Kindly apology for my so imperfect English. Please don't forget we are French. We try our best and hope you can understand us : All the money we spend goes to the quality of the watch. Therefore, we try to manage almost everything by ourselves, including the communication.
Many of you are on hollidays and we hope you are enjoying your vacation.
Here is some news:
Booking of the Bohen Mille-Mer:
For buyers, the list of reservations has been open since June 30. The number of reservations is increasing slowly but steadily.
We had a number of visits, which enabled our customers to try the watch on their wrist and see the quality of our products.
Surprisingly, some have registered 3 times, even 5 times. We've erased the duplicates but we're trying to figure out what happened. If you have registered several times, please send us an email to explain any difficulties or anomalies you have encountered.
After being on french TV (France 3), we had the pleasure to send the watch to “Horlogerie Francophone”, a group created by Ryo, its administrator. Ryo is passionate and expresses himself without filter, takes measurements, checks, develops a real free spirit through his group. We gave him our trust, on the advice of Stef de Namur, Almanach, Brice Wagner, and Marius-André, in short, watch enthusiasts who follow our project and whom we thank.
We were also contacted by Gregory Pons, a journalist whom I really appreciate and of whom Lucie, my wife, is a fan (it is through him that she acquired her knowledge in watchmaking).
The Crownat4 site published an article about us. You can read it here:
My wrist size: 17.3 cm
In September, we will post on “A Blog To Watch” to reach a more international audience and we will start running some ads. In general, this will be the moment to make all our efforts to make this project a success.
The final prototypes:
We found our ratchet buckle (adjustable without tools). The design is practically finished.
The final buckle and band will go into production. In the meantime, we have received a new band prototype which allows the members who come to visit us to test the Mille-Mer on their wrist.
The dial: the new luminescence tests are impressive, we have changed the technique and, following advice from the company Tritec, we are using a new version of Superluminova, in grade X1, in gelled form. Grade X1 is described as providing unprecedented luminescence, and offers a x2 efficiency duration.
Hands: will go into production next week.
Delivery of the two final prototypes is scheduled for the first week of October.
Evolution of the website:
We received some precious help from Carole, a communications directress who worked for a very famous luxury brand (but not a watch brand). Full of energy and ideas, Carole put her finger on the scattered side of the website and helped us to reformulate our messages more directly and simply. I hope you like the new design of the website, do not hesitate to give us your opinion and a big thank you to Carole.
Enjoy the sun, share with friends, apreciate life,
Web & TV news
After Stef de Namur, Brice Wagner received the watch and tried it on. Brice took wonderful photos as well as issued an article. Here is the link to read his Hands-On article on the AWDO (Affordable Watches, Divers and Others). Brice has followed us from the beginning of the project, he became a true friend to the brand.
In addition, we had the chance to present Bohen on France 3 's 19/20 h News, one of the French Television channels. Here is the link :
Updates on the final prototypes:
After a lot of research, we finally found our adjustable buckle without tools (ratchet increment buckle). Without betraying the secret, we received a big helping hand from a major Swiss watch brand. They are generous gentlemen, they had no reason to help us, except for the elegance of doing it (not often nowadays). We highly appreciate and sincerely thank them.
As the band has to be made together with the buckle from the same manufacturer, I took the opportunity to modify, once more, the design, removing the empty space from the first link, which a number of people did not like much.
Hands: it's in production and everything is fine.
Dial: In order to make sure that I got the best result, I directly contacted Mr. Zeller from Tritec company. Tritec is the producer of Superluminova, but also of Lumicast (phosphorescent 3D block). Mr Zeller suggested that we would send our dial directly to their laboratory and they will study the best process for us. We are also awaiting a quote from les Cadraniers de Genève, and also waiting for the result of a test from another dial manufacturer.
We always seek for the best, however we face the fact that the international prices of metals are increasing, and our margin has officially gone down to X1.8 . We are again keeping our promise to Ambassador members for the ambassador series price. Obviously, our prices will have to go up after the first series, otherwise we will not be able to develop well.
