Monday, June 30, 2008

Severin Wunderman, 69; high-end watch manufacturer built Gucci franchise

By Mary Rourke, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 28, 2008
Severin Wunderman, the owner of Corum, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, who was also an art collector and philanthropist, died Wednesday at his home in Nice, France, his son, Michael, said. He was 69.

Wunderman, who built Gucci Timepieces into a multimillion-dollar business, died after a stroke, according to his son. He owned homes in Southern California, Las Vegas and Europe.

Wunderman began his career in the 1960s as a salesman for Alexis Barthelay, the European
watchmaking firm. During a business trip to New York City in the early 1970s he called on Gucci, a company known for luxury accessories. The owner, Aldo Gucci, happened to answer the phone.

The two men met for a drink and Wunderman convinced Gucci to place a watch order worth $250,000. It turned out, however, that Barthelay was not prepared to fill more than a small percentage of the order.

Wunderman then proposed to Gucci that he quit his job and oversee the manufacture
of the watches himself. The only problem was that he didn't have the
money to cover the costs.

"The man went into his pocket, took out his checkbook and prepaid the order," Wunderman recalled of Gucci in a 1986 interview with the Orange County Business Journal. "That's
what put me into business."

Wunderman established Severin Montres, with a sales office in Irvine, and remained the sole manufacturer and distributor of Gucci watches for more than 25 years. He had worked his way back from a near-devastating childhood.

Wunderman was born in Brussels on Nov. 19, 1938, the son of a Jewish glove manufacturer. When the Nazis invaded Belgium during World War II, his parents paid a Catholic priest to hide him and his two siblings in the countryside.

Severin was placed in a school for blind children where he was the only child with sight. A
gentile family took him in, and after the war they did not want to let him go home to his parents.

"My father was one of those people you didn't mess with," Wunderman recalled in a 1995 interview with The Times. "He came in, tied everyone up and took me out."

Wunderman's mother died when he was about 10, and he moved to Los Angeles, alone, to live with his older sister Bella, who was already settled in the city.

He quit high school, worked in a parking lot at night and managed a string of newspaper delivery boys by day.

His first step into the manufacturing business came when he was in his 20s and made and sold gold chain jewelry. From there he went to work in the watch business.

After establishing Severin Montres, Wunderman opened the Severin Wunderman Museum in the same Irvine building. He filled it with drawings, paintings, tapestries and art objects by the French modern artist Jean Cocteau that he had been collecting since he was 19.

In 1985 he opened the museum to the public. Ten years later, he donated the Cocteau collection to the University of Texas at Austin.

He sold his Gucci watch business in the late 1990s and bought the Switzerland-based Corum company in 2000.

His first major success with Corum was a "bubble" watch with a glass dome over the watch face that Wunderman compared to a submarine hatch.

He went on to create limited-edition watches with whimsical details, including a "Royal Flush" model that featured five playing cards in the same suit and a dollar sign on the second-hand. Another design, "Garden Bird," included a hummingbird among flowers. He also developed a series of gold and diamond watches.

After suffering a life-threatening case of lung cancer in the 1990s, he established the Severin Wunderman Family Foundation to support medical research on incurable diseases.

In 2005 Wunderman was presented with the French Legion of Honor for his cultural and philanthropic contributions.

Wunderman was married five times. Along with his son, Michael, who is president
of Corum, he is survived by another son, Nathan, and daughters Deborah Drucker and Raphaelle Cassens, all of the Los Angeles area; his daughter Elizabeth Wunderman of England; his brother, Max, of Beverly Hills; and four grandchildren.

read the full story here

Exquisite Ebel

From afar I saw a watch resting in its box. I was on the phone, doing a million things, and had no time to take a closer look ... but my eyes kept wandering to the box. I knew there were diamonds on the watch face as they glinted in the overhead light. I was itching to take a closer look. Finally I had a spare moment. I raced to the table and looked at the watch. I should have known ... it was an EBEL BRASILIA Mini Ladies' Watch. I picked up the watch and felt the cool smooth 18K gold beneath my fingers. This watch was perfection, everything in perfect proportion. It imparted a subtle sensuality meant for the wrist of someone special.

