Breaking: Movement manufacturer ISASWISS is closing



The news starts to spread on the Internet that the Swiss movement manufacturer ISASWISS is closing its doors. A few of their customers received a letter dated October 5, signed by Charles Chong, Chairman and CEO, in which he blames the “rapid slump of global watch market and the less visibility of the future global economic environment” for ceasing the global operations of ISA Group and Companies.

He also promises to “continue to produce and deliver as much as possible outstanding orders” before pulling the plug at the end of October.

According to the L’Est Républicaine, in France, the decision to close ISA Group was taken by their main shareholder in Hong Kong without giving any warning. The 74 employees of ISA France were only informed yesterday, quite a shock for these residents of Val de Morteau. Just a few kilometres away in Brenets, Switzerland, another 45 employees are also affected, they too will have to start looking for work.

ISASWISS was around for more than 50 years and while we can agree with the rapid slump of global watch market excuse, they can’t blame everything on the economy. From what I was told, their customer support was far from stellar and there is no better example to illustrate it than the fact that they communicated the closing of the company to only a few of their customers, the others will learn about it on Facebook or maybe here on WatchPaper. They not even bothered posting the letter or a press release on their website.

I was chatting this morning with the owner of a microbrand who dealt with ISASWISS, and he told me that they were the sort of company that would not take seriously small clients, they would not answer the phone, and if a deal would go through, they would not even provide a user manual with the movements that were ordered. Surprise, surprise, the next model of this microbrand was designed based on a movement  made by one of the major competitors of ISASWISS.

Clearly, things are changing in the watch industry and those who are not willing to adapt will not survive. I have the feeling that ISAWSWISS is not the last ship to sink in this storm.

As a graphic designer, I'm fascinated by the crossroads between technology and aesthetics. Horology is one of these crafts, where art and engineering come together to produce mechanical wonders that grace the eye. WatchPaper was born from the desire to create an online tool where I can share my passion for watches.