Michel Herbelin. The heir to the line. The concept of “Swiss watch” began to take shape two hundred years ago

Michel Herbelin


“Jurassic” hours
The concept of “Swiss watch” began to take shape two hundred years ago, and at that time it was significantly different from its modern counterpart.Geneva was then an independent republic, and produced their own “Geneva watch.” Canton Neuchatel was a member of the Swiss Confederation, and the adjacent northern canton Ergyuel (whose chief town Bien, he’s Bill, is now the headquarters of Swatch Group and one of the centers of the Swiss watch industry) belonged to another state – Basel principality. In the west region of Jura Mountains hour continued French province of Franche-Comte in Besancon, with its capital. Despite the fact that these were three different states, they shared more than a national identity: the end of XVIII century, the main traditional craft in the Jura was horology.

Michel Herbelin
Watchmakers from Neuchatel moved to a nearby Besançon and Ergyuel or they open their shops, and French masters to work freely in Switzerland. They were united in the community to help each other to find buyers.

The history and traditions of watchmaking in the Jura modern booklets watch companies tell us enough, but few know that the French Franche-Comte (a department which is called the Jura) is also a historical time region. Moreover, since the beginning of Napoleon’s military campaigns, the French emperor annexed the independent principality of Basel and political vision began to carry out Ergyuelya equipment and the best artists on the west side of the mountains – in Besancon, to further strengthen the region’s watchmaking.

Since Versailles royal guard’s workshops had already been destroyed and looted by revolutionaries, it became the main hour Bezanson center of France and retains the title until today.

Michel Herbelin watches do not shout about luxury and wealth of its owner, but each model has the elusive charm, which is called the “chic”.

In Besancon is a famous French watch factory Lip, which in the XX century has been more successful and famous of many Swiss brands, though, unfortunately, was unable to survive during the infamous “quartz boom ’70. In Besancon is located and the headquarters of another famous French brand Alain Silberstein. In addition, in the region of Franche-Comte successfully operate a factory to produce mechanisms (France Ebauches), buildings and dials. Although, of course, nothing prevents the French watchmakers purchase arrangements with neighbors to the east: the benefit of Neuchatel is located less than an hour, and the boundaries in the Jura, as well as two hundred years ago, are still just a convention. It was in the Franche-Comte in the department of Haute-Dub in a small town and is factory Sharkemon Michel Herbelin, which produces the clock, the French in spirit, but absolutely, “Jurassic,” that is Swiss, the quality and reliability.

Michel Herbelin

It remains the strongest
As mentioned above, time tradition in Besancon in the 70s suffered perhaps more than in Switzerland. And if the Swiss watchmaking tradition has managed to survive and fully regenerated, the term “French watchmaking” has become part of history. Survive without going bankrupt, not to move to a neighboring Switzerland, to preserve their own identity and independence was only a few brands – the best. Now only for this they deserve great respect and great interest. One such company is the Michel Herbelin.

Michelle Erbel founded his own watch brand in Sharkemone immediately after the war in 1947, when the French watch industry was booming. He immediately came up with its own formula for hours, which allowed him to quickly become one of the leaders in this country: excellent quality, combined with an unusual and elegant design. He did not experiment with the mechanics, not trying to put the technical complexity of records, but the factory was equipped with Michel Herbelin the most technologically advanced processing equipment and decoration of hours, build and test models, and mechanisms Erbel buy from the most reliable Swiss and French suppliers. In addition, special attention is paid Erbel design of each model.

Despite the fact that his watch was quite affordable, they look so that they were not ashamed to wear with a suit or expensive as the evening jewelry. Not surprisingly, the 60-th years the brand became one of the most popular among the French middle-class bohemians and creative, especially since these watches are absolutely French in style – light, delicate and slightly ironic.

Erbel, Jr. personally traveled to all the French provinces and departments, talking with the owners of watch and jewelry boutiques, and presenting them to your watch.

Design and style have become a major rescue for the brand in the late 60’s, when Europe came the first quartz watch in Asia. Most companies in Besancon has been closed or moved as a cheap quartz products (such as, Lip), but Michel Herbelin managed not to pass any of his positions, in fact – to achieve spectacular success.