"You can never go wrong with this watch," I thought.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

“Investments of Passion” still rank high among the World’s High Net worth Individuals.

The 12th annual World Wealth Report was released this past Tuesday – June 24th by Merill Lynch. Despite grim news about sliding economy’s, recessions and rising living costs, the World’s High Net worth Individuals spent enormous amounts of their wealth on luxury items, last year, quite aptly referred to as “Investments of Passion.” The luxury items include dazzling jewelry, luxury cars, private jets, dog sledding trips beyond the Arctic Circle and luxury watches. The emerging markets such as China, India, Russia and the Middle East are fast becoming big contributors to the global luxury marketplace.

The type of luxury item bought differs from mature to emerging markets, and from region to region. On a global scale 16.2% invested in private jets, luxury cars and yachts, 15.9% fine art and 13.5% on luxury watches and jewelry; travel ranked 4th with 13.5%.

Although luxury watches ranked 3rd on the global scale, luxury watches ranked 1st among the Worlds High Net worth Individuals and Ultra – Worlds High Net worth Individuals in the Middle East and Asia. Asia and the Middle East preferred to spend their wealth on luxury watches, jewelry and gems.

It is not hard to imagine why luxury watches have ranked so lofty in the Global Luxury Marketplace. The mystical revolutions of Jaeger Lecoultre’s Gyrotourbillon or Romaine Jerome’s watches, made in part from the very steel salvaged from the Titanic, among others, are truly “Investments of Passion.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reasons Why TAG Heuer Watches Are Such Popular Online Purchases

There are many luxury brand watches available to consumers these days however few stand out as much as TAG Heuer brand watches. These Swiss-manufactured watches have been produced since the mid-1800's which gives individuals an idea of just how good and highly coveted this luxury brand of watch truly is. Today, many online watch dealers which base their sales in luxury brand items can see the popularity of this type of watch simply by viewing their sales thereof. There are a few reasons why TAG watches are so highly coveted by the masses and are popular online purchases.

Wonderful Craftsmanship

One of the main reasons why TAG Heuer watches are perhaps the most searched brand of luxury watch via the World Wide Web has to do with the top-notch craftsmanship of the watch itself. No matter whether one is purchasing TAG Heuer watches to wear with suits to the office or whether they are purchasing TAG watches of the sports variety, the way in which this type of watch is crafted gives the purchaser peace of mind in knowing that their TAG watch will stand the test of time. Every dial and watch band is affixed with proper precision and made to last. This is just one reason why consumers frequently search for this type of watch online and in fact purchase the TAG watch as well.

Wide Selection of TAG Heuer Watches Available

In addition to the excellent craftsmanship of the TAG Heuer watches themselves, individuals often purchase these watches online due to the wide selection which is available to them. Whatever type of watch one is looking for or no matter what their price range may be, they are sure to find a TAG Heuer watch to fit within the designated category. From the sporty Carrera model of TAG watch to the regal Monaco TAG Heuer watch, those searching for a new TAG Heuer watch online are sure to find the exact version of watch they are looking for. The selection available to online purchasers is another reason why consumers desire this type of watch and often search for TAG watches online.

Unique Watch Styles

An additional reason why many online watch purchasers search for TAG Heuer brand watches is due to the unique styles which are available. Both men and women will find that the styles of the watches produced by TAG Heuer are unique and luxurious in nature. As opposed to other watch competitors, TAG watches tend to exude a bit more luxury and a little more uniqueness than other brands. Those who are shopping for watches will find that their search tends to target TAG Heuer brand watches due to the overall look and feel of this luxury watch.

TAG Watches Receive Rave Reviews

Lastly, many individuals who are shopping for a new watch will ultimately try to pull up search results for TAG Heuer watches since they have heard so many positive reviews about this type of watch. Along with the famous individuals who endorse TAG watches, regular, everyday individuals who may not have such celebrity status will often agree with the reviews and post their own accolades over the web. A luxury brand watch such as the TAG Heuer watch which receives such wonderful applause is sure to be a favored one among online shoppers who are eager to acquire a new watch of their own or purchase one as a gift for a loved one.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Luxury watchmakers have never had it so good

NEW DELHI: If time is money, watchmakers certainly know how to make the best of it, and where. Things might be slowing down in the West, but here watchmakers are making a beeline to bite into the luxury and super-luxury segment. The emergence of a new class of affluent young professionals, managers and executives with bulge-bracket purchasing power is attracting ultra expensive watchmakers.

