What does »Zeitwinkel« mean?
The »Zeitwinkel« (time angle) is used to calculate »true local time«, i.e. the time that is measured at a specific location according to a sundial. The 12 o'clock point, i.e. the precise point in time at which a sundial shows that it is noon, varies naturally from place to place within a time zone. In addition, since the sun does not move at uniform speed on the ecliptic, but rather faster in summer and slower in winter, the »mean solar day« was introduced; this also serves as a basis for navigation.
We were excited about taking on the challenge of »true local time« and to name our brand based on the »Zeitwinkel«.
Who are the Zeitwinkel founders?
Spokesmen for the Zeitwinkel founders are Ivica Maksimovic and Peter Nikolaus. Professor Maksimovic is a long-time watch enthusiast and professor for communication design, and a guarantee for creative and innovative solutions. Peter Nikolaus has been active in the Haute-Horology branch for many years and is responsible for turning our ideas into reality. One of the most important ideas the two have in common is the desire to put the main emphasis not on themselves, but on the product and their vision to create an honest, enduring and positive brand.
The investors themselves - all of them private persons - supply important advice and know-how in such diverse fields as company management, environmental technology and design, and they share our enthusiasm for high-quality mechanical time pieces. In addition, Zeitwinkel's growing circle of friends supplies us with important feedback. They enjoy challenging things that have “always been done that way” in the Haute-Horology but at first glance don't really seem logical.
What was the founders' motivation to build a mechanical watch from the ground up?
We have to admit that nobody needs another mechanical watch that informs them of the time.
The origin of Zeitwinkel's birth was the desire to produce an honest, high-quality product that links people with similar attitudes toward life. It is intended to become a product and a brand that we can proudly stand behind, that will continue to develop, and that will not have to hide behind superficial illusions. In other words, it puts the focus more on »existence« than on »appearance«.
Nevertheless, we naturally receive a lot of questions and sometimes even incomprehension when we talk about Zeitwinkel. Under these circumstances, we have no problem admitting that we have decided on a path that requires some explanation. Fortunately, mechanical timepieces have a great deal of fascination, even for people who are supposedly well-informed; as a result, we are often able to gain new fans for the brand in our conversations…
How can the Zeitwinkel founder's intentions be described?
The founders wanted to give the Zeitwinkel brand three important characteristics:
Zeitwinkel should be credible in every aspect. Naturally, this refers in particular to the product, where we have decided to create our own manufacture mechanism and to work only with Swiss partners and suppliers, as well as a few selected ones in Germany – after all, we are able to write Swiss Made on our watches. The presentation of the Zeitwinkel brand should also be credible. Therefore, you won't find any supposed 200-year tradition, opulent company buildings, sports equipment or actors at Zeitwinkel. We prefer to put our trust in means of advertising that cannot be obtained with money: Customers who share our enthusiasm for credible timepieces that are high-quality in terms of technology and craftsmanship.
Although the term »endurance« has been subjected to a lot of abuse in the past, we believe that a forward-looking attitude, the consideration of consequences and an economical use of resources are goals worth striving for. Even though the potential optimization for manufacturing watches is relatively low, these goals can serve as symbols and reminders for their owners.
As its founders, Zeitwinkel excites us if only for the reason that a mechanical watch expresses endurance and longevity in an ideal manner. Naturally, our customers will not save the world thanks to their Zeitwinkel watches. But in the end, the watches are a sign that their owners can make very sensible decisions.
While busy with the development of our watches over the last few years, we have had many conversations about whether a new watch brand made sense or not. We received the most interesting proposals, as well as a great deal of positive feedback, from people who apply themselves in their area of specialty with their knowledge, lots of commitment and a great deal of enthusiasm in order to attain real improvements. These deeds often remain hidden from the public as a whole, but this appears to have little effect on the perseverance of these men and women.
It always makes us happy when we can personally present a customer with his new Zeitwinkel watch or when we get into a conversation with people interested in Zeitwinkel. We usually find that a person who appears to be more on the reserved side often has very interesting thoughts and a lot of knowledge to be discovered and, in many cases, infectious optimism and a great deal of commitment.
What advantages and disadvantages result from Zeitwinkel's independence from corporate affiliation?
Of course, we could list lots of disadvantages that result from the fact that we are not one of the large enterprises in this branch. For example, we can note that acceptance among jewelers who satisfy our requirements is not always very easy.
However, we concentrate totally on the advantages of our independence. And this is where we view ourselves as being top-notch, because we can make our concepts of a high-quality, credible watch reality without having to compromise, and without having to take a central controlling department or our marketing section into account. And it goes without saying that, due to the reasonably small size of our company, we have a very direct influence on every step in product development, production, quality control and customer communication. For example, it can happen that your email to us lands directly on the table of one of our founders. And that your proposals are the subject of lively discussion during the next lunch break.
What famous personalities advertise for Zeitwinkel?
Early on, we decided not to pay any celebrities to say that he or she thinks that our watches are great. Although this may isolate us somewhat in a branch where glitzy advertising with celebrities often makes up a majority of the market, it agrees very well with our self-esteem and our budget.
However, we can console you: The more people we get to know who are interested in Zeitwinkel, the more we can confirm that you are in good company. Sooner or later, more well-known people will certainly share our enthusiasm for Zeitwinkel watches and tell other people about them. Without, by the way, having to say that they now own watches from only a single manufacturer…
How was the Zeitwinkel logo created?
Many things that we want to say about Zeitwinkel and our products are relatively text-intensive, requiring explanations using more than just a few key words. When we started to prepare an appearance for the Zeitwinkel brand, therefore, we thought about a suitable font starting very early on.
As a result, we decided to develop our own house font that gives our communications a distinctive appearance. Unfortunately, for technical reasons we can only use the »Zeitwinkel« font in a limited manner on the Internet. However, we use only this font in all other communications. Let us know if you'd like us to send you a nice letter!
Our logo was also created using the Zeitwinkel house font: we took the characteristic »W« from the brand name and inverted it.
Why has Zeitwinkel set up shop in St.-Imier?
For us, the traditional watchmaking region in the Jura area of Switzerland, between Biel and Geneva, was the only possibility. In the end, we consciously decided against representative premises in one of the large cities, so we moved into an empty factory building in St.-Imier.
St.-Imier lies in the canton Bern at an elevation of 800 meters, approximately 15 km away from La Chaux-de-Fonds. As early as in the 19th century, the town blossomed when important watchmaking companies settled here. In the 1970s, however, hundreds of jobs in St. Imier were lost forever as a result of the quartz crisis.
Nevertheless, the region still has a great deal of know-how in the area of producing high-quality mechanical timepieces. Today, St.-Imier is shaped by companies that produce highly specialized components for the watch industry. We hope that our settling in a former factory for watch dials will play a role in keeping the tradition of watchmaking alive in St.-Imier.