The newly formed W Luxury Group has signed an agreement to be the exclusive North American distributor of Spanish watchmaker Franc Vila’s Swiss-made high-end luxury timepieces.
“I’ve an admirer of Franc Vila’s timepieces and am impressed by the unique design,” said Michael Wunderman, WLG president. “Not only do I like the exquisite timepieces, but also the man behind them is an incredible visionary, a rare and exciting combination.”
The WLG, based in Irvine, Cal., is owned and operated by Wunderman and Johnny Wizman, its vice-president. (The ‘W’ in the group title stands for their last names.) Wunderman is also president of Swiss luxury brand Corum USA, also in Irvine, and Wizman, his cousin, is its vice president of sales. However, Wunderman told JCK that the WLG is separate from Corum USA and not part of it.
The WLG is in discussions, said Wunderman, to acquire U.S. distribution of several other luxury brands, though no agreements had been reached, yet.
Franc Vila, a watchmaker, designer and collector based in Geneva, Switzerland, created his brand in 2004 and introduced his first collection of haute horlogerie mechanical watches, with complications, at Baselworld 2005. He says his watches are influenced by the contemporary world. His new skeleton tourbillon, for example, is inspired by architecture and modern art.
The timepieces are produced in limited editions of 8, 48, or 88 units, all with Vila’s ‘Esprit Unique” case design. They feature grande complication movements (such as his Cuatro Tourbillon Dial-Side Column Wheel Monopusher chronograph) and cutting-edge materials, such as Vila’s own “Lightnium” alloy. The price range is $20,000 – $500,000.
North American distribution is very exclusive and limited to the “most prestigious jewelry stores.” The WLG expects to have approximately 10 points of sale by 2009. The target audience, Wizman said, “the crème de la crème of watch buyers and collectors.”
Caption:Franc Vila’s Cautro Chronograph Tourbillon