Monde et Montres...

Monde et Montres...

VICENTERRA, Another approach of time: Vincent Plomb's interview.

Last 9th of july, Vincent Plomb, VICENTERRA brand creator, received Monde et Montres for an interview... History, Present, Future, here is what has been said!

(Version francaise:  )

Monde et Montre: Vincent Hello! What was your route in watch-making world, before launching VICENTERRA?

Vincent Plomb:My first step on the horological route has been as an employee at a match-making engineer. It was during the 90's, I spent 3 years there, my job was to draw plans of parts. Then after that, I've been a moment without working in the watch-making world. Then I came back in 1999, when I've been hired by a watch box fabric, with a computer and Autocad, to make some draws, and then little by little, I made some technical boxes development, 2D and 3D. I spent 3 years in this society, and after that the society collapsed, so I became unemployed. During this period, I couldn't remain inactive, so I started for to make some sketches of some personnal models projects. During this period of unemployement, I also worked as free-lance on some projects, 8 monthes later, I officialised this activity in the development and building of watch boxes. In parallele, as soon as it was posible, I kept on working on my personnal projects.




M&M : What gave you the idea to create your own watch and brand?

V.P. : Well, I always had the idea in my mind to create something, not obviously in the watch-making world. And after the first projects i made, I told myself: "Push the thing further, go till the end of your ideas". Somebody gave me the impulsion to step forward, and work on first project that had nothing to see with Vicenterra, because at that time, there was no brand, it was more a creation process, and then search for custommers to exploit the project, but it lead to nothing serious. This was between 2005 and 2009, the time I took to realise the first two prototypes of the ideas I had.


M&M : And so the idea to launch your own brand and watch comes from this period, 2008?

V.P. : It was more around 2009. I was having at last enough material to launch something, but I had no financial means to do it. Then came the idea of a subscription, that came during a discussion with friend during a dinner. BUt, from the moment we raised the idea of the subscription until its launch, it took six monthes, six monthes of work to finish every detail, the design, find the brand, and proceed to all the required administrative processes.


M&M : To finalise the concept, so?

V.P. : Yes.


M&M : All of this lead us to the GMT-3 Tome1, which has been launched by subscription in 2010 if I remember well?

V.P. : April 2010.


M&M : What was the centrale idea of the concept?

V.P. : The central idea was to bring something between the caliber and the box, a kind of animation. Hence the earth, now the moon, and a little day-night retrograd sun that will integrate the third model of the brand.


M&M : And how did you reach the final design?

V.P. : For the moment, the Barrel shape is the most compliant with my complications, the final design has been realised in collaboration with Studio Divine, in Bienne.


M&M : Is there anything you would have wanted to put in the Tome1, and that you had to put away, or did you put inside evrything you wanted, keeping voluntarily some ideas aside?

V.P. : Yes, that's it! It was complicated enough to go on complex ideas for a so young brand! It is not only a three hands / Date, you have much more inside!


M&M : So no renouncement, it was willingly that you choose not to put too much, to be sure it was feasible?

V.P. : Just the GMT-3 concept was enough work load. Beside, I've already been asked why I started with such a complex project. The Eart implemantation had already been kind of improvisation, I had to find the ideas for its realisation.


M&M : That's the challenge, but it is the key point that made the thing work so well! wWithout the earth, I think you wouldn't have look different enough from the rest of the market!

V.P. : No... We are agree!


M&M : You must have spent some white night working on the project. What did you feel when you reached the needed amount of subscription to launch the realisation?

V.P. : It has its pleasant aspect to rach the needed amount to launch the project, but you have to rmain realistic and wise, and wait till the end of the project to appreciate all the road you have come along... and all the persons met on the road, the new acquaintances, on the customer side, but also on the supplier side, journalists, ... All sort of things that turn the project so interesting.


M&M : So the emotion was more when you delivered the last one!...

V.P. : Yes !




M&M : More technically speaking, you started on a ETA 2892 caliber and you added a module. Did you conceived everything on the module, or did you re-use something already existing on other devices?

V.P. : There are existing things which are rather classic.A GMT it always more or less the same thing... The difficulty in this GMT was it is rather far from the central point of the caliber. Then, all the rest, you have to conceive it! Same thing for the retrograd date: the specificity was the double Helix, and there again you have to find solutions tu use less space as possible. The day-night, it is nt very complex, just a simple gears adaptation, and it turns! The earth may look simple, but I had some difficulties, and many rubbish! Correction systems gave me also a lot of work.


M&M : OK. So to sum up, basics ideas were existing, but you had to redesign everything and the module is fully new.

