As a watch and art collector, I have a personal interest in design, history, and innovative progress. Over the last decade during the modern watch renaissance, my passion for luxury Swiss timepieces has matured as I found myself gravitating towards fine and unique boutique watchmakers and brands that fused modern technology with the historical precision of Geneva watchmaking. My personal favorite team was BNB Concept, which was founded in 2004 and launched with the support of DeWitt Watches” href=”http://www.DeWitt.ch” target=”_blank”>Jerome DeWitt of DeWitt watches.
BNB became an industry phenom overnight with their innovative and extreme designs, concepts, and creations. Starting with the award winning DeWitt Differential Tourbillon, the BNB team were the immediate rock stars of the 21st century watch world. The company worked with over 30 companies which included Hublot, Concord, Bell & Ross, Franc Vila, and Jorg Hysek, just to name a few. Concord watches” href=”http://www.kings1912.com/timepieces.cfm” target=”_blank”>My favorite BNB creation was Concord’s C1 QuantumGravity!
Yet at Geneva’s SIHH 2010 show this past January, BNB Concept announced that they were going out of business. The company reportedly failed due to heavy debt and an account receivables believed to have been in excess of $10 milllion. To many, the death of the BNB Concept demonstrated the impact of the global financial crisis on luxury manufactures of the niche and boutique arenas.
However, the brilliance and experience of BNB Concept will forever remain in the heart of watch enthusiasts and should inspire a new generation of innovation. This innovation will require sufficient funding as verticalization and acquisitions by major brands will dominate the industry clean-up process over the next five years. According to industry sources, Hublot’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver plans to purchases BNB Concept’s watchmaking machinery and plans to hire at least 30 of BNB’s watchmakers, seven of which belong to the Confrerie. They will work under the new rubric “Confrerie Hublot” that will manufacture Hublot timepieces to sell for more than $250,000.
While the “Confrerie Hublot” watches will eventually be available exclusively at King Jewelers in Nashville, we will all sorely miss the innovative genius and hyberbolic exploration in which BNB Concept amazed our watch industry with year in and year out. I can say that it was an extreme rush when all BNB creations were released at Baselworld each year and it was an honor to have carried and sold numerous BNB watches over the years.
About David King, King Jewelers
David King is the owner of King Jewelers Nashville who has a passion for watches and writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in English and Chemistry, David and his brother Jono King are the fifth generation to own and operate King Jewelers.
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