THE LATEST FILM IS OUT. THE TRAILER.

At the end of last year I used the metaphor of a film each of us will create in 2017. Well, mine contains a lot of remarkable scenes and moments.

Most people say that time flies. Does it really? Maybe retrospectively it looks like this but if you are in the middle of something it does not feel like this. At least not to me.

Maybe I look at it differently because my days are very different from each other which creates a lot of memories? Or I just did not really grow up and have the same relationship towards time I had when I was five? Well, I have no real answer to this.

Decisions

What I know for a fact is that 2017 was a very interesting year. I met some amazing people, took some serious decisions; some were pleasant others not so much.

One decision is that I will seize writing on Leadership & Leadership since I am setting out on a new quest which is big fun and very time-consuming.

For the time being I will only tell you that it meets my hedonism and my need for beauty and style.

I promise to send a newsletter to all my current subscribers as soon as I have something real to tell. And it will include a video. That’s a promise. Please bear with me for some weeks.

Meanwhile I wish you a merry Christmas and a wonderful start into 2018.

Season’s Greetings!

A NIGHT IN THE WORLD OF FRAGRANCES AND WHY COFFEE IS SO VITAL.

Some weeks ago I promised you a feedback about an event hosted by a leading perfumery in Zurich.

The Venue

The so called “scent night” was hosted in a château-like villa that was originally built for a wealthy family around 1910 and which is now used for a variety of events.

The event took place on a really sunny and warm day and one could enjoy the view and the park that surrounds the villa.

Exquisite refreshments were served to the audience. Some perfumers attended the event and explained the concept behind their products. The latter might be the reasons why some women were wearing stilettos without any training and with even less elegance completing their look with an excessive make-up.

Lengling Perfumes

Although the name sounds very oriental Mr and Mrs Lengling are from the German city of Munich. Their perfume is definitely not a mass product but the company is an exclusive rather small manufacture.

Mrs Lengling explained to us that she always liked to paint and when creating a new scent she is inspired by the images she paints from memories of special moments.

The brand is quite young and at the moment they have 8 different creations.

The thing that I remember best is the cap of the bottles. It is an exact copy of a real pebble-stone from the river Isar that flows through Munich.

Vilhelm

New York is the home of the Perfumerie Vilhelm. Also these fragrances are based on the founder’s (Jan Ahlgren) memories. The same goes for the name itself. Vilhelm was Jan’s grandfather. The bottles are very modern and I much appreciate Vilhelm’s signature colour: yellow.

At the moment my favourite scent is called “Basilico & Fellini” and – at least according to my nose – it is full of summer and freshly mown grass.

Roja Dove

Mr Dove was of course the star of the evening. The maestro worked many years for the House of Guerlin before setting up his own shop. Just for the record; he has a shop in Harrods London.

Since I know many of his fragrances – out of his collection “Danger” is my preferred scent – and a lot of people surrounded him I did not test more perfumes but instead marvelled at the master perfumer’s exquisite attire.

Apart from an extravagant blue blazer made of a material which looked like brocade with a baroque pattern he wore striking shoes. (Yes, you know that I am crazy for shoes). I am not entirely sure about the material; it looked like black velvet but I am absolutely sure about the decoration. The shoes were star-studded. Just that the “stars” were crystals.

Mr Dove does not create a brand. He IS a brand.

Montale Paris

The founder Pierre Montale has a proclivity for the Orient. The House Montale offers more than 80 fragrances; traditional, yet modern.

The bottles are most striking. They are made of aluminium, reminding of hairspray and bearing an unbeatable advantage: the content never changes since it is protected from light and other environmental conditions.

The Longing for Coffee Beans

I am sure you can picture how many different fragrances my nose had been exposed to at this state. It was more or less unconscious. How to give it a quick recovery? Well, coffee beans are magic not only for espresso but also to neutralize scents and to give your nose a break. Unfortunately among all this luxury coffee had been forgotten.

Although this prevented me from testing the other scents too I very much enjoyed the event and learned a lot of interesting facts about the art of perfume creation.

Style Made In Saint Louis

2015-25-jord
Today I am writing about a watch. Nothing special for a Swiss; especially not for a hedonist like me that sometimes just has to get away from all that “useful” stuff.

