Friday, January 30, 2009

Winding Down - Bedat & Co.

This has been a tough week for lovers of good design. The shelter magazine with a young and somewhat urban bent, Domino, is folding as reported on several blogs and yesterday I saw that Bedat & Co., a Swiss watchmaker is likely winding down. The company was started by Simone Bedat and her son Christian in 1996. Both mother and son grew up in the Swiss watch industry, with Simone's last post as a partner in Raymond Weil prior to going out to found her namesake brand. After a bit of research the possible reasons for closure appear to be a bit more than the economic malaise. The Bedat's sold the company to Gucci in 2000 and departed in 2006. What had been a small, family run, niche producer was pushed into higher production and distribution. There are varying opinions about a lessening of quality under Gucci's management on which I cannot comment.

I have more than a passing interest as I purchased a Bedat No7 shortly after the company began distributing watches in the US. I chose my watch because of it's clean lines appropriate for wear with a suit, impeccable craftsmanship, and the fact that it was not produced by one of the biggies. I was particularly taken by the Bedat logo which is both a figure 8 and two opposing B's signifying the two Bedats. It appears on the face at the 8 o'clock position and also on the date display every 8th day of the month. I always make a point of wearing it on the 8th to see the logo number unique to these watches. Also the guilloche work on the faces of these watches is, in my opinion, much finer than any offered by Cartier the closest watch in appearance. The picture above is my well worn No7 a staple of my wardrobe.

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