is a lot more we can expect from Pim! Pim is married and has two sons in the age between 0 and 3 years old.
Robert van Pappelendam (1969) finalized his law study at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, after which he changed course and started a marketing career at Procter & Gamble, a leading fast moving consumer goods company, lastly as a Global Brand Franchise Leader in their Haircare division. For this company, he worked in Rotterdam, Brussels, Cincinnati USA, Geneva Switzerland and Singapore. Since 2002 he has been active in the board of advisors of Frédérique Constant SA, Geneva. Robert is married and has 4 children in the ages between 3 and 9 years old.
Peter Stas (1963) studied Economy at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and after several internships, he started his professional career at Philips Electronics in the Netherlands. He moved to Asia to take a commercial leadership role for the consumer electronics division out of Hong Kong. In 1988, he was the initiator and founder of Frédérique Constant, currently one of the leading Swiss watch manufacturers in the affordable luxury segment. Peter is married and has 2 children aged between 10 and 15 years.

To be Continued…..


From the Master Horlogier

Watchmaking anno 2010 – an art or a science?

Nowadays, a lot of innovation brought to the market are masterful pieces of engineering that do not always work as well. Double Tourbillon, triple axes…It sometimes feels that form has taken over from function. Although we do get excited by these master pieces of engineering, we can also still get very excited by a movement that actually works, and works very well and very precise. Function first! We got a lot of inspiration from Henry Royce that set out with a very similar vision when he created the foundation for the Rolls Royce brand as we know it today.
So when we are in technical meetings and people get overexcited by the solutions or new technical inventions, I often ask: “So what is the problem we are trying to solve with this new technology?”

Thus, when we were working on our Grand Tourbillon XP1, the issue at hand was clear. The TB is invented to deliver higher precision than a normal mechanical watch. However, the vertical positions have variations of amplitude and precision caused by the TB cage itself. But we felt there was an opportunity to minimize the force used for the escapement in the cage, and if we could eliminate oil or grease in the escapement with the use of modern materials, then this would be a plus as well.

We believe we have made a huge step forward in the precision of the TB movement. Key enablers for the step forward have been our Patented Perfect Balance Cage and the silicium escape wheel and lever with silicium oxide coating to avoid unnecessary power and efficiency loss. We can guarantee all our movements between 0-2 seconds/24hours, and we have already produced one that did much better!

Can we do better? The aim is to come as close to zero as possible, so we have a mechanical movement that is always accurate. Wouldn’t that be cool? We believe it is possible, and for sure it is a nice aim to pursue. 

Personally, I believe our Ateliers deMonaco watches are pieces of art, that have embraced modern science to make them also functional as perfect as possible. Like the painter who studies his subjects for a long time before he can reach the highest level of perfection, our pieces feel they get better and more perfect with time as well. Let’s talk in 20 years to see how close to our dream we could come.


Business outlook for 2010

After closing out 2009 and having visibility over the first quarter of 2010, we can conclude that the business looks very strong. We are projected to sell as many watches in the first quarter of 2010 as in our launch year 2009, and we are only at the start of creating a global reach by the end of this calendar year and have high hopes that Baselworld will further catapult the brand into the world-stage. This is more than encouraging, as this allows us to let money flow back into the business to build the brand image and further invest in innovation. But, if we would have gotten $1 for all the advertising and sponsor requests that has hit our inbox, we would be rich by now!! Or said differently, there are many people that want to sell you something, yet only a few are able to help you achieve your goals or make a difference for you. And even the list of those people and activities that we believe are the right ones, is much longer than what we can afford.

So, how do we decide which one to thank for, and which once to consider?

We have been very strict in determining which key attributes are required for our brand to succeed in the market place. Any activity that helps achieve one or preferably a combination of these attributes, ranks higher on our priority list. The attributes are:
– Become rooted in Monaco: we want to be an integral part of the society we are part of. This as the inspiration for what we do as well as the social responsibility with which this comes;
– Build credibility in our watchmaking craftsmanship: we are working with some of the most talented people out of the industry, both within our own company as well as with the partners we have selected outside our company;
– Become the forbidden fruits for just a few: targeting, targeting, targeting…

Based on the above, we have been a proud participant in the Only Watch Auction to support the research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy, as well in GTE and Baselworld – the latter events clearly aimed at the watch ‘aficionado’. The hypothesis we have is that to become irresistible, we need to become the best kept secret of the luxury industry or a hidden treasure for people in the know. To achieve this, anything that smells mass is the kiss of death: exclusivity reigns and bespoke rules.

We’ll keep you updated what happens in Basel as of next week……

Ateliers deMonaco agrees media partnership with CNN magazine

We are proud to announce a partnership with CNN Magazine, a luxury travel magazine produced for high-end business passengers.

With big events in the calendar like Baselworld in March and Top Marques Luxury Fair Monaco in April, we were looking for ways to unveil the brand in the context of today’s realities, contrasted with tomorrow’s (travel) aspirations, a duality that forms a key cornerstone of the brand’s positioning.

Collaborators are some of CNN favorites such as Richard Quest, Larry King, and Christiane Amanpour, and content of the magazine also covers groundbreaking and in-depth features about travel, social, and environmental issues from around the globe. Importantly, with over 680.000 high-end readers across the world, this helps us establish our brand image with the appropriate target consumers.

“We wanted to send a powerful message that we are committed to build this brand with the right A-list globally recognizable partners” says Elisabeth van Pappelendam, PR Manager of Ateliers deMonaco.

