Prix Gaïa 2000 – Simone Bédat. Entrepreneurship category
She was awarded for the entrepreneurial skills she first developed at Raymond Weil and later at Bédat & Co, the company she founded.
- Co-founder of Raymond Weil SA.
- Creation of Bédat & Co with her son, Christian Bédat.
- Creation of the A.O.S.C. (certified Swiss designation) by Bédat & Co.
Bédat had her first contact with the watchmaking world at the young age of 16 as a commercial trainee at watch case workshop in Porrentruy. However, she really made her debut in the watchmaking industry only ten years later at Camy Watch in Geneva, when Raymond Weil was manager.
In 1975, Simone Bédat and Raymond Weil left the manufacture and co-founded Raymond Weil SA. Bédat actively participated in the development of the company's products and growth. She worked in the production and sales departments.
The 3 laureates : Simone Bédat, René Bannwart and Kathleen Pritschard
Armed with an impressive experience, she left Raymond Weil SA and created Bédat & Co with her son in October 1996. They worked hard to give Bédat & Co the aura of a brand and its own identity and universe. They designed refined, elegant and subtle watches of high quality but within a reasonable price range. It should be noted that the brand's pieces were produced in limited editions and were also numbered.
The No. 3 collection was dedicated to women and featured diamond-set straps. The No. 33 was an evolution of the precedent version and had the particularity of being entirely reversible. One of Bédat & Co's most significant watches was introduced in the No. 7 collection - a chronograph with a removable strap that could thus be transformed into either a pocket watch, by simply adding a bow, or a table clock.
They also launched the A.O.S.C., a Swiss Certified Label of Origin. The new label was more rigorous than the “Swiss Made” and guaranteed that the components and production were entirely made in Switzerland.
It was Bédat & Co's guarantee to its customers and proved its allegiance to the Swiss watchmaking legacy, despite its small-scale activity.
When it was time to retire, Bédat had no intention of stopping her activities and thus stayed involved in the development of the company.
Since its creation in 1996, Bédat & Co has grown exponentially and is present in many points of sale around the world, mainly in the USA.
The reinforcement of the company's distribution sector was made possible thanks to the collaboration with Gucci. Indeed, in December 2000, Gucci signed an agreement with Bédat & Co - it now controls the company but the Bédat family is still at the head.