The Watch Company. Reinvented.

Luxury watch brand Concord has repositioned itself to be an even more exclusive luxury brand, with innovative, edgy designs and its former lines reduced to one, the new C1. In fall 2007, in advance of its 100th anniversary this year, it relaunched itself worldwide with its new watch, tighter distribution, and a new global ad campaign that includes the tagline: “The Watch. Reconstructed.”

“Something big is happening with Concord,” Vincent Perriard, president of Concord worldwide, told JCK last year. “Something others [in the watch business] will follow.”

Concord began in 1908 in Switzerland and became known for technical expertise and the private-label fine watches it made for leading jewelers like Cartier, Tiffany, and Van Cleef & Arpels. It was also famous for its Ring clock, the first portable eight-day winding travel alarm clock, which U.S. President Harry Truman gave to heads of state, and, starting in the late 1940s, coin-dial watches. In 1969 North American Watch Co. (now Movado Group Inc.) bought the company. In 1979 Concord unveiled the elegant Delirium, the world’s flattest watch. In the 1980s came the Mariner luxury sports watch and the sophisticated Saratoga line. During the ’90s, Concord debuted Saratoga Exor, one of the most expensive watches then made, and added the stylish Veneto and La Scala lines.

Following the successful 2005 relaunch of its Ebel luxury brand, Movado Group decided to reinvigorate Concord and give it a wider international presence in the very high-end luxury niche. Perriard was tapped in June 2006 to oversee Concord’s repositioning. In the late 1990s, he was involved in the global repositioning of Audemars Piguet, where he was marketing manager, and he later oversaw the repositioning of Swatch Group’s midprice Hamilton brand, as its vice president of international marketing. Prior to joining Concord, he was chief executive officer of Brand DNA, specializing in business strategies for luxury brands.

Joining Perriard were Stefan Feltgen (formerly with Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Nestlé) as Concord’s worldwide marketing director, and Alex Grinberg as president of Concord USA, at its Paramus, N.J., offices.

Since summer 2006, Concord has been revamped and transformed. The creation of the new C1 (“C” for “Concord” and “Concept,” “1” for the first collection) returns Concord to what Grinberg calls its “original DNA” as a very high-end, innovative Swiss brand, incorporating “modernity, technical know-how, daring, the unexpected, and edgy designs.” It also incorporates elements of past lines, he says, like Delirium’s technical expertise and daring, and its Saratoga-inspired bezel.

Concord’s retail outlets worldwide shrank from 500 to 120 (30 in the United States), while its watches’ retail prices rose from a former entry price of $3,500 to a range of $9,400–$12,000. (A limited-edition rose gold model costs $29,900.) Its market, says Perriard, is “hard-core watch aficionados and enthusiasts.”

Concord also moved its headquarters from New Jersey to Bienne, Switzerland. Though always Swiss made, Concord’s ownership by a U.S. company over four decades gave it an American identity. “To be a truly international high-end Swiss brand and have immediate access to the best resources to build a very special high-end watch, including those who develop complex movements, we have to be in Switzerland,” said Grinberg.

The C1 automatic chronograph collection debuted at this year’s international BaselWorld watch and jewelry show in Switzerland and arrives in stores through early 2008. C2 is slated for 2008, C3 for 2009. Limited editions and more complex mechanical movements are also planned.

The C1—a COSC-certified chronometer—is an impressive, tough luxury sport watch. Its steel case is 44 mm wide, 16.7 mm thick, and comprises 53 engineered components of steel and rubber. It incorporates structural styling, using edges and angles, and a tri-level carbon fiber dial. It’s water resistant to over 600 feet. Perriard has called it daring, even revolutionary.

“A tremendous amount of know-how [is needed] to make this complicated watch,” says Grinberg. One example (a world-first) is C1’s titanium-tipped vulcanized rubber strap-to-case attachments, connected directly to the case by self-blocking screws for a comfortable fit for any wrist and better shock absorption. Another is a rubber-sheathed protective metal ring (for the 3.3 mm thick antireflective sapphire crystal) with eight decorative tabs extending over the bezel, fitted over the middle case, and secured by self-blocking side screws.

C1 is a masculine watch, but women’s versions could be added as early as spring 2008. Perriard anticipates a 70 to 30 male-to-female ratio in future business. The initial production run is 1,200 watches. That could increase to something less than 2,000 next year. Growth will be minimal, based on demand, says Grinberg.

Concord’s “The Watch. Reconstructed.” ad campaign launched worldwide in late October, initially in trade publications, to introduce the C1, and what Perriard calls the “ultimate watch construction,” to connoisseurs and collectors of fine timepieces. The ads feature a math professor at a blackboard devising a formula for C1’s specifications. “We’re focusing on the watch’s complex construction and technical know-how,” says Grinberg, “to show that every piece is highly engineered, and every screw has a function.”