In the midst of it all, we had about 20 members visiting us at home. And given their reactions, we do not hide our happiness. When I worked for watchmakers, I had some time to complete the job and I had deadlines. Once paid, I moved on, my drawings no longer belonged to me. With Bohen, it's totally different: I can ameliorate, increase every detail, add a finish if I want. In other words, we always do better when we work for ourselves and when no one asks us to stop the work. I think this is the key to our project.
Subscription to the Buyers List.
We have told you about this, and it is waiting for you. A list of buyers, for those who surely want to purchase the Mille-Mer. Once registered, your watch will be certainly reserved. The price is finalised at 1.990, oo Euros including tax for the ambassador series (in France). 1.659, oo Euros excluding taxes for other countries. At the time of the sale, we will send you an email before everyone else and you can complete your purchase. Then you will need some patience, because I think it will be six months between your payment and the delivery of your watch. It’s a long time, but it is the time for quality manufacturing, in a small quantity, with hand finishing, as we wish.
The sale will be for the month of October, when everyone is home after summer holiday and when the final Mille-Mer samples will be presented to you.
Click here if you want to register :
As you could see, we have received the prototypes and they are gorgeous ! The photos are online, thanks to the talent and sensitivity of the author, Stef de Namur. Stephane, thank you so much !!!
Actually, the second watch is in the hands of Brice Wagner of AWDO Group, and his stunning photos are about to be published. Brice was the first influencer who cared about and believed in us. We will never forget how much of energy this meeting gave us.
Right now, it is possible to come and see the watch in Marseille. If you are in the area, please email us and we will arrange a meeting. We have already received around twenty enthusiasts. They have all been amazed by not only the beauty, but also by the quality of the Mille Mer. We have promised with you a luxury watch, and we have kept our commitment.
Our pleasure was that all of them came with some high end watches to compare. Breitling, Tudor, and several Rolex, including three Deepsea. The Mille-Mer ahieves their levels at the first sight without even a smallest difficulty and we are proud of it.
Where are we now?
In watchmaking, you always need a first prototype to really judge every detail.
On the Mille-Mer, the finishes are remarkable.
The crown, the case and the helium valve are perfect. Ditto for the rotating bezel, whose ceramic is a real mirror. The domed sapphire has a unique, deep blue reflection that you may never have seen before. I remind you that it comes from a Japanese company that make lenses for space. It's a Rolls. At this stage, we could launch the pre-orders for the watch but I want to rework several points:
We were disappointed with the result of the material that we developed. It is not sufficient for a diver, I felt frustrated.
We must therefore rework the indexes of the dial in order to optimize all that. I have just designed a new more racy dial, With a larger luminescence surface, while keeping the spirit of the first version.
Besides that, I'm not happy neither with the hour hand, which is a little too short, nor the minute hand, which is too fat. I just finished drawing the new hands, called “torpedos”. Here they are :
2: The watch band and buckle:
The band, although it is still a prototype, is superb and the universal link makes it possible to change the band without tools and very easily. However, it is too light and I will explain why:
A watch head that is water resistant to a thousand meters comes with a certain weight. However, it is not really the weight that matters, but the balance of the watch. To achieve a perfect balance, the weight must be transmitted to the entire watch and therefore, it must transfer harmoniously along the watch band. However, our bracelet is too light. So I decided to order a new prototype, in order to obtain a perfect harmony.
And I take the bet that the weight will be almost the same compared to a Deepsea. On the forums, this weight is sometimes criticized. But everyone who owns a Deepsea thinks opposite.
"The price of quality is the weight of quality"
Buckle: I have told you that the buckle was the only part we didn't develop by ourselves. And there, for once, the quality of the prototype is poor, really. It is beautiful in the photos, but nothing is well adjusted. We left the manufacturer and contacted two companies that produce increment clasp buckles for well-known brands. We will do everything to make a beautiful one. Be aware, however, that the club of increment clasp buckles is very, very closed (because of patent protection which can quickly lead to a lawsuit and this is normal). The other point is how long it can take. If we cannot find an agreement, or if it takes too long time, then we will have to return to a conventional buckle and produce immediately the diver rubber band, which can be attached to our universal link.