In 1972 he moved Michelle Erbel department, transferring management of the company to his son Jean-Claude, who by then had worked in a factory for several years and learned the subtleties of the specifics of watchmaking.It was he who helped the company survive during the quartz crisis. Jean-Claude Erbel started a new policy. He included a range of highly topical quartz models, but still retained and the mechanical collection, continuing to buy the remaining mechanisms of Swiss manufacturers. In addition, while all around trying to attract customers with cheap models, Jean-Claude …raised prices.

– Our artists continue to put their hearts in the design of each model. Hours, similar to ours, simply does not exist, they are very individual. And we are responsible for the quality as well as ever. I think that Michel Herbelin watch to wear only one who appreciates this. People always pay for good and original timepieces. Why, now it should be otherwise? – He said and started to confirm his theory of matter.

First of all, Erbel, Jr. personally traveled to all the French provinces and departments, talking with the owners of watch and jewelry boutiques and introducing them to their watches. For five years he has expanded the distribution network tripled Michel Herbelin compared to what it was under his father. In practice, he acted as his predecessors from time Jura region two centuries ago, who went into business trips across Europe with full traveling bags hours. How else people will appreciate your watch if they do not know about them? It is not surprising that shortly Michel Herbelin went abroad in France and became one of the first French-hour world-renowned brands. Today, these watches are more than 60 countries.

In 1998, when Zidane in the final game scored against Brazil at the “Stade de France,” the winning goal and France became world champion in football, Michel Herbelin celebrated their own victory: the amount of revenue hours exceeded 10% over the previous year. Such an outcome while not done even the neighboring Swiss brand. Michel Herbelin was the leader of the French market hours, and Jean-Claude Erbel selected the new president of the French Chamber of hours. This post he holds today, is still leading the company founded by his father.

Factory Michel HerbeLin largest in France. It employs over 100 people, which is impressive even by Swiss standards and popular brand worldwide is growing every year.

– Our secret of success – our watch – said Jean-Claude Erbel, when asked about how the brand could bezansonskoy miracle.- We had all realized that people appreciate the French watch, first of all, the beauty and elegance. Even before it understood fashion and jewelry at home.

Michel Herbelin

A light touch of luxury
Of course, to understand what the president says Michel HerbeLin, must be seen and even try on these watches. They do not scream luxury and wealth of its owner, but each model has the elusive charm, which is called the “chic”. French style is renowned for being one of its kind distracts from thinking about the everyday life of labor, full of anxieties and making money, and has a dream of a carefree vacation, and how this money is tasteful and a pleasure to spend. And that style is fully vested in the collection of Michel HerbeLin. This antithesis of the Swiss Calvinist hours of honest workers.

Thus, the most famous collection of water resistant watches Newport (there are male and female models, like quartz and automatic, including chronographs and J-Class) is associated with relaxation on a yacht. And not with a harsh competition regattas, namely with the rest, a white suit and a splash of champagne.

Incidentally, for women in Newport Royal collection are not only jewelry watches with diamonds, but full set decorations to make it easy to create a single style.

The second famous line – Antares. This version of the clock that can be worn to work, and in the evening, but they do not evoke thoughts of a boring business dinner, and joie de vivre of a casino or a fashion show. 0 as the last time a special series like Antares Interchangeable, where you can touch on the “ears” to change the leather strap on a different color or even a steel bracelet.

But the model of classical series Escapade Classic and have mild features of the Empire style. Looking at the organic combination of yellow gold, natural color, strap lines, streamlined body and concise layout, I want to think about a glass of cognac, vintage books and after-dinner quiet private office. By the way, the collection and Classic models are presented with complex mechanisms, such as arrow and indication of the date of the lunar calendar.

And the most ironic and most French collection – this is probably, Cable. The name speaks for itself: the gold-plated classic round case of this watch is combined with “hooliganism” rope a rope that is integrated into the strap. Enough to put on the clock to immediately feel like a person and a very original fashion. And that’s not all the ideas that deliver creative team at home Michel HerbeLin.

Today, all mechanisms, even quartz, the company acquired in Switzerland. However, the clock is assembled and tested at its own factory in Sharkemone, so of course, the clock can not be seen Michel HerbeLin label Swiss Made. But the brand is totally unnecessary. “Made in France” – a style and tradition unique to Michel HerbeLin, the main heir to the French Jura watchmaking.

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