Mouawad Worth the wait
The opening of Mouawad’s Geneva boutique gives the company a worthy outlet for the watch creations it has been refining over the last forty years.
The new shop on the Rue du Rhône might be the first Mouawad boutique in Europe, but there are already 17 in the Middle East, Malaysia and Singapore. The next one to open will probably be in London. Over 125 years and four generations, the Mouawad family has made a name for itself as a dynamic jeweller, a watch and jewellery merchant and, more recently, a watchmaker. David Mouawad first went off to conquer the New World at the end of the 18th century, and returned to Lebanon after 20 years to open the first Mouawad workshop in 1908. The second generation had the bold idea of setting watches with precious stones, a concept that would ensure the success of the Mouawad dynasty in Saudi Arabia. Robert Mouawad, representing the third generation, considerably raised the international profile of the family firm, moving the company headquarters to Geneva and, in the 1970s, creating his own watch brand, Robergé (from Robert + Geneva).
Mouawad has always made its watches in Switzerland, originally in Geneva and more recently in Le Brassus. The acquisition of a case maker in the 1990s marked the first step towards vertical integration, which today is embodied in the Mouawad Manufacture SA, located in Les Breuleux in the Swiss Jura, whose design and manufacturing operations are supplemented by the work of the Carouge workshops in Geneva, which produces the movements. Four years ago the Robergé label was dropped and watch production was strategically incorporated into the Mouawad brand, whose high-net-worth clientele are already familiar with the high-profile jewellery creations showcased in the 17 boutiques. Who hasn’t heard of the Incomparable, a diamond necklace featured in the Guinness World Records as the most expensive in the world (55 million dollars)? And there are three more Mouawad pieces in there. Since 2001, the Mouawad name has been associated with Victoria’s Secret’s most glamorous fashion shows, where models wear diamond-encrusted underwear such as the Fireworks Fantasy bra from 2015, whose 6808 precious stones weighing a total of 1300 carats help to explain the two-million-dollar price tag. In fact, this is at the more affordable end of the range, given that the company’s unique pieces generally go for between 10 and 12.5 million dollars.
Four new calibres for 2016
Today, Alain, Fred and Pascal Mouawad, who represent the fourth generation to take the reins of the venerable company, like to think of themselves as “guardians of the values” of continuity, integrity, patience and reputation. Alain and Fred, who were present at the opening of the Geneva boutique, which employs six staff, announced the forthcoming launch of four new calibres: a mono-pusher chronograph, a tourbillon chronograph, an alarm and a perpetual calendar, which will be unveiled towards the end of the year. Mouawad’s watch collections comprise four families of watches for men and women, divided into small, highly exclusive series, with production of no more than 1,000 to 1,200 pieces per year. Prices start at CHF 10,000, and go as high as one million francs for the Grande Ellipse Tourbillon entirely paved with baguette-cut diamonds. The Grande Ellipse is the flagship men’s collection; the oval case shape was chosen by the father of the three brothers to define the Robergé brand. Its contemporary design and aesthetic values give it a refined presence, and the care lavished on its inner workings ensures that the collection is highly sought-after by the brand’s loyal customers. Alain, who oversees the company’s watch division, points to Mouawad’s experience in both the creation and distribution of watches, while noting the importance of proceeding with caution in the prevailing market conditions. Given that Mouawad watches are available only from their boutiques, stock management is less of a problem than for other brands. Lovers of fine watchmaking may soon find even more good reasons to pay a visit.
A passion for watchmaking has been passed down through the Mouawad family for several generations. This attachment is now rooted in the Franches-Montagnes district, where the family business still has its workshops. There, it designs timepieces based on the values the company has upheld for over a century: artistic excellence and impeccable manufacturing.Find out more >
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