Zeitwinkel Saint-Imier Switzerland



questions about Zeitwinkel

Zeitwinkel means „time angle“ in German. The time angle is used to calculate the "True Local Time", i.e. the time measured according to the sundial at a specific location. Naturally, the 12 o'clock point, the precise time at which a sundial indicates noon, varies from place to place within a time zone.

Furthermore, since the sun does not move at a uniform speed along the ecliptic, but faster in summer and slower in winter, the "mean solar day" has been introduced, which also serves as a basis for navigation.

We found it exciting to take up the challenge of "True Local Time" and name our brand in reference to the time angle.

Zeitwinkel started as a project of a group of friends and watch enthusiasts, who many years later are all still part of the team and the shareholders. The founders' spokespersons are Ivica Maksimovic and Peter Nikolaus.

Professor Maksimovic is a long-time watch enthusiast, holder of a professorship in communication design and a constant source of creative and unusual ideas.

Peter Nikolaus has been in haute horlogerie for many years and ensures that our ideas can be turned into reality.

One of the most important things our founders have in common is that they do not want to the focus on themselves, but on the products and their ideas of an honest, sustainable and positive watch brand. In addition to our shareholders, a growing circle of friends of the Zeitwinkel brand supports us with constructive feedback.

What was the motivation of the Zeitwinkel founders to develop a mechanical watch from the ground up?

The starting point for the birth of Zeitwinkel was the desire to create an honest and high-quality product that could connect watch enthusiasts with similar attitudes. It was to become a product and a brand that people could stand behind with pride, that would evolve and not hide behind superficial bling.

The only possible location for us was the traditional watchmaking region of the Swiss Jura between Biel and Geneva. We deliberately decided against a prestigious building in one of the big cities and instead moved into an empty factory building in St-Imier.

St-Imier is located in the canton of Bern at an altitude of 800 meters, about 15 km from La Chaux-de- Fonds. As early as the 19th century, the town flourished with the settlement of important companies in the watchmaking industry. In the 1970s, however, hundreds of jobs were irretrievably lost in St-Imier in the wake of the quartz crisis.

Nevertheless, the region still possesses great know-how in the manufacturing of high-quality mechanical timepieces. Today, St-Imier is characterized by companies that manufacture highly specialized components for the watch industry.

By locating in a former factory for watch dials, we want to contribute to preserving the tradition of watchmaking in St-Imier.

We could, of course, list quite a few disadvantages that result from the fact that we are not part of one of the large groups in this industry.

Instead, we focus entirely on the advantages of our independence. And first of all we see that we can realize our ideas of a high-quality and honest watch without compromises and do not have to take into consideration a central controlling or a marketing department.

Due to our small size, we can directly influence every step of product development, production, quality control and customer communication.

It is very likely that your e-mail to Zeitwinkel will end up directly with one of our founders. And that your suggestions will become the subject of lively discussions.

When we started to give the Zeitwinkel brand an image, we thought about the appropriate typeface very early on.

Eventually, we came to the decision to develop our own house font that would give our communication an unmistakable face. Our logo was also created from this Zeitwinkel typeface by isolating the characteristic "W" from the brand name and inverting it.

At the moment we are not planning an e-boutique or webshop for one simple reason:

Zeitwinkel was one of the first manufacturers of haute horlogerie watches to offer an e-boutique several years ago. Although this offer attracted interest, all but a few customers contacted us by email or phone shortly before the final "click".

Therefore, we have abolished the webshop some time ago and provide advice to clients in person, by phone, email or in video calls.



questions about our watches

We had a basic idea of what a Zeitwinkel watch should look like very early on. It became more concrete when we made the first drawings, which we then technically implemented together with a partner in Geneva.

Nevertheless, after these first steps, we worked together for more than half a year until we had a first computer simulation of the Zeitwinkel watches in our hands at the beginning of 2008.

The Zeitwinkel movements, the base movement caliber ZW0102 and the date movement caliber ZW0103, were developed in close cooperation with another partner in Le Locle, one of the strongholds of watch manufacturing in the Swiss Jura, even before the watches were designed.

After the basic development, the optimization took place in our manufacture in Saint-Imier, where we have continuously expanded both our expertise and our machinery over the years.

The components for a Zeitwinkel watch were developed independently and thus need to specially made - from the movement to the smallest case part.

We have the possibility to manufacture many parts ourselves in our manufactory in Saint-Imier and we do this for prototypes, special parts and selected components. For other components, we work with partners preferably from the Saint-Imier area.

Each Zeitwinkel movement is assembled by hand and, if necessary, disassembled again until all parts work together perfectly. It is then regulated in five positions and undergoes a test cycle.

Each Zeitwinkel watch is also built by hand in our workshop and checked several times before we hand it over to its new owner.

We believe that our watches speak for themselves and do not necessarily need a case made of gold or platinum to be considered "valuable".

Even though we have offered watch cases made of fairly mined gold in the past, we consider the consequences of gold mining for the environment and the local population to be too great.

The stainless steel alloy we use is ideally suited for the production of watch cases, as it is durable and provides optimal protection for the valuable movement. In addition, the focus on stainless steel cases allows us to offer our watches at a fair price and still exclusively use manufacture movements.

Will there be other model series? Of course we have countless ideas which we would like to realize. The main priority for us is always to create products that make sense and that result in a watch that is "typical Zeitwinkel".

So we probably won't design a chronograph in which the same movement ticks as in 80% of all chronographs available on the market. Although we really like this movement!

We have no plans to make Zeitwinkel watches exclusively for women - just as our existing models are not only worn by men.

In general, we never liked the idea of putting a flat quartz movement in a watch and having it decorated with a few precious stones. There are certainly enough such expensive "ladies' watches" on the market, but no Zeitwinkel customer has ever asked us for such a watch.

We offer different case diameters, not least because one of our founders has really slim wrists.