These few changes therefore lead to a delay of several weeks, especially since the watch industry is currently behind in its production (Covid effect). We will do everything as fast as possible to provide you with a perfect watch, which you can keep for a lifetime with love. Still a little more patience, I hope you will understand that Bohen is a brand that seeks, exceptional beauty, to make watches that will mark over time.
WAITING LIST ?
On the proposal of a number of members, we will open a “waiting list”. This list will allow you to subscribe, if you are certain you want to purchase the watch. This will allow you to block your watch for free and be informed before anyone else when the Mille-Mer goes on sale. More details will be in our next newsletter.
We will communicate as often as possible to keep you updated on our progress, but keep in mind that we are a small family business. No one manages our communication. Lucie (my wife), answers your emails as much as possible. I also try to answer you but I often work until late at night.
But we are holding on because since we have received the watch, we know that we have accomplished something very, very, very well born.
In just a few days, the watch will be in our hands and you will discover it!
Last 2 weeks have been the hardest and craziest since the beginning of the project.
Let's share the news:
The watch :
From the first day, Bohen’s goal has been constant to offer a level of quality as impressive as the most famous brands. We have kept this process to the end, with the feeling of creating something above simple watchmaking. 2 examples:
Example 1: The watch case.
Our polisher was convinced that we had to soften the edges of our "diamond piece" (the sides of the watch). After doing a test, I fell in love with this modification, which is reminiscent of the curves of Italian sports cars from the 1970s.
In general, on a watch, all edges are treated the same way.
For the Mille-Mer, there will be 3 different types of finishes:
1: The top edges will be sharp.
2: The edges of the “diamond” sides will be rounded.
3: The edges below will be softened for an ideal contact with the skin.
Example 2: The dial.
I explained to you that our indexes only have three sides. For luminescence, we have developed a material that is phosphorescent itself. This material is amazing, but the inserts are so small that they had to be made by stonecutters in jewelry. The result is that each of the 12 indexes are hand-crafted and manually set on the dial. Therefore, no index is completely identical. It’s a "gem".
That, dear friends, I admit : that's all I love about this art.
We have received the packagings and they are superb.
They contain a surprise for you. We didn't plan it at first, but we could not resist ...
We are in the process of setting up the secure payment system. Listening to our members, we will offer several ways of payment: payment by card, by transfer, in 3X and 4X.
Please don't try to place an order for now: we are installing an API that will link WIX and our module. When that is done, we will do the testing phases and if all goes well, we will release the pressure a little !
I take this opportunity to give you the details about our company:
SAS BOHEN, a company with a capital of 150.000, oo Euros,
3, bd Honoret 13004 Marseille. France.
Registration number: 898 431 101 R.C.S. Marseille.
We're almost there, it's imminent, but with the delay we come to a worst-case situation. Indeed, the worst time to launch a sales campaign is between June and September ...
In this context, what should we do?
We can postpone everything until September or October, with a delivery time expected 5 months later (possible delay depending on the virus).
However, a number of ambassadors we interviewed believed we should start the sale as soon as possible. If we get the first 250 orders before the end of June, we will launch the manufacturing at the beginning of July, with a delivery date maintained for Christmas (except for delays due to Covid 19).
Also we will launch a communication campaign on the internet (reviews, press release etc.). This will allow us to introduce our watches beyond the circle of Bohen ambassadors.
What do you think of this solution?
Please do not hesitate to send us an email and give us your opinion and comments.
As promised, here are the first photos of the definitive movement. We hope you enjoy the amazing workmanship and specifications. Soprod has the advantage of being a company that does not depend on others: they produce their own components, it is a high-end movement, purely Swiss and independent.
Latest 3D photos :
We updated the last small modifications to the design and released the latest Bohen Mille Mer picture set. Do not hesitate to visit the website again to see them.
We have received the pictures of the raw components. The castings and the machining are impeccable. Next step, the components will be transported to the polishing factory. As a reminder, the "black polish" we have told you about, is a special process that is only found on luxury products. It is also equivalent to "Sallaz Polishing" and is worked by hand, by specialists who most often work in jewelry. There is no doubt, it is the most beautiful polishing.
By reducing our margin to X2 (versus X3 initially), we were able to maintain the price and keep our commitment to quality.