India’s luxury watch market, worth Rs 750 crore at present, is growing at 25-30% every year. No wonder, luxury goods maker LVMH Group’s Tag Heuer recently decided to shift focus to a more niche and high-end category. Brands like Timex and Titan, which have been traditionally chasing mass market, are trying to meet the new market dynamics by launching global luxury brands in India.

Says Swatch Group country manager G Kannan: “Global luxury brands recognise that India is no more a mere testing ground, but a lucrative market with explosive growth potential. Wrist watches have now become a style statement rather than just an instrument for time keeping.” Swiss-based Swatch Group owns some well-known brands such as Breguet, Blancpain, Omega, Longines, Rado and Tissot.

Already over 55 brands, including Rado, Omega, Breguet, Christian Dior, Tag Heuer, Corum and Franck Mueller are targeting professionals in the 30-45-years age group, besides wealthy businessmen. Luxury watch range starts from Rs 40,000 and goes up to Rs 1 lakh while the super-luxury watch category is available for upwards of Rs 1 lakh to a few crore rupees. And there are many in India who now feel it’s there time to invest in watches that cost upwards of six figure.

Recently, LVMH introduced its premium watch brand Grand Carrera in the country, which is priced Rs 1.4-2.5 lakh. It’s also planning to get its high-end luxury watch range Zenith into India that would be priced at Rs 2.5 lakh and above. “We believe more Indians would sport luxury watches in the coming years,” says LVMH Watch and Jewellery India GM Manishi Sanwal.

Similarly, Timex plans to introduce premium brands like Ferragamo, Versace and Valentino in the country. German luxury watch brand A Lange & Sohne, along with other competitive watch brands such as Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, JaegerleCoultre, are looking only at the upper crust with a price ranging between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 2.5 crore.

Currently, the group sells premium and luxury watches under Xylus and Nebula brands, respectively. Says Titan Industries COO Harish Bhat: “The upper middle class has a high disposable income, which, in turn, is responsible for a high growth in the premium segment.”

Tag Heuer Designer Luxury Watches At TheWatchery

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Speculation has run wild with the Tag Heuer brand ever since they announced their foray into the mobile phone market. When Tag Heuer’s promotional teaser promised a phone made of stainless steel that would be “similar to Tag Heuer watches” it inspired a number of mockups that sought to anticipate how all of the functionality of modern mobile phones—including texting and .mp3 capability—could fit into a standard Tag watch case.

The Dialaphone mockup became the most popular, and you can see why. The Dick Tracy imagery it evokes is undeniably compelling:

Unfortunately, the Tag Heuer cellphone is simply a cellphone, though a remarkably well-crafted one. The Tag Heuer Meridiist also comes with a significant price tag, with prices ranging between five and six thousand dollars. The Meridiist’s screen is made of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, just like their watches, and its case is crafted from watch-grade corrosion-resistant 316L stainless steel. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Meridiist is its battery life. Clocking seven full hours of talk time along with a stunning 28 days of reserve power, the Meridiist’s power supply is among the best that today’s cellular phone market has to offer.

However, the Meridiist is treading ground that the Nokia Vertu luxury cellphone line has already walked. That’s not to say that there’s not room for two in the luxury cellphone market, but we were hoping for a little bit more from the minds at Tag. Perhaps someday Tag Heuer will take up some of Dialaphone’s concept art to create a cellphone-wristwatch hybrid that would be truly revolutionary.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Democratic candidate Barak Obama’s sloganeering has led to a sales bonanza for marketing director Jack Goldberg. Obama’s oft-mentioned “Change” mantra led Goldberg to conceive of a “Time for Change” Obama wristwatch. We’re sure that a McCain wristwatch won’t be far behind, even if it won’t come from Goldberg’s company.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Omega has announced that it is the official timekeeper for Beijing's 2008 Olympic Games. Omega will use its prestigious brand to mark time for 28 different sports.

Omega has been involved with Olympic timekeeping since 1932.

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