Talking Shop with Bertrand Savary, CEO Angelus and Arnold & Son | WatchTime
Managing not one but two watch brands at the same time is a real challenge. To find out how this is done, I was happy to speak with Bertrand Savarywho runs both Angelus, as well as Arnold & Son, in this edition of “Talk shop with….”,
Where does your passion for watchmaking come from?
It started very early. My first memory is the Swatch Scuba that I bought with my pocket money. My passion for watches really started when I started working in the watch industry 22 years ago.
How to fly not one, but two brands?
It’s really interesting and mentally stimulating because the two brands are really distinct in terms of DNA and universe. For us, Angelus and Arnold & Son are sister brands, but they have very individual personalities, aesthetics, values and priorities to respect. It’s a balancing act to draw inspiration from each brand’s historic past while keeping an eye on the horizon and what’s to come.
We recognize that one thing the brands have in common is a long history of innovation, from John Arnold’s first marine chronometers to the revolutionary mid-century Angelus chronographs. Or the objective is not to build on these impressive legacies, but to develop them by continuing to introduce new complications, movements, materials and exciting new designs.
What do you consider the hardest part of your job?
Both brands are booming and increasing production is a real supply chain challenge. We develop and produce our own movements, which takes some of the pressure off, but for some spare parts we are dependent on suppliers, and those supply chains are stretched right now.
Both Angelus and Arnold & Son have very distinct DNA. How do you maintain that, while looking to the future and keeping the brand interesting for collectors?
For each brand, we have defined a clear design and production plan for the next five years. The key is to maintain a strict mental separation between brands, with no overlap. When we brainstorm and develop the new product, the brands remain completely separate. For example, we never discuss both brands in the same meeting.
We also seek to intrigue collectors and maintain their interest by developing new complications that have never been used by other brands, such as the Arnold & Son Luna Magna, the largest 3D moon phase on the market.
The blue-dial Chronodates are my favorites from this year’s Montres & Merveilles. What can you tell us about these watches?
The Chronodate is inspired by the original Angelus chronodato from 1942. It is not a vintage reissue. I prefer to think of it as neo-retro inspired. Here you see the vintage inspiration in the high contrast subdials and large numerals, but it also carries on the Angelus spirit of innovation in a whole new way.
We designed a complex new case with six main components that allows us to play with different materials, here combining composite carbon with 18k red gold or titanium. The design took us almost a year, but the result is stunning.
You once mentioned that Mr. Hayek Senior was an influence in your life for his vision and his ability to see 10 years ahead. What do you expect on the horizon for the watch world as a whole and Angelus and Arnold & Son in particular?
It’s easy to focus only on the product or the brand image, but to truly succeed in this industry, it’s important to have a holistic view of operations. Like a great watch movement, optimal efficiency and excellence do not come by chance. It takes all the parts working in harmony to reduce friction points and improve performance at every level.
For example, Arnold & Son just produced 1,000 watches this year. This increase in demand and production is a testament to the excellent work done by our distribution, product development and communications teams over the past three years. In the years to come, we will continue to develop our three pillars, chronometry, world time and astronomy, while developing new products. We plan to introduce a new line within the next 18 months.
With the launch of the Chronodate this year, we are reconnecting with the spirit of the brand, which has long been renowned for producing the best chronographs and complications. Angelus’ history is truly rich, and this new chapter will see us launch so many great products in the years and decades to come.
And three things I ask of everyone:
Favorite food: I love all kinds of food, especially Italian, Japanese and Peruvian… but the most important thing is who you share it with!
Favorite place: Since I travel a lot (at least before Covid), all over the world, I appreciate more than ever to be at home when I can. I live in a small village near Geneva, and the best thing is to just stay home and enjoy spending time with my twins and my wife.
Favorite watch: I still love my Panerai Submersible PAM0024 from 2000. It was the beginning of Panerai, and I bought it with my first salary. I still have it and plan to keep it.