Initially, we didn't plan to make something very special for the packaging (all the budget was for the watch) ... But finally, we could not resist making a watch box that a luxury watch deserves. Also, I added one gift to please our ambassadors. You will find out what it is when we publish the first real photos of the watch.
Taking care of your watch boxes! they will have a "piano lacquer" finish, it is very fragile but very beautiful!!!
A big thanks to Stéphane (Stef de Namur), who strongly advised us to not use fake leather material for the interior of our boxes: it could become peeled after a few months. I verified his warning by reopening a Bell & Ross box and a Longines box: the PU leather is totally destroyed, so we will use suede in a dark gray tone instead.
Some news about the Bohen Mille Mer:
We have received the modified movements. They are just fantastic! It tooks a long time to finalize them, especially since a new date disc had to be produced, shifted by a few degrees. We will send to you its pictures in our next newsletter.
After several researches, our packaging design is finally finished! Here are some pictures and we hope to be able to order the prototypes by the end of this week.
Let's talk about:
The secret side of
In the fascinating watch world, "Swiss Made" is the magic word. However, by reading this article, you will understand that this label is not a guarantee of quality and we will explain why, using concrete examples.
Because of Covid, a new confinement should be decided soon in France.
Depending on the evolution of the situation, we are afraid that it will be difficult to organize any event which gathers a huge number of people. In this case, we are considering individual meetings for you to try out the watch (all safety conditions will be respected).
We may have to launch the pre-orders campaign earlier than scheduled, in order to anticipate a possible delay for the production.
If this is the case, pre-orders will be opened by END OF APRIL, after the presentation of the prototypes and all reviews on internet.
Are you a Member or an Ambassador?
You have subscribed to our newsletter, so, you are a member. Therefore, you will have priority when the pre-orders launch.
“Ambassador Edition” is engraved on the back of our first series.
Why ? Because our buyers are our ambassadors.
Do you apreciate our project?
Do you think we're doing a good job?
Do you hope our project will be successful?
So, you have the potential of an ambassador.
How to be an ambassador?
ASK FOR SHARING!
Next Wednesday, you will receive an email from us.
It will not be a newsletter but a mail-brochure introducing Bohen .
If you want to help us, please forward the brochure to your network; friends and colleagues, and forward by email to those around you.
In addition, at the bottom of the brochure, there will be a “share” icon.
You just have to click on it, then a window will open and you can post the brochure on your Facebook, by a single click, .
To bring forward the pre-orders launch, We urgently need people to talk about us and discover Bohen as widely as possible. It's a race that begins!
The more the ambassadors will help us, the more we have chances to be successful.
Share our Facebook:
1: Wednesday, you receive our Brochure by email.
2: At the bottom of the brochure, click on the “Partager via : Facebook” icon. A window will open and you can click on "Publish on facebook". You can also add a few words if you want. For example: I love this project, please share it with your firends!
Share by email:
1: you click on "foward" in your mailbox.
2: you add all the people to whom you can foward our brochure.
4: if you can, kindly add us in the list as well. Please note that we will not reproceed any e-mail from your list. If people subscribe, it means they are interested with our watches. If they don't, it means they are not, so, we will never send anything to them.
5: If you want, you can add a few words to let your contacts know that you are already a member and that you invite them to share with friends.
6: You click on "send".
We are counting on you and thank you in advance.
Hoping for your support,
The prototypes have been launched and I decided on a last-minute modification: the hands.
Very slightly enlarged to allow maximum luminescence. In addition to the brushed finish, they will also be embossed to have a beautiful volume.
A journalist friend suggested us to write a serie of articles about the progress of our project.
Today we are going to talk about our home office and our way of work.
This interview was conducted in French. Our apologies for all translation errors. We did our best, but is was not always easy!
First question, the launch of the Mille Mer sales will be announced in June-July. Did the Covid delay the project?
Not at first: we launched the website at the beginning of the first lockdown, and people spent more time on internet. I think, it helped us to find audiences more quickly.
But now, we are working with the manufacturers. The timing was initially 100 days for the prototypes production, due to the high level of the watch. And because of covid, we had to add 20 days more.
