Zeitwinkel?s zeitgeist: An interview with Zeitwinkel CEO Peter Nikolaus
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  1. #1
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    Zeitwinkel’s zeitgeist: An interview with Zeitwinkel CEO Peter Nikolaus

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    As Swiss brand Zeitwinkel themselves admit, their watches cannot appreciate a simple slice of bread and butter, or promote an inter-cultural dialogue between the North/South divide, but they do make honest to goodness Swiss made watches, favouring quality of manufacture over the heavy marketing hype favoured by many of the major brands. Established in 2006, Zeitwinkel has started to be noticed and appreciated by those who like their watches to be honest, high quality and sufficiently ‘haute horology’ to appreciate the intricacies of an in-house movement. We spoke with Zeitwinkel CEO Peter Nikolaus about his company’s timeless and enduring approach to watchmaking.

    1) Some of our readers have already discovered Zeitwinkel, but for the benefit of those who have not, please tell us about how and when Zeitwinkel started

    PN: We had the idea to launch a new watch quite a long time ago and it was in 2006 that we started to work on our own movement. We created two movements the ZW0102 and ZW013, after four long years of development and testing. These were presented in our first collection at Baselworld in 2010.

    2) It seems in your watch descriptions you like to show a sense of humour, which is unusual for a Swiss brand. Have your customers reacted well to this?

    PN: ‘Haute Horlogerie’ watchmaking is serious endeavour, but we like to handle it in our own way by being open and providing a friendly working environment for the benefit of our small team. We want our customers to feel this culture when buying and wearing our watches. Our Zeitwinkel fans appreciate the simple and honest way we respond to them and they view us differently from the marketing infused corporate image exhibited by the major brands.

    3) Who are the key people behind Zeitwinkel?

    PN: Each Zeitwinkel team member is key for the development of our brand. From the CEO to the Watchmaker, everyone has his or her specific knowledge and can develop ideas that improve our products and help us attain our goals.

    4) Peter, as Zeitwinkel founder, did you work for any of the major Swiss watch brands prior to establishing the manufacture?

    PN: I have worked in the watch industry for many years and I have good knowledge of the production and distribution processes.

    5) Who would you say Zeitwinkel’s key competitors are in the watch market?

    PN: It is quite difficult to name key competitors in the watch market as the big brands have so many different collections, there will inevitably be some watches that compete with ours. At the same time, we didn’t really think about which brands we wanted to compete with. From the beginning we wanted to create a watch that represents credibility, endurance and optimism. That’s why we started by creating a reliable movement and created a sleek and timeless design for our watches.

    6) Please outline the key points of difference for a Zeitwinkel watch versus other similarly priced brands

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    PN: First of all, we created our very own movement, working on it for four years before presenting it in our first collection. We strived to produce every piece of our watches around St-Imier in Switzerland; only our watchcase is manufactured in Germany due to a quicker delivery than we could find in Switzerland. Moreover, we achieved this whilst attaining an excellent price/quality ratio. We decided to put more into the watch and a little bit less in the marketing to be able to offer a perfect product to our customers at the right price.

    We believe that we do not need to follow the trends by producing new models every six months but to produce high quality products with a timeless design. We are very attentive to our customer needs and seek to provide the best service to our customers. We have several service centres on several continents including: Germany, USA, Japan and China.

    7) Please explain your beliefs about how a Swiss watch should be truly Swiss

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    PN: For us, to be truly Swiss means that the parts of our watches, beside the case as previously mentioned, are produced in our workshop or with our partners around St-Imier. We believe that we don’t need to travel 15 hours by plane to find the right partners to produce our watches at a reasonable price. In this way, we do not have to worry about percentages necessary to state 'Swiss Made". We like to name it ‘Real Swiss Made’

    8) What is your best selling model?

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    PN: Our range includes elegant two and three hand models to our bestseller, model 273°, featuring a big Date and a Power reserve indication.

    9) What is the meaning behind your logo design?

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    PN: First let’s explain the name. Zeitwinkel, takes its name from two German words, “Zeit” which means “time” and “Winkel” meaning “angle”, hence translated from German into English, the brand means “timeangle”. This alludes to the local time expressed at a specific location on a sundial at noon. We also decided to create our own house font that gives our communication a distinctive appearance. From this font, we took the characteristic W from the brand name and inverted it.

    10) What are the medium to long terms plans for Zeitwinkel?

    PN: Our plans are to continue the development of the brand following the right path. Not too fast nor too slow, just taking our own course within the industry. One of our major tasks now is to increase our presence in the different markets. It is not easy, as the retailers have a lot of pressure from the big groups and are a little fearful to invest in new brands. To counteract these problems we have our own web shop to be able to serve our customers if they do not have an official retailer around the corner. We are currently launching, what we name ‘Meeting Points’ in some European countries where we can meet clients by appointment. We are also working on some new products but for that you will have to wait a little more time to learn what we have planned.

    Peter, thank you very much for talking to us

    Movement picture courtesy of horlogeriesuisse.com

    Visit the Zeitwinkel website

    Last edited by Michael Weare; August 30th, 2013 at 04:15.
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  2. #2
    Administrator CMSgt Bo's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    The Blue Ridge Mountains of NC

    Re: Zeitwinkel’s zeitgeist: An interview with Zeitwinkel CEO Peter Nikolaus

    Great interview Michael! I have known Peter Nikolaus for quite a few years and feel you've captured his passion and infectious enthusiasm for haute horlogerie perfectly. I look forward to watching Zeitwinkel continue to grow and gain much deserved recognition among the WIS community.

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