An International Product

The watch I am going to write about is almost everything but Swiss. On its back-side there is a kind of birth certificate that states:

“JORD. Born in Saint Louis”

While born in Saint Louis the watch is a very modern and therefore a very international product, given the Cherry Wood the case and the strap are made of is from China, the movement has been fabricated in Japan and the crystals around the face are from the renowned factory of Swarowksi, which adds Austria to the family tree. I don’t know the origin of the mother pearl but it makes a good addition.

Woodwatches by JORD

Much to my honour I was asked by the social media manager of JORD to write a product review about a model of their collection. My first thought of course was that it was quite ballsy asking a Swiss to write on watches or chocolate since we are so proud of the local products.

2015-25-jord2

When I looked at the watches I decided that it was time to try something new because these time pieces are very original. And they have so many models that it is not so easy to decide which one to choose. Please see for yourself:

Watch Gift Ideas

JORD immediately shipped my preferred model that arrived some days ago and has seen large parts of Switzerland already.

You will tell me it is huge. Yes, it is but at the same time it is – much unlike my handbag – almost weightless which makes it very comfortable to wear.

Since a picture is more than a thousand words I added some illustrations.

Thanks

Thanks to my two friends Silvia and Jasmin who shared the fun with me and did quite some photo shooting in Zurich and Lucerne. It is not so easy to model a watch and even less to take pictures with someone who can hardly stand still for longer than ten seconds.

Also, I thank Paul Saitta to take the time to read through my articles and to contact me for writing one on JORD and sending me such a stylish object.

Style. Just in Time.

042015

In this week’s post I am going to indulge my hedonism and hope you join me. As you might know I am crazy for stylish articles; no matter if it is about architecture and furniture, fashion, art or jewellery.

Today we will talk about one of the most stylish traditions Switzerland has to offer: Watches.

I came up with this idea because form January 19 to January 23 the crème de la crème of the watchmakers organises an exhibition called “Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie” in Geneva.

If you take a look at the fancy brands you will see that the notion “international” is justified since the manufacturers come from various countries.


The Best Swiss Chocolate.Seriously! Order Here.


However, a significant number of these top notch timepieces are produced in Switzerland and almost all of them have French names.

History

These French names are neither coincidence nor are they made up for PR reasons. People started measuring time by means of mechanical instruments in the 14th century. At that point Switzerland had not much to contribute to this new industry sector. Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain and Holland were the forerunners. In these countries the aristocrats wanted timepieces as treasures while the Navy needed precision instruments to navigate.

From France to Switzerland

In the 16th century the protestant reformation started and cleaved the Church in two. Catholics and Protestants were fighting each other. In France the Protestants were called Huguenots and they were hunted and executed since this movement was illegal in France.

Therefore many of them fled France and settled in the Calvinistic and rather liberal city of Geneva. Along with them came the know-how of manufacturing portable timepieces. This was a perfect match since Geneva was a stronghold of goldsmithery.

A new industry started flourishing in Geneva between 1770 and 1786 while the watchmakers and goldsmith developed new knowledge. The watches were sought for even in the Orient and in America.

One of the oldest – if not the oldest – manufacturer is Vacheron Constantin. The face of their watches still bears the Huguenot cross.

Facing Crises

The watch sector suffered its first crisis in 1786 when France annexed Geneva for several years. The city was admitted to the Swiss confederation after the Napoleonic war in 1814. The watchmaker’s industry took up again and spread all over the French speaking part of Switzerland.

Of course the competitors in other countries did not sleep and more crises should follow and being mastered.

Some manufacturers even had to shut down. I once wrote an article about Du Bois & Fils who successfully reopened their doors by means of a very clever strategy and quite some entrepreneurship.

Bottom Line

Looking at the watch industry it seems to me that we can draw some conclusions:

  1. Tolerance is a useful business model; even if you don’t know it from the start
  2. Using synergies is not as new as we tend to think, but still useful
  3. Given the amount of watches sold world-wide there must be a lot of collectors out there

As for the “Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie” one needs an invitation to get to see it. If you know how to get one just tell me, ok?
gift

Watches From Space

werenbach

Did you know that 90% of a space shuttle is made of aluminum? Well, I didn’t. But if you come to think of it it is logical since this material is very light and still stable which is certainly an important requirement for aerospace.

