Why was the Swarovski Crystalline Hours Automatic watch voted Best Fashion Watch 2016? Swarovski CEO Robert Buchbauer gives us the backstory on how this special timepiece made it into the limelight…
As the great-great-grandchild of Daniel Swarovski, founder of the crystal brand, Robert Buchbauer has lived and breathed Swarovski his whole life, and now, as CEO of the crystal giant, he has big plans for the family owned company, starting with the introduction of Swarovski’s first ever automatic watch. Merging exquisite design tradition with stylistic modernity, and as the winner of the Eve’s Watch Best Fashion Watch of the Year 2016, the Crystalline Hours Automatic Watch is set to make some serious sartorial waves. Robert spoke to us about how the launch came about…
Why was 2016 the perfect time to launch an automatic watch for Swarovski?
Our watch collection continues to show growing results since its launch in 2009. Today it is established and renowned for its distinctive qualities of versatility, fashion sense, modernity, and high quality offered at an affordable price point. The time is right to welcome more of an exclusive piece, not only featuring Swarovski’s aesthetic but also reflecting the brand’s commitment to innovate, dare, and surprise.
How did you develop the Crystalline Hours design, what was the inspiration and influence behind it?
An exclusive timepiece, such as Crystalline Hours, is the occasion for us to showcase our craftsmanship and let our know-how truly shine. We wanted to design a watch that would have a very high crystal appeal, and that would lend a sense of ultimate refinement to those wearing it. The watch features a round face, and a curvy domed case containing approximately 4,000 tiny faceted Swarovski crystals. The highlight of the watch is the clear, fully crystallized case. The transparent design allows you to see the watch movement from the reverse of the case.
Why such a relativity simple dial?
Simple can still make a statement, and we wanted to let the mechanism and the brilliance of the crystals show. The contrast brings a perfect harmony and balance to the overall design.
Was there any other way of incorporating the ‘crystal element’?
Crystal touch or more widely, Swarovski’s DNA, is infused is each and every watch we design. This is expressed through a multiple of ways, from faceted crystal bezels that echo the brand’s history to Crystal Mesh straps or Swarovski crystal pavé adorning bezels. Our signature of brilliance and femininity shines throughout the whole collection, from subtle touches to bold expressions.
Did you have any dial designs that were rejected?
For the Crystalline Hours, our intention was very clear from the outset. We wanted to come up with a watch that had a hint of 1940’s inspiration that would let the crystal elegantly dazzle, yet remain easily wearable.
How did your vision fit in with Swarovski’s other women’s watch collections?
Very naturally I must say. Swarovski caters to the needs of multifaceted women through a wide array of pieces, which all capture and interprets our DNA and signature in various expressions. Brilliance fits both sleek and contemporary designs, as well as more eye-catching and glamorous executions. The watch collection comprises timepieces belonging to all of these expressions, Crystalline being part of the boldest.
Do you think the Swarovski customer is looking to invest more in watches?
Swarovski watches are true fashion accessories while making no compromise with regards to quality, as all of our watches are Swiss-made. It is true to say that we offer watches for the everyday, designed to inject a touch of sparkle to any outfit and any occasion. For that reason, it is important to define the right pricing. That is why we offer watches at entry price points ranging to more exclusive designs. Figures show that our pricing strategy performs well and that our consumers continue to invest in new designs. We almost doubled the quantity of watches we sold in 2015 compared with 2014, while increasing our operational growth by 48%.
Are there any plans to launch more Swarovski automatic watches and if so what can we expect to see?
We have lots of interesting things in development. You will have to come to Baselworld 2017 to discover more exciting news!
Swarovski’s first step into the automatic watch world is one of our favourite fashion moments of 2016, you can find our full review of the timepiece here to see just how highly we rate it, and if you love it like we do, you can enter our competition for a chance to win one. Needless to say we are eagerly anticipating great things for 2017. Whether or not further automatic models are to be revealed, only time will tell, but there is a Swarovski smart watch on the horizion so rest assured we will be first in line at Baselworld in March to report back to you on the big reveal.