Rebellion Timepieces Interview of Calim Bouhadra
WorldTempus had a little chat with the CEO of Rebellion Timepieces
How is it going for Rebellion Timepieces?
It’s a little hard to speak about this in the context of the crisis that’s affecting watchmaking, because I have a lot of respect for all the members of this big family… but the fact is that Rebellion Timepieces has just had the best year of its history.
Weap One © Rebellion Timepieces
Now, it has to be said that we are a small company, very agile and reactive, there are only about a dozen of us, we have low fixed costs, and we have the advantage of leaning on an industry-leading conglomerate of over 1,800 employees. It’s been five years since the founder-director of the brand and I took back the management of Rebellion, and we have finally managed to find the right formula in getting things to function well. Our involvement in motorsports, with our own racing team, has opened up several doors for us, allowing us to tap on this loyal community and audience. In the area of distribution, we are innovative; for example, in the Japan market, where we’ve just started working with a luxury entrepreneur who hadn’t yet brought timepieces into his boutiques. We position Rebellion as a luxury brand, with products in collaboration with brands outside of watchmaking, such as skis by Rip’n Wud, glasses by Roland Iten, or electric bikes with Greyp. Apart from that, we’ve also opened our first monobrand boutique this year, in Shanghai.
Skis Rip'nWud © Rebellion Timepieces
It seems that you’re expanding the team?
Yes, as we’re opening new markets, our organization has to follow this expansion. We’re looking for people to fill commercial and technical roles — and meeting some very interesting people at the moment. It may be an operational development for us, but the human side counts for a lot, in our little company. At the same time, we’re progressing in the area of calibres; we have to keep up with our breakthroughs in other areas.
The gamble you took on the entry-level Twenty-One, did it pay off?
Offering an accessibly priced watch wasn’t originally part of our plans, and it wasn’t easy for us to take this decision. When we first partnered with the Dakar Rally in 2017, the organisers of the South American race event wanted to associate themselves with a watch in the range of CHF 3,000. In the spirit of give-and-take, we created the Twenty-One, inspired by the 1930s style of steering wheels and dashboards. We equipped this watch with an automatic calibre created exclusively for Rebellion, and the success was immediate. It should be said that several fans of Rebellion Racing were ecstatic about being able to acquire a Rebellion watch — before the Twenty-One they would have been looking at something that cost about four times more.
Twenty one GTWC © Rebellion Timepieces
What do you expect out of your participation in Watches And Wonders 2021?
Here at Rebellion, we still have a long road ahead of us in terms of recognition. We’re still a niche brand that isn’t well known by the general public. As we are set to double our sales in the next few years, being exposed at Watches And Wonders should bring us visibility in the eyes of retailers, the media and ideally the final client too. There are still numerous markets worldwide in which Rebellion is not present, and the potential here is very important for us. Watches And Wonders will be a platform for us to launch our novelties, notably a new Revolt chronograph, a new slim Predator for women, as well as a new version of our iconic asymmetric flying tourbillon, Weap-One, still as popular as ever.
What will be the other strong moments of 2021 for Rebellion?
In the current situation, it’s admittedly difficult to look too far ahead with any certainty, but Rebellion is now official timekeeper of the GT World Challenge Championship race, and we hope that the event can take place under the right conditions. At the same time, we always remain flexible and spontaneous to take any opportunities that come our way during the year — no doubt that we will continue to seize such opportunities as they arise in 2021. On the product side, we will launch our own chronograph movement, which will equip (most notably) the new Revolt models. The T-1000 is coming back into the spotlight, with a new version that is more ergonomic and a more compact size, but with a reduced power reserve of a still-impressive 500 hours instead of 1,000 hours. In the same watch family, our T2M still holds the record for longest power reserve — two months!
T1000 Titanium Red © Rebellion Timepieces