a. b. art is a Swiss watch brand founded in 1991 as a joint venture between Alexander Burhans a jewelery and watch shop owner from Freiburg,Switzerland and François Zahnd, founder of Swiss watch company "fashion time".The successful collaboration produced many unique and distinctive timepieces. In 1999, the a.b.art range won the Form 99 Award for three models.They produce high quality ladies and gents watches.
History of a.b art watch brand
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 10000 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.
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 the company massively expand in its main markets Germany and Switzerland in the last few years, but a.b.art 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 20000 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 the watches, the design of 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.
Model development up to today
Only the classical series K is left from the original 2003 base collection with its leader models A and T. As of late a lot of time and effort has been invested in the segmenting and structuring of the collection.
2005 :Launch of two angular ladies’ size watches, the series Z and E. The series Z is distinguished by its rectangular shape and the interchangeable colored straps. The series E, one of the most sold models of the a.b.art collection, captivates for its flat and square shape.
2006 :Presentation of the series D and M. Series D is an understated, round ladies’ size watch with integrated leather strap. Series M is actually a men’s watch in a low-key, timeless design which is well liked by women as well.
2007 :Extension of the leader model E by adding a smaller version, series ES (E small), and a larger version, series EL (E large). a.b.art added series KL (K large) to the classical series K and launched the first mechanical hand wind a.b.art watch, the stainless steel series MM, based on the legendary pocket watch movement Unitas 6498-1.
2008:Continuation of the MM line with a black and a gilded (PVD Vacuum Plating) case as well as a superluminova dial version. Introduction of series I, a small, rectangular baguette watch exclusively for women, and launch of the smallest K version, series KS.
2009:Launch of series O and OC, which have the same cylindrical case. The successful 31-hole date indication first seen in a.b art series A is being reintroduced in series O, while series OC is a 12-hour chronograph.
2010: Launch of series ZS – an actual re-design of series Z: flatter, finer, smaller and more delicate, but still with the popular interchangeable strap. And creation of series KLD (KL with date indicator) and continuation of the classic series K. Extension of the series O and OC with completely black models (PVD).
2011: Presentation of the new MA series fitted with automatic movement as a replacement for the MM line (hand-winding movement). With the KSD series, a small lady watch completes our Classic Line. Available in 6 variations,all of them are fitted with a calendar. New stainless steel cases with gray PVD coating (gun colour) are fitted with tone on tone dials in black and grey. Now available on O, OC, E and IT series. Introduction and launch of over 20 novelties.
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 a.b art's 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.
Official website: http://www.abartuhren.ch