Timex is dipping its toes back into the waters of luxury watchmaking. The Timex Group, makers of the mass-market Timex brand as well as licensed fashion brands from Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, and others, announced this week that it is resurrecting Vincent Bérard, a boutique maker of high-end Swiss mechanicals that it acquired in 2006 and shuttered in 2010.
As we reported back in 2010, veteran French watchmaker and antiques restorer Vincent Bérard founded his eponymous brand in 2003, and the Timex Group, which was at the time expanding its industry footprint into the then-booming luxury segment, acquired it three years later. The company, whose watches were made in limited quantities and sold for between $70,000 and $100,000, ceased operations in 2010, a casualty of the global financial crisis and Great Recession.
The new Vincent Bérard, according to Timex Group, will make watches “with a green soul,” emphasizing eco-friendly materials and environmental themes in their design — a logical outgrowth of the original brand, which took nature as an inspiration for some of its most important models, such as the “Quatre Saisons” pocketwatches. The timepieces will, as before, contain only Swiss-made mechanical movements, thus avoiding the use of batteries; the movements will use specially customized forest-green winding rotors and all dials will feature a green seconds hand. The watches will be fitted with interchangeable straps made from post-consumer recycled PET bottles, vintage vegetable tanned leather, or Nuo wood, a patented material made from thin, micro-laser-etched wood sheets. The company has collaborated with Treedom, a charity that supports agroforestry projects worldwide, to ensure that a tree is planted for every watch sold.
Vincent Bérard watches will be available at select retailers and at the brand’s website, www.vincentberard.com, in September 2019. The relaunch of Vincent Bérard continues what appears to be a renewed dedication to, and expansion of, the Timex Luxury Division, which earlier this year announced the acquisition of another boutique watchmaker, CT Scuderia. For more info on that brand, and a review of its leader model, click here.