Keeping an edgy dimension on eve of 100th anniversary

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2007, 12:00am

A new president, a new philosophy and a new face to its watches are the things that define Concord this year. On the eve of its 100th anniversary, the newly appointed president Vincent Perriard is redefining the brand for what he hopes will be its return to the centre of the watchmaking industry.

Along with its new personality, and the backing of its parent company, MGI Luxury Group, come new ambitions: to adopt an iconoclastic approach, to make it a bold, contemporary brand, and to affirm its legitimacy in the high-end watch sector.

Concord has been through a complete overhaul, from the rebranding of its products and presentation boxes to a new logo, website and advertising campaign.

'This in 2007 is just the beginning,' Mr Perriard said. '2007 is a transition period for Concord. It is part of the engine and in 2008 we will be at full speed.'

Concord's sharp new identity is derived from the brand's roots to bring a 'unique, edgy dimension' to the watchmaking world (the Concord Delirium, which launched in 1979, made headlines for its radical thinness of 1.98mm).

And to get the new identity rolling is the C1 Chronograph, which, with its 16.70mm thick stainless steel case, is the reverse of the Concord Delirium. Where the Delirium had a thinly sculpted case, the C1 is all about visible construction.

Graphic and structural, the watch is rugged and masculine. Its 44mm diameter case is constructed of 42 components and assembled by a process designed to absorb shocks.

Using carbon fibre and machined metal, the dial is built from three layers in order to add depth and perspective: hour-markers are sunken, and hands are partially hollowed out to create an asymmetrical effect through alternating solid and open parts.

The small seconds display is controlled by a disc in permanent rotation, which the brand says represents a new technical aptitude on the part of its watchmakers.

The first quarter of the minute circle complements the sweep seconds hand, which is in Concord blue. The date display is gradually exposed in a semi-transparent opening.

The complexity of the C1 is an example of the force that drives Mr Perriard and an indication of what is to come in the future. Even the best suppliers in the watch industry were initially apprehensive of the feasibility in constructing the C1, and that is what Mr Perriard loves. 'It means there is a challenge, and it means there are possibilities.'

The finishing is as important to Concord as the assembly. A strap made from black vulcanised rubber has a brushed matt finish, and the case finishing is polish-brushed. The whole construction was about feeling, Mr Perriard said.

The C1 is also available with a metal link bracelet which integrates with the case by a patent-pending system of attachment, and which the brand says ensures perfect adjustment to the shape of the wrist.

The transparent case-back is engraved with the Concord seal, which will appear on all its creations from now on with the legend: 'Audacity - know-how - Avant-garde'.