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Feb / Mar 2018
All Clear

WRITER: Nadia Michel & Tamara Mosly

Until we came across them at Rubaiyat in Jeddah, we hadn’t even heard of Quinting watches. But that’s the point apparently.

Imagine a watch complication so transparent it is invisible. The idea is somewhat reminiscent of a Hans Christian Andersen tale, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, in which two weavers claim the suit they have created for the king is only invisible to those who are dim-witted. Except in this case, it is the reverse, because, those who appreciate Quinting watches’ magical transparency are of the highly intelligent type – think Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and Ukraine’s former First Lady and former special assistant to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Kateryna Yushchenko.

 

 

The timepieces are not invisible per se, but they do have the world’s only transparent complicated movements, made of clear sapphire instead of the usual metal (which, due to the stone’s inelasticity, requires absolute precision). “It has been a dream for all watchmakers to create a movement where you only see the hands. It took five Swiss engineers – three watchmakers, one from the car industry and myself, an R&D engineer – seven years and 15 million Euros to create the first prototype,” explains Quinting CEO, Pascal Berclaz during a recent trip he made to Jeddah. The dream finally became a reality in 1993, thanks to a group of investors that included Gerard Depardieu. But the brand has remained somewhat unknown, thriving under the radar; imperceptible even to those of us who are supposedly watch-savvy and involved in the horology industry. So if this were in fact an upside down version of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, I guess that would mean the joke is on us.

That can’t be said of Sheikh Abdullah Bingazr, though. The owner and CEO of Rubaiyat Modern Luxury Company instantly saw Quinting’s appeal. As Berclaz recalls. ”When I met Sheikh Abdullah, he was sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Basel, Switzerland. He sat next to me, and I had no idea who he was. You don’t know why sometimes you meet people and it’s more than just a good feeling, it’s chemistry.”

 

 

That fortuitous meeting eventually translated into an on-going friendship, as well as a prized spot in Rubaiyat’s new jewellery and watches department store.

“It’s not easy to find a company where people are professional in every department, “ Berclaz points out about the distributor who, last August, opened a two-storey, 400 square-metre standalone shop for its 17 brands, all of which it has exclusivity for.

Of course, Quinting is also available in other countries, twenty-five of them in fact, with select points of sale such as the ones at the Burj Al-Arab in Dubai and the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, as well as others in cities like Zurich, Geneva, Milan, London, New York, Beverly Hills, Moscow, Shanghai and Tokyo. In other words, how on Earth had we had never heard of the brand? Berclaz offered one possible explanation: “All of the money we make, we reinvest in technology, not a penny goes to marketing.” It seems Quinting is happy to remain a watch brand for only the most recherché of connoisseurs, and for that we salute them.

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