Some days ago I visited a design fair in Zurich. There were a lot of things to discover and many of them are really beautiful items.

You probably wonder what aerospace and a design fair have in common.

The answer is: “Nothing but a lot; at least in (literally!) some cases.”

One watchmaker came up with the innovation of recycling the steel and aluminum of rocket parts; the booster shell of the Russian Soyuz rocket to be precise. According to the watchmaker’s website Soyuz is still the most used rocket world-wide.

Given the size of these watches – I guess they are primarily designed for men – one would expect them to we very heavy. Once you hold them in your hand you realize that this is an optical illusion.

The ones of aluminum are really light while the models with steel cases (of course as well of rocket origin) feel very solid.

My concept of rocket-science just became slightly more stylish.

Bulgari

bulgari

Bulgari is a world-wide renowned brand. The enterprise sells jewellery, watches, perfume, leather goods and even possesses hotels.

Legend has it, that “Bulgari” was the only Italian word Elizabeth Taylor knew.

Sotiros Voulgaris

However, the company was founded by the Greek goldsmith Sotiros Voulgaris. He set up his first shop in a Greek village and moved to the island of Corfu in1877 from where he should soon go on to Naples. Only in 1881 he arrived in Rome.

As it seems Mr Voulgais himself believed in diversity. Being a goldsmith he not only opened several jewellery shops but also antique shops. One of the jewellery stores was in the Via Sistina, in the centre of Rome.

In 1905 Sotiros supported by his two sons Costantino and Giorgio moved into his flagship store in the famous Via Condotti (Bulgari owns number 10). This place is famous, fancy and expensive. By expensive I mean that it is no problem to spend an average yearly income (or more) within a few minutes.

Only after 1910 Bulgari specialized in jewellery, inspired by the Parisian and the American styles.

Sotiros passed away in 1934 and his sons managed the enterprise. They enlarged the store in the Via Condotti in the very same year.

Cinecittà

The 1950ies and 60ies were the heyday of Italian’s cinema history. On the sets of the so called Cinecittà (movie city) high calibre movie stars were filming. Many of them seemed to spend quite some time and money on Bulgari.

Stars like Sophia Loren, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable and Audrey Hepburn went in and out at Bulgari’s. If I am not mistaken the very favourite client was Elizabeth Taylor.

Serpenti

You might remember my article about Cartier and their iconic “La Panthère” (leopard). Bulgari choose the snake as their trademark as the symbol of wisdom, life and eternity.

Since one snake is not enough for a brand like Bulgari they use the emblem in the plural: “Serpenti”, meaning snakes. Apparently, the snakes served them well as they keep on growing their business.

Elizabeth Taylor’s Collection of Bulgari

How About Design?

2014-45

People who know me know as well that I am very much into design and beautiful things. If I have the choice between extremely handy and not totally unpractical but stylish I go for the latter.

Having said this you will not be surprised that I recently visited an exhibition “100 Years of Swiss Design”. Of course I saw many items I know the designer or the manufacturer but I discovered something very surprising:

“The best design is the one you don’t know it is design at all. It speaks for itself. – Brigitte Kobi

Branding

Certainly you noticed that there are some brands that became synonyms of an entire group of articles. Let’s have a look at some examples.


Book Air Berlin


Are you looking for adhesive tape? If you are a native German speaker you will search for “Tesa” while the Anglo-Saxons will ask for “Scotch”. And you will be looking for Scotch or Tesa even if you are using a no-name product with the same function. Most probably you are not vacuum-cleaning but “hoovering”, although Hoover Inc. seized to exist in 1999.

Not many brands or “brand-less products” make it to the top of the top and manage to stay there. But they make good examples why brands are real values and that they represent a product.

Design But No Designer

Really, I know quite some designers and normally can distinguish their products. Let’s say Arne Jacobsen and Le Corbusier both designed furniture. But since each of them had a different style one can tell them apart. There brands consist of a name and the product.

On the other hand some articles remain the same for ages, are used daily and nobody thinks of them as of design products. (Of course everything has been designed somehow. For many items functionality has top priority.)

