Patrick Jaton is the new CEO of Emile Chouriet. He agreed to take part in a joint interview with the founder of the brand, Jean Depéry. The latter created Emile Chouriet in 1997, naming it after a 17th century watchmaker to whom his ancestor, François Dagobert Depéry, supplied watch parts.
Why did you create the brand in Emile Chouriet’s name and not after your own forebear?
Emile Chouriet was a Master Watchmaker, a well-known Geneva enameller and François Dagobert Depéry supplied him with watchmaking parts. Through him, we also pay tribute to François Dagobert Depéry.
Do you still have original Emile Chouriet pieces in your collection?
We have an enamelled case that was in fact presented at Baselworld. We still have a great deal of historical research to do in order to find all the documents relating to Emile Chouriet’s history.
How would you imagine his works today in the 21st century?
In the 17th century, Emile Chouriet was already a trailblazer. I can well imagine that anything he were to present today would be filled with creativity and technology.
Emile Chouriet was French. Is that an element that means a lot to you?
No, not especially, in the sense that many French people came to Geneva at that time to find work because it was a trading town. Emile Chouriet found fertile ground in Geneva for practising his art and the Emile Chouriet brand has therefore been rooted in Geneva for centuries.
What future do you see for complicated pieces, such as the Wisdom, the minute-repeater that you have already produced?
We had a great time in crafting these unique models. They represent our watchmaking expertise and thus important within our collection. Nonetheless, our key focus remains on small complications such as the Moonphase and the Catch The Moon, although we naturally feel free to create other key pieces of this kind.
You’ve recently developed two in-house calibres. How are they being rolled out within your collections?
It’s a bit early to tell. We should be able to give a clearer picture by the end of the year.
You personally had a great deal of experience in the development of electro-mechanical calibres before devoting yourself to your own Manufacture. What is your opinion of smartwatches ?
Jean Depéry: As a technician, I think that the connected watch may run into problems in terms of autonomy, a prohibitive issue for a watch. According to an article I read, it appears that the connected watch would in fact be capable of offering far greater autonomy than is currently the case by capitalising on the watchmaking experience of its manufacturers.
Patrick Jaton: To round off Jean’s response, I don’t think the smartwatch will replace the mechanical watch. They will be obsolete after two years. A mechanical watch will always be repairable, whereas a connected watch will not. I think there is a place on the market for the latter, but the smartwatch will only strengthen the status of the mechanical watch as a truly valuable object.
Despite your desire to increase your points of sale outside China, the latter remains a key market for you, but one that is shrinking somewhat overall. How did 2014 end for you?
We did not record a loss as significant as that experienced by other brands. We withstood the crisis. For the next few years, we intend to continue developing the Chinese market. At the end of the year, we will be represented in 360 stores on the Chinese market, which also includes Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. Of course, we also wish to increase our presence in the Swiss and European markets.
What might we see at Baselworld in a few weeks?
You are cordially invited to visit our booth to find out! We are keeping the scoop for the opening of Baselworld.