Ultimate Cars, Watches & Hi Fi S04 ep18 : Michel Jordi Watches [ Switzerland ]
Interview with Michel Jordi
More than just an entrepreneur, Michel Jordi is a standout personality. This watchmaker’s son, born in 1948 in Grenchen studied marketing and management – first in Switzerland and thereafter in England, prior to spending some time in Japan at age 23. Upon his return to Switzerland in 1971, he created his first company and soon became known for his independent, iconoclastic spirit. One may indeed speak of a veritable “Jordi dynamic”, based on a constant determination to create and to pursue this path with the same ardour and authenticity. As the wise saying ascribed to Confucius expresses it: “The greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”.
Jordi is a Swiss name. We’ve been living here in Switzerland for almost over 1000 years. But the door originates from Spain. They
are people who moved to Switzerland from Catalonia. They were persecuted in Spain and move and come to Switzerland.
My father was a watchmaker and he worked in a movement factory in Grenchen , the ETA movement factory. And actually he
was a movement developer in a factory which later integrated ETA in which today is the Swatch group. He taught me the passion
or introduced me to the passion of watchmaking as a child. But I didn’t want to do the same job as he; going up at 7 o’clock,
come back at 12, go at 1 come back at 5. I said “No dead I want to be my own boss. I want to make my own watches”.
I learnt with my dad and then I make an apprenticeship In a very small watch factory in Grenchen then moved to Geneva in 69.
And that’s where I found my company in 1988; my own watch brand Michel Jordi.
My first watch was a Swiss Ethno watch, the spirit of Switzerland. And in 1991 Switzerland celebrated its 700 years anniversary
and I made an anniversary watch for Switzerland. That became almost an instant hit and we sold over half 1 million pieces
through the 90s.
We are on a new planet today as far as watchmaking is concerned. And I think what really changed the whole thingare the CNC
machines, because suddenly without making bigger tools you could make very high precision movements in a very very small
Laser cut and all that stuff which really stimulated unbelievable creations in watchmaking. That’s why you see all those small
niche brands by making very very high complicated watches in small quantities.
At the turn-of-the-century 2000 that’s really how we saw it coming, so I had to bring timepieces with so different and with a high
added value. And this was the time when the tourbillon pairing was very very strong. The Russians came and bought
unbelievable quantities of tourbillon watches. And that’s why I felt it was time to go in there, which I did with my haute
horlogerie with my twins heritage. And the twins heritage was an instant success. I launched it in the early December 2004 and
within two weeks I had orders for one year.
Inaudible [04:13] wanted to make watches from 400 to 4000, nobody would’ve trust in me or believed in me. And would’ve said
it was impossible. But coming up with the first price at $70,000, people started to say “this guy must be doing something
different” they were very very curious. And the twins heritage was the first watch which opened like a fanlike this where you can
read both dials at the same time. This is what really intrigued people and you know what nobody ever questions the price.
The only thing which really stopped that process was the financial crisis in 2008. The whole environment changed once again
and I realized that it became difficult to sell watches above €10,000 unless you were an old historic brand like the Patek or
All during these times when I stopped the spirit of Switzerland ethno watches, I always received mails and phone callsand letters
from people who are very disappointed that I stopped this typical Swiss line. And so I said to myself it’s time to re-launch it
under Swiss icon and make a luxury spirit of Switzerland out of it at I called it accessible luxury. And I would take the bulk of our
business. Today our average ex-factory price is about between Fr.3000 and Fr.4000, which is excellent.
It’s called icons of the world. And this one here is the New York timepiece. It does a 10 o’clock here. There is a disk; day-night
disk with the sun setting and the stars are coming up during the night behind the Statue of Liberty. And you have an alarm
system here with a hammer which bangs on a gong striking mechanism. Riettant[06:38] 2 Hz, down to 2 Hz like.
When the two banks united, you know there was UBS and SPS, two banks. They merged in 1997 and to celebrate their first year
anniversary, I got a phone call in November. We got a call from the UBS and they said we want to buy 18,000 watches but they
have to be delivered early December. For the 8th of December which was the first year anniversary of this unique union, because
they want to offer one watch to every UBS member abroad internationally. They want to give them something typically Swiss.
We had five weeks to make 18,000 watches and we did.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Michel Jordi Watches [ Switzerland ]