But in fact they are and their design is so apt for the product’s purpose that it had never been changed. Examples? Please have a look at the picture below.

examples2014-45

Why is Branding Important

The year 2008 was not very “economy-friendly”. But as strange as it seems to be the market segment of luxury goods recovered quickly and has been steadily growing since. Luxury watches, jewellery and clothes are sold world-wide. They have the savoir-faire of skilled manufacturers which of course is attractive for designers that can improve their own reputation while working for the top brands.

In other words: A brand is not just a name, it is a quality product with a famous name. Even a luxury article is an object of daily use; just a more attractive one.

Timeless

timeless

At this moment I have so much going on that I literally feel timeless.

Talking about time(less) leads me directly to chronometry and (what else?) watches. Switzerland is definitely famous for mountains, cheese, chocolate and watches.

Apparently the oldest watch manufacturer is the company DuBois et fils (DuBois and son) who is located in LeLocle, a small Swiss town that is famous for its watch industry. The factory originally opened its doors in 1785. Given the Swiss watch industry endured quite some hardships the manufacturer had to shut down some years ago. But not for long.

Revival

A very courageous watch-maker not only had 30 years of experience but as well the vision to revive this historic manufacture. The banks were not prepared to run the risk and to fund this endeavour. But this gentlemen seems not the type who gives in easily. In 2012 he had the idea of crowd-funding since he was convinced that there must be a lot of watch-lovers out there. It turned out that he was right and he collected the required 1.5 Million Swiss Francs in about 5 months and since about a year ago the latest collection is in place.

According to the company’s website the demand for shares has sharply increased so if you want to own a part of a Swiss watch manufacture you can still sign up.

I am quite impressed by this amount of entrepreneurial spirit.

 

P.S. the Company who claims to be the first to create wrist-watches is French; Cartier, to be precise. Given the value of their timepieces they describe them as “timeless”. However, I believe that they function well.

Source: Swiss Watch Makers

A Knight for A Shoe

jimmy-choo

I guess when you read the title you had no clue what I am talking about.

Jimmy Choo was born to a family of shoemakers in Malaysia. Reportedly he manufactured his first pair of shoes in the tender age of 11. I daresay he is a natural.

He studied at the College of Fashion in London started his remarkable career at the Swiss shoe manufacturer Bally.

But soon he should specialize in custom-made shoes and opened his first boutique in London. If you ask me he specialized in sky-high heels.

From Heels To Honour

His most famous client at that time was Princess Diana.

In 1996 he started a cooperation with Tamara Mellon, the former accessories editor of the British Vogue magazine and two years later they opened the first shop in New York.

In 2001 Mr. Choo stepped back form his own company and is now working on different projects.

Nowadays many celebrities wear Jimmy Choo but only one of them had a mother-in-law who had the power to knight a shoe-maker.

Of course we are talking of Lady Di (former Princess of Wales) and Queen Elizabeth II. The latter ennobled Mr. Choo with the Order of the British Empire.

As for me I cannot knight anybody but I will keep wearing high heels in honour of the shoe manufacturing tradition.

Shoes for Divas

Image Credits

The images belong to the company “Jimmy Choo“. I only compiled them.

Very Dry

very-dry

While we cooled it last week we will work on drying today.

A hair-dryer is something found in probably about 95% of all households in the Western world. At least this is my guess.

Before the Hair-Dryer

In the 1880is Europe had a phase where people developed new ideas about healthy food and hygiene. The latter resulted in public baths in cities because bathrooms where not the average standard in private homes. I guess that the inventions of hair-dryers did not fall in the same period by accident.

I read that before the invention of the hair-dryer women and men dried their hair with a vacuum cleaner. Honestly, I think this is complete nonsense because long hair would simply be taken into the device. On the other hand the idea that the inspiration for a hair-dryer came from the vacuum cleaner sounds convincing to me.

The Invention of the Hair-Dryer

However, the first hair-dryer was invented and patented by the French Alexandre Godefoy in 1890 for his salon in Paris.

godfoy

Plastic Domes

Only ten years later hair-dryers were produced in series. The German company AEG produced them in 1900. But these were hair hood dryers with a plastic dome to fit over a person’s head.

Handheld

As form 1915 the first handheld models appeared but they were quite heavy since they were made of metal (please see top image at the right side). But given the lady’s hair began to fell around 1910 hair-dryers became more important and remained a common tool ever since.