EPHJ Tables Rondes IMG 9189

The EPHJ-EPMT-SMT Fair, behind the watchmaking scene

Geneva, June 20-23, 2017. AJS Production, winner of the Exhibitor's Prize of 2016 of the EPHJ - EPMT – SMT, will be one of more than 850 exhibitors at the Palexpo in Geneva. Over 20,000 professional visitors are expected….

By Joel Grandjean

As each year, a program of round tables will offer a series of conferences and focus on real know-how. Watchonista, your webzine, is connected in a special way, as its editor in chief – that would be me – will be hosting a round table on "Materials" on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Visitors must register, only for professionals…

20,000 visitors and a Federal Counsellor

As head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), Johann Schneider-Amman will be doing the opening honors for the sixteenth edition of this event – which has an unpronounceable name for the general public –the most important annual get-together of all of Switzerland's professional trade fairs. It is to watchmaking what a fabric fair would be to fashion i.e., a place where trends are born, since it is the source of technologies and processes that engender novelties. The EPHJ-EPMT-SMT is expecting over 20,000 visitors, a number extrapolated from the 2016 figures.

Among the visitors considered professionals, will be many who will recognize each other, namely specialized journalists and very well-informed collectors. They come to this hotbed of world premiere launches to do their yearly shopping for information and new contacts, and to acquire knowledge. And above all, they have understood that everything that is about to place in the market in the next two years will take root here, in these open and convivial spaces, where local ideas, shadowy players, assiduous talents and outstanding engineering mingle. Because it is here that everything that happens before and after the watch can be found, the upstream and downstream of the finished product, as it were. There are no brands, no watches, only the professional environment, joined by the related segments, like the world of other micro-technologies and the medtech segment.  The atmosphere is friendly, the desire to listen and share is at its highest level for the sector.


Can it be? No brands?

André Saunier, who is also the founder and owner of the watch brand Louis Chevrolet, is a typical example of this sacrosanct virtue.He is not here to exhibit his watches – he wouldn't have been allowed to do so anyway – rather, he has come under the AJS Production banner, a company that is well known in the watchmaking supply chain. Not only is this business a key one in the industry, but it became truly famous after it ended up on the dais of the Grand Prix of Exhibitors in 2016.

An award carried by the entire sector

There is no greater praise than that received by one's peers."It's the start of an adventure," say André and Anthony Saunier, commenting on their Modularium, an innovation that gave them space in front of the stage at the 2016 edition of the fair."We could quadruple our current production within six to twelve months." The company, a supplier to the Swiss watch industry, was founded in the Jura in 1998, and is a sister company of the watch brand Louis Chevrolet. It's a genuine pearl that bolsters the family's entrepreneurial pride.

The two men, father and son, are vocal in their enthusiasm. "This award is an encouragement.Innovation in a company is a separate segment, one where you have to take risks. You never know if you are on the right track. Besides, at AJS Production, we also innovate the manufacturing processes. We design new and more modern processes. In fact, we are modernizing the industry."

Another source of satisfaction with the award is the fact that it has been given by the other 880 exhibitors at the fair. "The exhibitors are the ones who vote for a dossier that has been entered. Ultimately, it's the other companies at the fair that give their opinion. So for us, the award has a great value, because it represents recognition by the industry. This event at the Palexpo in Geneva focuses on the industrial environment of three distinct economic segments, namely watchmaking (EPHJ), micro-technologies (EPMT), and medical technology (SMT). Now, as it heads towards its twentieth anniversary, it has become the most important professional annual fair in Switzerland.


Did this award attract new clients? "To date, we have six clients for the Modularium, and some came because of the award. Among them were customers who were already benefiting from other competencies our company could offer. That kind of award is vital for people who already trust us. They are comforted in their choice of an innovative company, they will feel they have the right partner."

The Modularium, a plate with a million configurations

On its homepage, AJS Production hosts a visual, animated spectacle of this invention. It lets one discover the true nature of this invention and the incredible way in which it opens myriad options to personalize watch movements.Imagine a plate that has been conceived to host all the holes needed for future developments.It could be a particular arrangement, or an additional complication that will appear at some unexpected place on the dial. The Sauniers are thrilled with their creation: "The Modularium offers brands a new vision of watch complications by way of a portfolio of over a million configurations. It's a boon for caliber designers, since the so-called universal plate lets them add an infinite number of exploratory options to their creativity. "This second plate can be added onto a base caliber, which, for brands that do not intend to do like the others, allows for customization as a strategic possibility.

Continuous innovation

The two men are from the Jura, which already suggests something about their determination and disruptive spirit.  Indeed, the Sauniers don't do anything like other people. Their watch manufacture, which was also present at the 2016 fair, showed some of the other innovations that had been overshadowed by the Modularium. There was the Projection Structurale, a process that allows use of a special paint that can be worked with a laser.  The process allows for identical and industrial-scale reproduction – i.e., repeatable as needed – of traditional horological decorations or brand new ones. The Sauniers also came up with a new type of laser engraving in 3D using a plain photograph. The reproduction is perfect, in high resolution and in three dimensions. One example: the attractive and original miniature moon, which can be seen at the Palexpo in Geneva. What AJS Production does, is provide industrial poetry and pragmatic intelligence for brands seeking sharp differentiation and care for detail in a market that is more than crowded. A feat that has earned respect.

Modularium cadran design


Visitors must register, only for professionals http://bit.ly/2sjroiM

Round table program at the EPHJ-EPMT-SMT 2017

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

EPHJ 2019 - A Breeding Ground For Innovation In Watchmaking

By Watchonista
Although most of the marketing speeches of watch brands are that "everything is done in-house," watchmaking is above all a world of co-contracting...

A Closer Look at the Resurgent EPHJ Exhibition

By Joël A. GrandjeanContributor
The roots of this fair have always been watchmaking. But this tree also produces fruit in other precision technologies, including MedTech. The 2018 edition...

EPHJ-EPMT-SMT: Killer prices

By Joel GrandjeanEditor-in-Chief
Subcontractors (or rather co-contractors as they put up with the ups and downs of the sector) are sometimes victims of "attempted economic murder"....