Denis Asch has always had a thing about watches

Antoine Preziuso treats clients ordering the Grand Tourbillon Sport ina cobalt-chromium allloy  to a business-class flight and a two-night stay in a five-star hotel

The long-heralded radical transformation of the watch market is upon us. By creating their own brands, clients and suppliers are becoming competitors, brands are handling retail sales and retailers are launching their own collections. Caught between the rock of armed robbery and the hard place of the watch industry giants, small independent players are seeing profound changes in their profession and are being forced to adapt. Antoine Preziuso and Denis Asch provide illustrations of this critical situation.

A watchmaker by training, Denis Asch opened his Geneva boutique ten years ago, specialising in independent watch brands with strong technical substance. L’Heure Asch enjoyed a period of prosperity that has been challenged by the economic crisis in 2009 and by two armed robberies. Passionately dedicated to his profession and a watch collector since the age of six, it was time to take stock and reflect on his options. Who am I, where am I going, and how can I get there ? At 13 years’ old, Denis had already built a collection of 60 watches estimated at over CHF 2000,000 at the time (including models by Audemars PIguet, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin). His address book is brimming with collectors and his rigorous approach has earned brands’ trust. He is already in demand for lectures and certain clients have entrusted him with developing their watch collections. So why not capitalise on this expertise ? While keeping his boutique but doing without any stock, Denis Asch now offers a range of services based on his watchmaking know-how : lectures, training, pre-emption for private clients.

Also a watchmaker, Antoine Preziuso launched his brand as a family business in 1990, based on timepieces with strong character, including the first tourbillons adorned in 3,200 diamonds (Stardust) or meteorite (Météor). He has gained his strongest following in Japan and opened his first boutique in Osaka, followed by Geneva (which has been raided three times), Dubai and Kiev. Faced with the crisis and overly wary agents on various markets, he continues to innovative both in terms of his creations and the ways of selling them. His new cobalt-chromium Grand Tourbillon Sport model, available exclusively from Antoine Preziuso Genève (and thus on the brand website), is sold at the Swiss boutique price and comprises a return business flight for two, two nights in a Geneva palace hotel, a workshop visit and a dinner at which the timepiece is personally handed over by Antoine Preziuso. A unique offer indeed  !

Brice Lechevalier is editor-in-chief of GMT and Skippers, which he co-founded in 2000 and 2001 respectively. He has also been CEO of WorldTempus since it joined the GMT Publishing stable, of which he is director and joint shareholder. In 2012 he created the Geneva Watch Tour, and he has been an advisor to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève since 2011. Also closely involved in sailing, he has published the magazine of the Société Nautique de Genève since 2003, and was one of the founders of the SUI Sailing Awards in 2009 and the Concours d’Elégance for motor boats at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2015.

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