In 1991, the designer Alexander Burhans created the a.b.art watch label in Germany after having opened a jewelry and watches specialty store in Freiburg i. B. a couple of years earlier, in 1989. In retrospect, this first step into the world of puristical design can be seen as the actual birth hour of the watch label. a.b.art grew rapidly.
At the end of the 90’s, more than 10 000 a.b.art watches were being sold every year in the two main markets Germany and Switzerland as well as in Belgium, Norway and the USA. Due to this whirlwind development, a.b.art was integrated into fashiontime ltd in 2003, which set the course for international growth. From the beginning, this Swiss private label watch producer, founded in 1986 and located in Biel, the watch capital of the world, had been involved in the production of a.b.art. This take-over by the Swiss made the originally German watch brand a.b.art automatically a Swiss Made label. Besides the production of all a.b.art timepieces, fashiontime is now responsible for their marketing, communication and distribution, too.
a.b.art Swiss Made is a watch brand for women and men who prefer unostentatious design. a.b.art is different, a.b.art is authentic. We’re not about glitter and glamour but much rather about sophisticated beauty, low-key shapes and material as well as high Swiss quality. a.b.art is an expression of the passion and care with which watches are being produced in this Swiss company day in and day out. a.b.art deliberately works without well-known product designers, but instead trusts its own internal creative team to design all collections with know-how and meticulousness.
The company a.b.art fashiontime ltd is a small and well-rehearsed team of specialists trying to advance the a.b.art label in small steps by passionately committing to it with their heart and soul. The Swiss company with its flat hierarchy structure is lead by:
- François Zahnd, General Manager
- Alexander Burhans, Manager Distribution Germany
- Daniel Etter, Manager Marketing and Communication
- Stefan Geringer, Head of Sales
a.b.art is growing
There has been a lot of activity to raise the brand awareness and to continuously enlarge the distribution net since the integration of a.b.art into fashiontime ltd company at the end of 2003. Not only did we massively expand in our main markets Germany and Switzerland in the last few years, but we also established new and interesting distribution organizations in countries like the Netherlands, England, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Turkey and China.
In several countries the distribution is directly managed by headquarters, which enables a.b.art to let substantiated feedback flow into the label’s development and quality assurance. And with the increased expansion of the collection, more than 20 000 a.b.art timepieces per year are now produced at the Swiss watch producer’s from Biel… and this is only the beginning of the success.
The a.b.art design team
Befitting the a.b.art brand philosophy, which considers restraint, authenticity and unassumingness as important factors in the developing process of our watches, the design of our a.b.art collection is not one single person’s work but the achievement of different people with different professional expertise. Under the leadership of François Zahnd (CEO and Watch Manufacturer) Reto Wahli (Graphic Designer and Illustrator), Daniel Etter (Communications Expert) and Alexander Burhans (a.b.art Founder) complete the team. In recurring creative workshops all inputs are discussed, which guarantees careful step-for-step development of each design.
Knowing that the watch label has received a FORM 99 award in Germany in 1999 for three of its models makes it obvious that the a.b.art collection has highest design standards. Back then one of the series awarded a price was series A with the 31-hole date indication, which, even though not in our collection anymore, is still a full part of permanent collections in several well-known museum shops, e.g. the MOMA in New York. Last year yet again the German National Confederations of Skilled Crafts chose two a.b.art models, EL 106 and I 101, and awarded them a FORM 08 certificate. The jury was especially impressed by the design and form of the two watches.
The admittance to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH in the spring of 2007 means another big step to assure high quality products and is another commitment to Swiss Made production. With this development comes our need to further structure and tighten our a.b.art collection. A first step in this direction was made at the end of 2008 with the finishing of all our a.b.art series with sapphire glasses and the development of our own a.b.art steel bangle as an alternative to our leather straps.