Ateliers deMonaco makes its debut at Baselworld 2010

We are excited and proud to announce a new milestone in the journey of the brand: our debut in the world’s premier watch event – Baselworld.

During Baselworld we are planning to officially launch and present our own in-house developed and manufactured Tourbillon Minute Repeater: the Carré d’Or Squelette – TB-RM1, on which we wrote extensively in our former blog.

Carré d'Or Squelette - TB-RM1

Baselworld 2010 will take place from March 18th-25th in Basel, Switzerland. Ateliers deMonaco is located in the Hall of Inspirations (Hall 4.1) at C31. Block the data as we are looking forward to show you our collection ‘live’!

New Milestone Ateliers deMonaco

Monaco, February 2010

The way to overcome an economic crisis is to do the counter intuitive: Innovate more, bigger and faster. With this in mind, it is our pleasure informing you about a new and exciting development for our brand, the finalization of our own in-house developed and manufactured Tourbillon Minute Repeater: The Carré d’Or Squelette – TB-RM1. With this latest invention, Ateliers deMonaco joins a very exclusive group of only a few watch makers in the world that have the ability to design and manufacture such a complication in-house.

Carré d’Or Squelette - TB-RM1
Carré d’Or Squelette – TB-RM1

Some special features of this exceptional time piece are:
– The dial is an hand cut open dial (skeleton), enabling you to look directly onto the movement.
– The movement is hand engraved with every sunbeam of the pattern carved into the movement by hand, one at a time; Each sunbeam represents 1 minute. Hand engraving 1 sunbeam stripe takes about 15 minutes, making the total engraving task adding up to almost 1000 minutes for each individual movement!
– The movement is our own in-house developed and patented ultra precise Grand Tourbillon XP-1 tourbillon.
– The Grand Tourbillon is floating behind the sapphire bridge with double anti reflexion coating on the front and a hand mirror polished bridge on the back.
– The back has the unique 3 dimensional deMonaco engraving, a signature trademark of the brand;
– Speed regulation of minute repeater with 18K gold weights to minimize access sound.
– The highly complicated case construction (55 components ) with the activation mechanism is fully hidden in de 18K gold side panel.
– One of the few, if not the only, waterer resistant square minute repeater case in the world.
– Lastly, it is made in a limited edition of only 8 pieces worldwide.

Close up - Carré d’Or Squelette - TB-RM1
Close up – Carré d’Or Squelette – TB-RM1

The watch comes in a special case that is designed as a resonance box. The wood chosen is curly maple, often used for exclusive musical instruments like Stradivarius violins due to the deep sound it can produce as well as beautiful pattern. The base plate exists of 2 parts “bookmatch”, which means it was originally one piece of wood, that is cut apart like opening a book. As a consequence, you have almost perfect mirroring patterns aiding visual depth and light reflection.

The watch will be officially presented to the public during Baseworld in March and Top Marques luxury show in Monaco in April.

And it is creating already some good buzz and excitement with the on-line community. have a look at: http://www.thewatchlounge.com/ an on-line magazine well worth tracking!!

In case you did not know, you can down-load High Res photo’s from the press corner on our website!

Iconic back side Carré d’Or Squelette - TB-RM1
Iconic back side Carré d’Or Squelette – TB-RM1

GTE 2010: more photos

Another busy and rewarding day thanks to all those enthusiastic and passionate visitors! The most rewarding comment was that “they were impressed by the mechanical movement and precision of the watches”, something you cannot get from a picture, Pim Koeslag said.

GTE 2010

GTE 2010

Pim and Manuel

Geneva Time Exhibition 2010 has started!

What do you get if you pack 38 independent watch manufacturers in a venue and you allow them to talk about their watches and passion for the industry all day? Yes, the Geneva Time Exhibition! In a very relaxed atmosphere, the Geneva Time Exhibition has opened its doors since last Sunday to allow independent watchmakers to showcase their fruits of passion, and Ateliers deMonaco is a proud participant too.

Our stand at the GTE 2010

And from the moment the doors opened, we have had a constant stream of international visitors from press to retailers to end-consumers that share our passion, and were willing to listen and appreciate the stories behind the innovations and designs.

If you have the time and are in the neighborhood, it’s worthwhile to stop by.

The new Ronde d'Or Grand Tourbillon XP1 White Gold

During the GTE, we are giving a sneak preview of a big introduction that is planned for April, but you have to go and look for yourself, or keep a close track of our Blog and Facebook Fan page over the next weeks. More to come!

Master Horlogier Pim Koeslag with Passionists

Ateliers deMonaco starring at the Geneva Time Exhibition 2010

From Jan 17-22 Ateliers deMonaco will be present at the Geneva Time Exhibition 2010 (GTE). Launched for the first time in 2009, the GTE is organized for independent watchmakers to show off their new concepts, cutting-edge technology, up-to-date materials and high-precision movements. This year, 38 independent watch brands will exhibit their precious time pieces. Although watch industry professionals are the target group, passionate watch lovers are more then welcome too!

We hope to see and meet you at the GTE! If you are not able to come, look out for an impression of the fair in our blogs to come.


The Independent Watchmaker’s Fair

from January 17-22, 2010

at the International Conference Center Geneva

Opening hours:

Sun 17 Jan2:00pm–8:30pm

Mon 18 – Thurs 21 Jan8:30am–8:30pm

Fri 22 Jan8:30am–5:00pm

For more information, visit www.geneva-time-exhibition.com or email [email protected]