V.P. : No revolution on the Technical and Horological point of view, but we had to design and imagine everything, let's say as any conceptor...


M&M : An additionnal module which has as much jewels as the movment... You are not far from making your own movment, finally!

V.P. : Yes (Smiling)... One day, may be! Let's see later!


M&M : How do you manage production and after-sale? Do you mount everything yourself? You pay an independant person, or a decicated society?

V.P. :The module is developed by Vicenterra, and I had to find all the suppliers, some of them à the last moment for the subscription, and they were not all presents when I started. Then, there are three independant watchmakers who work with Vicenterra to assemble the watches. The workshop that I have on my own is just for small retouch and controls, I am not a practicing watchmaker! To come back to the suppliers, the basic idea was to have for each part two or three potential suppliers. In 90% of the cases, it worked rather well. For after-sale, it comes back at my workshop, I check the problem, and I send it to my watchmakers who apply the corrections. But there are just a very few problems!


M&M : We have finished with the Tome1, we are going to carry on with the Tome2 of the GMT-3, which i esthetically speaking a success, but very different from the Tome1. Why did you choose to make such a difference between the two versions?

V.P. : Architecturally, the watch didn't change that much. But concerning the dial, hands, and some finishings of the box, we enhanced everything. More, with the Tome2, included you have a folding buckle and an alligator strap.




M&M : The style is very different regarding dial or other elements...

V.P. : I couldn't do the same dial and the same hands. The idea to work on a dial where the material is removed leaving in relief the inscriptions, I found it very interesting, and the result is generally estimated very beautiful by people loving watches! I really had to bring something more to penetrate the retaillers circuit, with a high-range product.


M&M : There is a desire to move apart from the Tome1, which was by subscription?

V.P. : Yes... and with this black dial with relief, it brings something more "technical". It is a wedding between technicity and a more "classy" render.


M&M : Now, we arrive to the Luna... You remove GMT, date becomes great date in a wicket, and you add the moon. And you replace the ETA movment by a Vaucher one. Did you have more difficulties compared to the GMT-3?

V.P. : The development which occupied most of my time has been the great date. Because you have many runnng patents on this kind of indication, and I had many constraints due to the link with the date-disk on the Vaucher movment. So it was a nice challenge to realise this great date.



M&M : And so another module entirely redesigned?

V.P. : Yes... What we have as a base, it is the gears to animate the earth, but this one raises its diameter of 1mm up to 7.5mm. For the moon, it was existing in the prototype realised between 2005 and 2008. The day-night is present in the GMT-3.


M&M : And again a selling by subscription? It is a model that was good for you the first time...

V.P. : Yes, the subscription worked well for someone unknown in the watch-making world. Now, it is pre-order. The price is not so attractive as during subscription for the GMT-3 Tome1. It is not the same product, it bears a Vaucher Manufacture movment, two spheric planets, and a rotor full-gold. Customers potentially interested give 2/3 a the command, and 1/3 before delivery. But obviously, before going through selling contract phase, there must be enough interest. This kind of project is also useful to make people talk about Vicenterra.



M&M : It is important also! We will finish, talking about the future... First the models to come. You must already have an idea about the future complications to come in next models... What can you tell us about that?

V.P. : I have some ideas, including a complication which has not been presented officialy, and there are others ideas in my mind, for example for the Luna: The Tome1 will only be with the definition proposed in pre-order, it is really an exceptionnal product. The Tome2 will arrive at retaillers after the Tome1, with a new function that will be GMT. Retaillers selling prices will adapted... The third model will have the retrograd sun to display day-night, function already existing in prototype.


M&M : And to finish, the future developemnt of Vicenterra? Company, Retaillers, ...

V.P. : Perspectives, we always have some. I am more in the mood to progress step by step, and not to hurry things. For the moment, I am still responsible for Vicenterra, and I believe that we musn't go too fast. We must take time to ensure the brand, and this you can't do it in five minutes. So I hope that within five years there will be five to ten collaborators, to promote and develop tha brand more and more far.


M&M : And concerning retaillers? You announced today your third retailler in Moncao. It is your third one in one year, after Yverdon and Kuala Lumpur! Soon a fourth one?

V.P. : We are going to proceed step by step.It is not very "marketting", let's say, considering the discussion I have with fellows, I prefer to remain a little backward than going to fast! One always says "Better to have to much work and demand". For the moment, I must take some precautions to ensure movments deliveries. And it wont be done alone! I have manage everything: coffee, deliveries, accountable, secretary, ... but also sometimes mechanical studies, submissions, etc!


M&M : Thank-you Vincent for receiving us for this interview!

V.P. : Thank You also, with pleasure!



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