Ultimate Cars, Watches & Hi Fi S04 ep11 : BADOLLET WATCHES[ Geneva ]

Interview with Phillipe Dubour

Jean Badollet, born in 1635, was eager to learn – and passionate about watchmaking, devoting himself to it at the age of twenty. In 2006, a descendant of the Badollet family and private investors sought to bring the Badollet brand back to life; in 2008, they launched watches marking its revival. Since then, the company has been run by CEO Philippe Dubois. Fine watchmaking movements with exemplary finishes are used to operate these new timepieces, with the constant desire to provide a clear, simple aesthetic appearance, served by a discrete movement that fully meets modern-day requirements. Similarly, in 2012 Badollet presented the Ivresse watch, which has the particularity of having been designed before its feasibility was studied, thus demonstrating the Firm's desire to offer timepieces that are functional and aesthetic rather than showy.


Badollet is a very small brand a niche brand. We’re producing less than 50 watches a year. But every watch that we are doing
they have in terms of complication at least tourbillion.

It’s a very old company that was active from 1655 until 1924, seven generations from father to son without any interruption. The
factory was closed in Geneva in 1924 and the brand was re-launched early 2004.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

We are giving the end consumer the possibility to customize the watch. We are designing the product, we show it to the
customer, he is inspired he likes the design but he would like to customize, and then we start to discuss. So every piece we’re
doing is more or less a one-of-a-kind watch.

But we are working with two different workshops who are specialized in producing high-end movements and some of the
movements are designed and produced exclusively for us. So this is our own movement.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

My first job was not in the watch industry. Being in Switzerland it was in the ski business; ski and ski boots and I was working for
a company that was selling the most expensive ski boots in the world. So that’s maybe where I started to be attracted by luxury,
high-end and not quantity.

I am in the watch industry more than 25 years. I have been working for several watch brands. I was working 15 years for a
Movado group. I was in charge of the brand Concord. When I left Concord, I called some of the retailers I was working with and
one of the retailers asked me “What are you doing?”. I said “Listen I don’t know what I am going to do but I am looking for
something in the high-end”. And he told me “Have you a resume ready?” I said “Yes, why?”.“I know somebody who owns a
company in Switzerland and they might look for somebody like you”. And that’s really the coincidence I met the owner.


Jewellery Theatre Elements

Historically he was a collector of watches. One day one brand where he was buying on a regular basis watches, he wanted to
have a slight modification. The salesman told him “Sorry this is the way the watch is. Or you take it or you leave it” he said
“Okay, I leave it and I am going to start my own company”. And that’s more like the way the brand was re-launched.

He was dreaming of a very special watch but he was not able to explain exactly what he was looking for. He made a designer
called Eric Geroue and during two years they spent a lot of time together. Every time he was in Switzerland he was calling Eric.
They had lunch or dinner, they were discussing about watches of course, about art, about architecture. That was the briefing of
the watch. So after 2 years Eric told him “Okay we can continue its fun but I know you want to make a new watch, so I have an
idea”. So he put on drawing of the Ivresse and I mean the owner fall in love and he said “This is exactly the watch I was

Less is more, which is very difficult because today everybody wants to add something. But we had the design of the case. We
didn’t have the movement at that time. Once he was convinced I said “Okay we have to find somebody that is able to make the
movement, so we know we don’t have a lot of space and we need a tourbillion”. And he found a watchmaker, a young one in La
Vallee De Joux called David Caldeau. That was a briefing he said “No problem I can do it”. And this is a piece we have to be
called the Ivresse, this one is retaining for Swiss Fr.220,000.


Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

We don’t have really distribution. I have a network of a few retailers around the world and I’m doing a lot of attending at a lot
of exhibitions. Usually I never meet the end consumer, but I meet people who are connected in the business who knows
somebody who has a customer for that kind of watches. And then we try to organize a presentation a meeting.

I have been approached by a customer who really like to Ivresse watchbecause it was something special and he’s telling me I’m
coming Switzerland. I said “Great when you come, come to visit us, we will go and see the watch maker David Caldeau”. And the
guy is an engineer, he is meeting David Caldeau and he’s asking how do you structure the movement and so on. “I am going to
show you” and he is showing on his computer the waister and suddenly the guy “This is it”. “What do you mean this is
it?”.“When I saw this watch the first time. I knew to make it work because it is a curved movement but there must be one piece
and this is the piece”. David says “Yes hold on”. He goes and he comes back with a very tiny small piece. And I mean it was very
funny because this engineer could figure out that there must be something but he couldn’t imagine it was so small.

So he was of course very pleased and then he told me he was registered to go into space with Richard Branson. Then I’m telling
him “I think I have a watch for you”. “What do you mean?” “You know we have one piece; the plate of the movement is a meteorite. So you should buy one of this watch. For the first time a piece of meteorite would back into space”. And he liked so much the idea, he said “Okay let’s make another watch for me”


OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Badollet Watches