Refreshingly new approach

Bruno Grande proclaims that "everything is new". The statement by the chief operating officer of JeanRichard underscores the brand's mission to redefine the spirit of JeanRichard, focusing on a complete change in strategy to build up sales and increase brand recognition.

JeanRichard has hovered under the radar for years. The venerable marque named after Swiss watchmaking pioneer Daniel JeanRichard - who is credited with bringing the craft to Neuchâtel and is recognised as one of Switzerland's oldest recorded watchmakers - garners respect due to a history of quality in-house movements and unique timepieces.

The company is part of the Sowind Group, a partnership with haute watch manufacturing giant Girard-Perregaux - which may have contributed to JeanRichard's playing second fiddle to its cousin as it struggled to make a name for itself.

Grande says that is all going to change, now that Sowind is owned by the Kering Group, formerly PPR.

Grande says the brand is making a concerted effort "to refresh its product line from scratch - new designs, new movements, new image. Our aim was to create an iconic, emblematic model that would be instantly recognisable, and at the best possible price - something with a unique look".

The redesign has resulted in an original cushion-shaped case with a round bezel.

In addition, the entire JeanRichard portfolio was reorganised into four collections and divided into two segments: the manufacture watches, which will have their own movements; and the bulk of the collection, which will use standard movements and be priced in a more accessible range.

The first two collections, launched early this year, were the 1681 and the Terrascope. The elegant, vintage-looking 1681 honours the year in which Daniel JeanRichard created his first wristwatch. It features a 44mm cushion case, a lacquered dial and rhodium-plated hands and indices, with small seconds at nine o' clock nodding to the watch's historical inspiration. Its heartbeat pulses inside the JR1000 calibre, developed and constructed entirely in the manufacture and providing 48 hours of power reserve. The watch is available in steel or pink gold, well complemented by a honey-brown ostrich strap.

The Terrascope, which has been around for a few years in various guises, is now showing a sportier and more adventurous aesthetic. Water resistant to 100 metres, it is powered by the JR60 calibre, which provides 42 hours of power reserve. There are three versions available: a beige, white or brushed-silver dial. The customer can also opt for leather or rubber straps as alternatives to the stainless-steel bracelet.

At BaselWorld, JeanRichard unveiled two more of its latest collections that pay tribute to nature's elements: the Aquascope and the Aeroscope.

The redesigned Aquascope is driven by a high-powered, automatic-wound mechanical movement, the JR60, giving it a power reserve of 42 hours.

It features a 46mm robust case with a reinforced sapphire crystal and screw-down caseback and crown, ensuring water resistance to 300 metres. Its unidirectional rotational diver's bezel has been designed for excellent grip and precise setting of dive time. The new collection boasts several colours and finishing variants - the aluminium bezel in blue PVD coating or black DLC. The bracelet comes in brushed stainless steel with a butterfly clasp or rubber strap.

For the Aeroscope, JeanRichard sought inspiration from flight-panel instruments to create a collection featuring large numerals and luminescent indexes in orange, white or black with a contrasting background. The automatic chronograph movement JR66, which also offers a power reserve of 42 hours, is designed to measure aerial exploits with precision. The dials come in rhodium-treated black or grey, vertical satin finishing and sunken counters with circular satin finishing, or in matte white.

The cushion-shaped case is made in titanium, a metal favoured in avionic design for its lightweight durability. The collection offers a wide range of choices ranging from grey or black titanium with a combination of cases, lugs and bezels. The watch comes with leather bracelets with contrasting stitches in off-white or orange, or in rubber.

JeanRichard has chosen an eclectic mix of personalities to represent the new Terrascope, Aquascope and Aeroscope collections, each firmly linked with one of the three elements - earth, air and water - echoed in the names of the collection.

On land, JeanRichard is collaborating with British photographer Nick Brandt and supporting the Big Life Foundation, which is devoted to wildlife conservation.

At sea, yachtsman Franck Cammas has been an ambassador for JeanRichard since May 2011, when the Aquascope timepiece accompanied him on the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race around the world, where he skippered Groupama to victory.

For its first flight, the Aeroscope chose Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. An experienced pilot, he made history on January 15, 2009, when he ditched the failing Airbus A320 he was piloting into the Hudson River in New York City, saving the lives of all 155 people on board.

"Rather than talking about ourselves, we decided to speak about our customer, about ordinary people who do extraordinary things and who share the same 'philosophy of life' as our brand," Grande says.

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