In this context, do you work at home?
I have almost always worked at home. When I became a freelance, I had no money in my pocket so I set up my office at home. Or I would rather say: my home was an office with a kitchen and a bathroom!
Now, I have a dedicated office at home, but I also like to sit with my laptop in the living room. It allows my 9 year old daughter to draw next to me while I am working.
The reality is less formal than what people could imagine.
The ambiance is quite relaxing, actually.
Do you often travel to Switzerland?
I was about to travel to Bienna after the first confinement. But everybody changed their minds at the last moment, because of the virus. We have decided to do everything in distance for now.
What sacrifices did you have to launching Bohen?
To build a watch brand, you have to stop all other works around you. No more lazy evenings... There is a lot of works. You wake-up Bohen, you work Bohen, you think Bohen, you eat Bohen and you sleep Bohen.
It is important to protect family life. We keep time to care well for our daughter Maya, who has granted herself the title of "chief designer of Bohen"!
How do you deal with stress?
The answer is Marseille. We have the climate, the Mediterranean sea, the harbour and the wild suburbs. So, when the stress arises, we go for a walk in the middle of the pines and rosemary. Obviously, behind this enjoyable lifestyle, there are challenges that require no mistake.
Can you talk a little more about these challenges?
There is the technical aspect of the project, especially since we work in the luxury segment. A fault of quality or finish would be the disaster. I am very strict with my suppliers and I never try to bargain any manufacturing costs. There are 50 grades of 316L steel, 50 grades of sapphire crystal. If we want to keep our promises, we have to work over and over again.
I imagine that the other aspect of stress is the financial investment, which must be substantial.
Ideas cost nothing, but making them real requires believing in yourself and investing for real.
For a high-end watch brand, that's the price of a house and although, technology has evolved a lot in the last decades, it was already that price thirty years ago. When I started in the watch industry, Alain Silberstein told me that he had to stop his activity as an architect and mortgaged his own house to launch his brand.
It really is a question of commitment.
Personally, as a father of a family, I have wondered if I had the right to take this risk? Even if we have strong backs, we built things slowly, stone by stone. Therefore, we, my wife and I considered the pros and cons before deciding together. The good point is that most of my career has been in the field of design. Both in luxury and high-end arenas. It's my speciality.
You have to trust yourself.
In France, it's not always easy! We always start by being criticized and suspected. Many laughed on us on some forums. And then over time, people started to see our works and efforts. Now, people encourage us a lot and kindness has replaced bad words.
Do you have partners, investors?
We just work as a family. My son, who is a designer for Lalique, regularly gives me his opinion on my work. We have good friends who bring us their expertise on different topics but at the end there is only one pilot on the airplane.
Is it a choice?
As soon as there are investors, the demands for profitability increase. Ambition is good and is necessary. But avidity is not good for business.
Have you never been tempted to have investor ? Has no one contacted you?
Last summer, a foreign investor invited us to San Remo, Italy. I understood that he wanted above all to wash dirty money, or rip me off (probably both). I would have liked to find a good partner. Sometimes it's hard, being our own investor, but the great side is OUR absolute freedom of making decisions in terms of design and quality.
That makes me feel definitely good...
A last-minute good news for the watchband.
Recently, we presented to you the watchband that we designed for the Mille-Mer. However, at the last moment, we have found an idea that you should like.
Let's see the difference between the two designs :
Why's this last-minute change?
The answer is the integration of a universal link directly on the steel band. Thanks to this, our bracelet has a first link that allows you to change and remove easily, without the need of any tool. Then, you could buy either rubber/ leather watch band from Bohen or whereelse's which will adapt with no problems.
We have been told that there have been dissapointments with a 6h crown model from a competitor brand. In fact, they had to buy a specific screwdriver, and also buy an universal link when they wanted to change the strap. It is a big expense. Not to mention the risks of blocking the screw or damaging the screw thread.
With our system, equiped by quick release spring bars, you won't need any tool and you won't have to buy any additional accessory.
Case back in grade 5 titanium.
A number of members asked us what was the point of making the back of the watch in titanium. The answer shows several advantages :