It’s a very exciting time for watch enthusiasts around the world, as new innovative brands are entering the market and the expectations of the consumers are changing accordingly. With a pool of continuously growing brands and so many options to choose from, the end consumer is now more demanding in his preferences than ever. This abundance of options, has elongated the decision making process for the end consumer at the point of purchase. Under these circumstances, a balance between the design qualities of the product and its price tag, plays a leading role in the purchase decision for the end consumer.
A new brand that is committed to upholding the balance between quality and price point is the Turkish newcomer Quantum, which entered foreign markets in 25 different countries with its new global collections. The brand is set to attend Baselworld 2018, the world’s leading show for watches, jewellery and gemstones, in March to meet with buyers and media representatives from all around the world. President of Patek Philippe, Thierry Stern commented that,brands should always follow the ever-changing demands of their clientele closely and be prepared before such shows, as watch trends are prone to change over regions each year. Quantum is one of the brands thathas internalized this notion and closely examines the watch buying behavior around the world to create designs that fit the needs and demands of the end user.
The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, Omegalaunched its newest mechanical watch assembly facility in late 2017 after 12 years of planning and development. Designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, Nicolas G. Hayek Centre in the Ginza business district of Tokyo embodies the elegance, precision and luxury the brand promises to its customers.
The German luxury watch-making brand Glashütte Original is a brand to remember as they not only design, produce, decorate, and assemble their watches in-house, but also to craft its dials, make its own manufacturing tools, and train the next generation of watchmakers.
Casio’s brand name has almost become synonymous with the word ‘’durability’’. All thanks to KikuoIbe, the brains behind Casio’s G-Shock watch collection, who wanted to create a watch that never breaks as opposed to all the fragile ones that flooded the market. The G-Shock watches were intended to appeal to active professionals (police officers, construction workers and emergency rescue personnel) who needed a much sturdier timepiece at their disposal as they worked. Ever since it was released in 1983, the G-Shock has garnered a major fanbase that keeps on growing.
STP, which stands for ‘’Swiss Technology Production’’ is a producer of mechanical movements for the owner Fossil Group and other third-party manufacturers. Founded in around 2008,STP is both ETA and Sellita, which means that, the producers supply both its own group with movements andother third-party companies.
Zodiac Astrographic, the Sea Wolf and the Super Sea wolf from Zodiac’s ‘’Heritage’’ collection, each operate with the company’s main movement base: the caliber STP1-11 automatic mechanical movement. The STP1-11 is created to fit anywhere an ETA 2824-2 would.
STP profits from being under the Fossil group ownership due to the fact that the company has a prominent place in both the international market for mechanical watches and the fashion watch market. Most of the lower-priced quartz products from Fossil Group such as those from Fossil, Burberry, Emporio Armani and Michael Kors gain little-to-no attention from watch aficionados even though these products put together, bring in the resources needed to take on the elite status of the Swiss watch movement industry.
The location of the STP factory is kept discreet but its a few hours south of Basel, near Lugano. Human labor is assisted by robotic automation in the production of watch movements at the STP factory. American owners and Swiss operators co-operate in maximizing productivity, efficiency and quality at the factory where all the assembling happens. The company produces up to 1,300 watch movements per day depending on the types of movements.
Fossil group also produces movement components in a different factory in Switzerland other than STP. Although the group produces most of the component in STP movements, they count on other regional suppliers who can help them make the bridges, springs, gears, wheels, jewels, and other materials that go into the production of a modern mechanical watch movement. Considering that, watch movement assembly and watch movement part production are two separate entities it takes a long time for one company to learn how to do both skillfully. That’s where collaboration comes into play. Swiss watch industry revolves around companies working with other regional companies to produce quality products as opposed to countries like Japan, where total vertical integration is much more common.
STP’s volume product is the STP1-11 automatic movement, which is an 11.5-ligne-wide (25.94mm) caliber that operates at 4Hz with a power reserve of 44 hours.ETA and Sellita are more rigid than STP when it comes to how their date and time windows are designed. ETA and Sellita usually offer black and white date wheels while STP provides more possibilities for customization working with its two date wheel suppliers.
The STP1-11 is produced in a few versions including the STP3-13 and STP5-15 that have “open heart” views of the balance wheel.There is also a fully skeletonized version of the STP1-11 produced by STP that is the STP6-15. STP2-12-1, STP2-12-3, and the STP2-12-6 modules can also fit on top of the base STP1-11 movement with a power reserve indicator and calendar information.
In places like China there is a high demand for Swiss-madewomen’s watches that have small-sized automatic movements. The newest movement from STP is coming to satisfy this demand in the market for women’s watches. The two new movements are the STP8-14-11 (with date) and STP8-14-21 (no date) which are a 7.75-ligne-wide (17.48mm).
STP facility uses a host of automated assembly line and robotic technology mostly for repetitive and high-precision tasks to minimize the possibility of human error. Considering that fully ‘’human-made’’ watch movements are extremely rare and more expensive when compared to timepieces that contain STP movements, it’s safe to say that STP offers quality mechanical movement at a fair price.
STP is a crucial partner for the Fossil Group since it allows the company to offer expensive, high quality ‘’Swiss-made’’ automatic watches as well as hold a place among the few suppliers who can sell movements to third parties. STP is currently producing around 200,000 watch movements per year and their customers remain undisclosed.