Luxury watch brand Concord has repositioned itself to be an even more exclusive luxury brand, with innovative, edgy designs and its former lines reduced to one, the new C1. In fall 2007, in advance of its 100th anniversary this year, it relaunched itself worldwide with its new watch, tighter distribution, and a new global ad campaign that includes the tagline: “The Watch. Reconstructed.”

“Something big is happening with Concord,” Vincent Perriard, president of Concord worldwide, told JCK last year. “Something others [in the watch business] will follow.”

Concord began in 1908 in Switzerland and became known for technical expertise and the private-label fine watches it made for leading jewelers like Cartier, Tiffany, and Van Cleef & Arpels. It was also famous for its Ring clock, the first portable eight-day winding travel alarm clock, which U.S. President Harry Truman gave to heads of state, and, starting in the late 1940s, coin-dial watches. In 1969 North American Watch Co. (now Movado Group Inc.) bought the company. In 1979 Concord unveiled the elegant Delirium, the world’s flattest watch. In the 1980s came the Mariner luxury sports watch and the sophisticated Saratoga line. During the ’90s, Concord debuted Saratoga Exor, one of the most expensive watches then made, and added the stylish Veneto and La Scala lines.

Following the successful 2005 relaunch of its Ebel luxury brand, Movado Group decided to reinvigorate Concord and give it a wider international presence in the very high-end luxury niche. Perriard was tapped in June 2006 to oversee Concord’s repositioning. In the late 1990s, he was involved in the global repositioning of Audemars Piguet, where he was marketing manager, and he later oversaw the repositioning of Swatch Group’s midprice Hamilton brand, as its vice president of international marketing. Prior to joining Concord, he was chief executive officer of Brand DNA, specializing in business strategies for luxury brands.

Joining Perriard were Stefan Feltgen (formerly with Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Nestlé) as Concord’s worldwide marketing director, and Alex Grinberg as president of Concord USA, at its Paramus, N.J., offices.

Since summer 2006, Concord has been revamped and transformed. The creation of the new C1 (“C” for “Concord” and “Concept,” “1” for the first collection) returns Concord to what Grinberg calls its “original DNA” as a very high-end, innovative Swiss brand, incorporating “modernity, technical know-how, daring, the unexpected, and edgy designs.” It also incorporates elements of past lines, he says, like Delirium’s technical expertise and daring, and its Saratoga-inspired bezel.

Concord’s retail outlets worldwide shrank from 500 to 120 (30 in the United States), while its watches’ retail prices rose from a former entry price of $3,500 to a range of $9,400–$12,000. (A limited-edition rose gold model costs $29,900.) Its market, says Perriard, is “hard-core watch aficionados and enthusiasts.”

Concord also moved its headquarters from New Jersey to Bienne, Switzerland. Though always Swiss made, Concord’s ownership by a U.S. company over four decades gave it an American identity. “To be a truly international high-end Swiss brand and have immediate access to the best resources to build a very special high-end watch, including those who develop complex movements, we have to be in Switzerland,” said Grinberg.

The C1 automatic chronograph collection debuted at this year’s international BaselWorld watch and jewelry show in Switzerland and arrives in stores through early 2008. C2 is slated for 2008, C3 for 2009. Limited editions and more complex mechanical movements are also planned.

The C1—a COSC-certified chronometer—is an impressive, tough luxury sport watch. Its steel case is 44 mm wide, 16.7 mm thick, and comprises 53 engineered components of steel and rubber. It incorporates structural styling, using edges and angles, and a tri-level carbon fiber dial. It’s water resistant to over 600 feet. Perriard has called it daring, even revolutionary.

“A tremendous amount of know-how [is needed] to make this complicated watch,” says Grinberg. One example (a world-first) is C1’s titanium-tipped vulcanized rubber strap-to-case attachments, connected directly to the case by self-blocking screws for a comfortable fit for any wrist and better shock absorption. Another is a rubber-sheathed protective metal ring (for the 3.3 mm thick antireflective sapphire crystal) with eight decorative tabs extending over the bezel, fitted over the middle case, and secured by self-blocking side screws.

C1 is a masculine watch, but women’s versions could be added as early as spring 2008. Perriard anticipates a 70 to 30 male-to-female ratio in future business. The initial production run is 1,200 watches. That could increase to something less than 2,000 next year. Growth will be minimal, based on demand, says Grinberg.

Concord’s “The Watch. Reconstructed.” ad campaign launched worldwide in late October, initially in trade publications, to introduce the C1, and what Perriard calls the “ultimate watch construction,” to connoisseurs and collectors of fine timepieces. The ads feature a math professor at a blackboard devising a formula for C1’s specifications. “We’re focusing on the watch’s complex construction and technical know-how,” says Grinberg, “to show that every piece is highly engineered, and every screw has a function.”