For 2020, Swiss Angelus watches welcomes a new CEO with Mr. Bertrand Savary. To my knowledge, he is the first dedicated leader of the relaunched brand (in 2015) after it was spearheaded by former La Joux-Perret principle Sebastien Chaulmontet. Angelus is an historic name in Swiss watchmaking, and Mr. Chaulmontent was an esteemed collector, being highly interested in its chronographs. A chance opportunity landed in his lap to acquire the rights to the Angelus name, and Chaulmontet convinced La Joux-Perret to not only acquire it but also to build a forward-thinking brand around it to complement and contrast with Arnold & Son (the other in-house La Joux-Perret brand).
Angelus relaunched with the novel and wild-looking Angelus U10 Tourbillon (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here). Since then, most of the watches have focused on the tourbillon complication — often at aggressive price points, given the market competition. Angelus has tantalized watch enthusiasts by combining traditional notions of prestigious watchmaking with a design language that is both futuristic and functional. Moving forward, Angelus will release further extensions of the popular models it has been releasing since 2015, and under Mr. Savary will release brand new models. Now let’s hear from Bertrand Savary himself as he answers my questions about Angelus watches and its future.
Ariel Adams (AA): Welcome to the helm of a very special boutique luxury watch brand. No doubt you are familiar with Angelus’ historic story, as well as its modern story of being brought back by a watch industry professional who was a passionate collector of the brand. Now that you are in charge of Angelus, how do you plan to leverage the company’s contemporary and distant history into a presentation that is compelling to today’s high-end watch enthusiasts?
Bertrand Savary (BS): Thank you for the invitation, Ariel. I am honored to fly the flag for Angelus and join the team and our manufacture in developing new chapters in for this iconic name.
To answer your question, I believe that, for watch enthusiasts, the story of Angelus is still vivid. The brand marked the history of chronographs from the 20s to the 60s, exemplified by the Chronodato. I have always been astonished by Angelus’ innovative spirit — in terms of chronographs, of course, but also for the brand’s lesser-known complications such as the Tinkler, the first-ever automatic repeater wristwatch, or the uncommon Teleco, a watch that was designed to record the duration of long-distance telephone calls.
Our aim today is to retain this spirit of innovation and to translate it in a contemporary way. We honor the Stolz brothers and their successors with our dedication to advanced movement engineering, but our aim is not to cling to the past entirely but rather to design and develop efficient, powerful, and adaptable timepieces for today. Thanks to our integrated manufacture and its wide portfolio of movements, we have the tools and the expertise to imagine stunning collections that captivate today’s collectors just the way that the vintage models always have.
AA: As of now, Angelus is very much a niche brand with interesting and elaborate products that mostly only seasoned watch collectors notice. Are you planning to continue to appeal to seasoned watch collectors or enthusiasts, or are you planning to make elements of Angelus more mainstream?
BS: You are correct. Since its relaunch in 2015, Angelus has maintained a fairly low-profile, and that is why I am here today speaking with you and your expert audience. Angelus will continue to be a niche brand, but our objective is to increase our visibility significantly, especially in the USA, which is home to many Angelus connoisseurs. We will continue to serve our faithful, seasoned clientele by proposing very limited and exclusive offerings like our new U23 tourbillon series and custom-made timepieces, but our aim is also to broaden our clientele with more accessible projects in terms of design and complications. We are working on a full new collection (non-tourbillon!) to be presented within the next three years and, obviously, at a more affordable price. This new non-tourbillon collection will still follow our motto of “advanced engineering with athletic aesthetic.”
AA: What do you feel are the strongest current Angelus brand assets? In other words, what products, themes, mechanisms, and styles do you feel merit the most immediate expansion and amplification?
BS: Our strongest assets are our skilled and inspired personnel, from our design team to our logistic departments, and as mentioned earlier in our discussion, our wide portfolio of tourbillon movements and the new calibers in the pipeline. I am an engineer by profession, and the quest for advanced materials is in the genes of our group, so we certainly have a penchant for new technologies that bring unique technicality and aesthetic aspects to our collections.
I think it is crucially important that we at Angelus, as a high-end brand, always remind ourselves that our customers deserve the most impeccable timepieces. To me, luxury isn’t necessarily a quality or a price point but a state of mind and an educational experience that never ends. We as a brand and as individuals must never be complacent and must commit to continuous improvement at every level of the process, from our day-to-day business dealings to the way we continue to explore contemporary materials and push for greater innovation and creativity in our designs.
AA: Tell us about your particular Angelus plans for the next few years. What types of changes or additions will consumers expect to see from the brand, and what novel promotional or marketing tools will you rely on to reach larger audiences and better connect with existing fans?
BS: As explained earlier, we will present a completely new range of timepieces within the next three years while keeping the same momentum in material development and designs that have characterized recent models like our U50 Diver Tourbillons.
Regarding communication, we are proud to say that our watches speak for themselves so well that, in several instances, notable personalities have approached us for collaborations on their own, rather than us approaching them. I am pleased to share with you that this is how we came to meet a particular young American NFL athlete, a real talent who, in his words, “fell in love” with one special Angelus timepiece. His precision and dynamic energy on the field aligns perfectly with our brand, so we decided to customize a timepiece for him. You will discover more this autumn if the virus situation allows!
We are also excited to announce a partnership, this time for a very limited edition of 25 pieces, with a well-known sports figure this fall, this time hailing from Europe. He worked with us to redesign elements of a model to aspects of a model to his taste.
AA: Tell us a bit more about what types of consumers you feel today respond to the Angelus watch brand value proposition best. Where do these people live in the world? How experienced are they as watch-lovers? Are there other activities or product categories that they tend to be interested in? What do you feel will be some of the most meaningful ways of engaging with them to make them even more interested in the Angelus brand and its watches?
BS: It is hard to narrow in on a single socio-demographic profile. If I take the example of the sports personalities mentioned above, you have a gifted young American athlete at the beginning of a promising career and an experienced European sports director. Different ages, different cultures, different education. There are no common denominators between them, aside from an overall athletic involvement, but both are fueled with their passion and quest for the best. If I make a comparison with our timepieces, I would say they are efficient, powerful, and adaptable.
Where do our consumers live? They can hail from everywhere, especially in our digitized world. That said, we are seeing a lot of interest in the USA and in Japan. This is no wonder, as both countries have a strong community of avant-garde watch collectors who understand the watchmaking business and, I believe, realize that the value proposition offered by Angelus is among the most interesting in the market in its segment.
As said, we live even more today with this sad worldwide pandemic. In a digital world, communication must be fast and efficient and, at the same time, personalized to the requests of the customers (a great challenge when we know that it takes months to develop and make reliable new calibers!). I believe in efficient communication that isn’t overly embellished, which I view as a relic of the past. (This communication approach, in my mind, should be paired with fast and irreproachable service from the first stages of customer contact to the moment the timepiece is delivered, and on to subsequent follow-ups. Each point of contact should not be transnational or one-sided but conversational, human, and approachable.