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Thread: Zenith and Selitta Movements - Dead?

  1. #1

    Zenith and Selitta Movements - Dead?

    I've read a lot of different reports. I remember the outrage and dismay when Zenith announced Selitta movements in some of their watches back at Basel earlier this year. More recently, I've heard that the decision to use these movements has been stopped, and they will use Elite movements again.

    Earlier today, I read on Quill and Pad that Zenith was using Selitta movements. I do not know if this is old news or not. Can anyone confirm?
    Last edited by WillMK5; Dec 13, 2014 at 02:39 AM.
    TAG Heuer Monaco, Mido Multifort, Chr. Ward C5 Malvern MkII

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by WillMK5 View Post
    I've read a lot of different reports. I remember the outrage and dismay when Zenith announced Selitta movements in some of their watches back at Basel earlier this year. More recently, I've heard that the decision to use these movements has been stopped, and they will use Elite movements again.

    Earlier today, I read on Quill and Pad that Zenith was using Selitta movements. I do not know if this is old news or not. Can anyone confirm?
    Under Dufour (and under his bosses), Zenith made a move towards using Sellita (note spelling for making searching easier) in the Spring. They were only in a few models. But that was just as Biver was starting, and right before Dufour moved to Rolex.

    But Aldo Magada, Biver's choice for Zenith CEO, gave an interview to a German publication in which he said that Zenith has stopped using supplied movements altogether. That was maybe a month ago. I don't have the link handy, but it was reported on WUS. We can all breathe a sigh of relief on this one.

    The market is goofy about such things, though. Ebel made their Discovery chronograph as an entry model, while their BTR was their main line. The Discovery used a 7750, while the BTR used an Ebel 137, which was the legitimately in-house (I did not say manufacture) latest incarnation of the venerable Lemania 1340. But nowadays, the 7750 model seems to be more eagerly sought on the used market. Go figure.

    Rick "no more Sellita movements in Zeniths" Denney
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

  3. #3
    Zenith & Vintage Mod Dan R's Avatar
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    I read the same posts that Rick did. I'd say it is dead for now, but as Rick mentioned, the market is an odd place. All one has to do is to convince the head man that money could be made/saved using one or the other and all bets are off.

    Cheers,

    Dan

  4. #4
    It's a balance between preserving brand value and making money, though. Brand value has long-term value, if the brand comes to mean something significant. Zenith has that meaning now for enthusiasts and outside the U.S., but not so much for the American non-enthusiast market, which is what many of us are attuned to.

    I'm curious about the relationship between the watch division and the LVMH brass. There is no question that they understand brand value, but they understand less that manufacturing in the watch world is not as fungible as it is in the leather goods world. It's really more like their wine and spirits group, where the label is everything, and where the French government controls what can go into a bottle with that label. There will be no Asian sparkling wine that goes into a bottle with Moet and Chandon on the label, of course--doing so would undermine the brand value and the market for that brand would vanish. But it really doesn't matter where the Louis Vuitton handbags are made. More to the specific point of watches, few buyers of jewelry much care which group of elves happened to make that set of earrings, if they have the right style, the right materials, appropriate execution for the price, and the right label.

    Biver taking over the watch division and it being separated from the jewelry division is, I hope, recognition that where things are made do matter in the watch world far more than in the jewelry world. The previous executive in charge of the watch and jewelry group was a jewelry person who came along with the Bulgari acquisition. Everything I've heard from and about Biver suggests that he understands this very well indeed, and I would not be at all surprised to discover that Biver insisted on the rearrangement before agreeing to lead what became the watch division.

    So, with a Bulgari executive in charge of both watches and jewelry, the notion of using supplied movements to improve profit margins and turnover would make sense. But to an executive whose resume includes directing sales for Audemars Piguet, building Blancpain from a bare brand name to a business worth tens of millions, being credited with tripling sales at Omega (during which Omega adopted a strategy of exclusive movements), turning a style watch (Hublot) into a haute de gamme brand, doing so would undermine brand value that would become a race to the bottom for Zenith. About the only downside to Biver that concerns me is that he will drive up prices. Biver has some of the flash of Nataf but also the respect for traditional watchmaking.

    I was not at all surprised that the Sellita experiment ended.

    But I am a little surprised that LVMH doesn't just up and buy Sellita.

    Rick "brand value supports higher prices and higher margins if done right" Denney
    Last edited by Rdenney; Dec 13, 2014 at 09:11 PM.
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

  5. #5

    Zenith and Selitta Movements - Dead?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
    note spelling for making searching easier

    Ironically I spelled it correct, doubted myself, and checked the source of my inquiry. The article has it spelled wrong as does many other blogs.

    http://quillandpad.com/2014/12/11/je...s-coincidence/


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  6. #6
    Not surprising, and before I made my statement, I too checked myself, but with the Sellita website (www.sellita.ch).

    Rick "who has made this mistake himself" Denney
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

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  8. #7
    By the way, here is the interview with Magada in the German GQ ezine:

    http://gisbert-brunner.gq.de/post/98...eo-aldo-magada

    One translated section:
    "LH: What has become of the views expressed during the BASELWORLD, that Zenith will use Sellita movements in the future?
    AM: We have stopped this venture. Zenith will remain a wholly self-contained factory. In this context, we will further develop our Elite automatic calibre into a new generation."

    That's about as clear as it gets, it seems to me.

    The Quill and Pad blog seems long on speculation and short on facts beyond their misspelling of Sellita. The GQ article was posted on WUS in early November. I've attempted a post on that blog summarizing the above; we'll see if they post it. It's a reason (among many) I don't blog about watches--one must research press reports in several languages to be sure of one's facts, before using them as the basis for speculation.

    Rick "who'd rather speculate here without claiming or having to defend any particular expertise" Denney
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

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