BERLIN — German watchmaker Glashütte Original is renewing a forgotten company tradition with its newest product launch: the Pavonina women’s timepiece collection.
This story first appeared in the July 1, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 20-piece collection, which made its New York debut in late June following an unveiling at the Berlin Film Festival in February and at Baselworld in May, will hit retail doors this month. The collection marks the first full women’s line to be offered in decades by the 168-year-old Dresden, Germany-based watchmaker, a subsidiary of Swatch Group.
Named after the Latin word for peacock — pavoninus — the Pavonina collection borrows colors and forms from the opulent bird. There are straps in purple and teal satin, while the range’s most elaborate red gold and diamond decorated watch features a fanning peacock tail of 98 hand-set diamonds on its mocha or mother of pearl-colored Colorit dial.
Set to retail between 3,900 and 32,000 euros, or about $5,113 to $41,957 at current exchange, the collection features strong commercial as well as stylistic links to the Twenties and Sixties. Until the mid-Twenties, Glashütte produced only pocket watches, primarily for men, but as women began to adopt the newly conceived wristwatch, the brand established a ladies’ wristwatch tradition many years before getting into men’s wristwatches. In fact, as Yann Gamard, a Swatch management board member responsible for northern Europe, remarked, “The majority of watches sold in our [Glashütte Original’s] history were women’s wristwatches.”
The cushion-shaped case of the new Pavonina collection harks back to the Twenties, the design team now integrating flexible lugs in the case to let it shape around the wrist. This somewhat squared oval form fashioned in stainless steel, bicolored 18-karat red gold and stainless steel or 750/000 red gold further repeats in the link bracelet models.
Both the case and link shapes have a late-Sixties and Seventies flair, which was also an important women’s watch era for Glashütte. The brand expanded its women’s products in the Sixties and Seventies, and with its quartz movements, was the first former East German company to export to the West. As the focus shifted to more complicated movements and thus bigger houses, women’s models got lost in the shuffle, especially after the brand’s relaunch following German reunification, and its acquisition by Swatch in 2000.
Glashütte is the group’s third-largest prestige brand, according to Gamard, who declined to reveal sales volume. Industry sources placed the brand’s sales at more than 100 million euros, or about $131.1 million. Gamard said Glashütte “hopes to increase volume by another 25 percent” through the introduction of Pavonina. “But the biggest problem right now is production capacity,” he added. “Glashütte’s sales have been going well.”
The launch in Europe and the U.S. will be followed by a second phase rollout in Asia at the end of 2013. Gamard noted the essential design of the range makes future line extensions an open option. In the U.S., he added, Pavonina will be targeted at 30 of America’s top high-end doors, such as Tourbillon Boutique. Special events in each launch country will support a print campaign.