Genre – “A new complication is 1 to 3 million” – Personality and interviews


Brands are created, others die. Should we remind ourselves? Paradoxically, no. Because if an independent brand were to launch, they wouldn’t know how to choose when to do it. 2000s? Delicates, large groups were being structured and “independent watchmaking” had hardly any recognition. 2006-2008? Lehman Brothers, subprime: not quite the right time. 2014? European crisis. 2018? Mini-crash of the stock market. 2019? Covid. If you hesitate too much, you never start. If the idea is good and so is the product, you shouldn’t wait for the opportunity, but create it.

This is what Genus has chosen to do. The brand was created 6 years ago, released its first model 3 years ago. It’s the instant jackpot, with a GPHG award from this first year of marketing (Mechanical Exception category). Today Genus produces about fifteen pieces a year, for an average price ranging from 120 to 140,000 CHF. That’s it for the start. All that remains is to build the brand.

Genus GPHG Trophy 2019 © GPHG

Know your customer

Catherine Henry, co-founder, now has a perspective on the business. And on the Genus sales model above all: “We have few resellers and sometimes we even work directly, because what takes precedence over everything else is knowing the customer”. This is indeed a great challenge for Genus, of which a large number of models are customized, purchased in-store or directly.

GNS1.2 TD © Genius

Slip into empty spaces

Second observation: the necessary reactivity. “When a customer wants his he watch, he wants it as soon as possible. He is up to us to adapt, even if he calls us on Sunday morning ”. But answering the phone is not enough and Catherine Henry quickly adds: “What matters is as much a good understanding of the customer’s request as being able to quickly accomplish what he wants. This implies having good relationships with one’s partners ”. But while one might think that Genus is in a weak position to order a quadrant here, a setting there, in the face of massive orders from large groups that tend to prevail among subcontractors, Catherine Henry remarks otherwise: “On the contrary, we succeed. to slip into the interstices of these major orders. Our requests are very unitary, very specific, and with respect and kindness, we always end up finding an agreement “.

GNS1.1 RG © Genius

1.5 times harder

An agreement … for customizations, not for pure product development. “In fact, it costs between 1 and 3 million francs to develop a new complication,” explains Catherine Henry. An investment that is not currently planned for Genus. The (one and only) movement currently proposed, however, has the technical capabilities (free space and torque) to cause a possible further complication. There is no doubt that the notebooks are already full …

Trust in the brand remains, a decisive element in the purchase act. In this regard, Catherine Henry recalls the ancestry of independent watchmakers. “We are following in the footsteps of Max Büsser and Felix Baumgartner. When they started 20 years ago, it was twice as difficult for them as it was for a band. Today they paved the way, for us it is only 1.5 times harder! “, The person concerned smiles.

GNS1.2 RG © Genius


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