11 questions to Cedric Bellon about his new CB01 GMT
1. What are the CB’s main environmental guidelines?
Simplicity, sobriety, in-house, local, natural or neutral, recycled or recyclable, repurposed, long-term, timeless…
Our mottos are:
“less is better”
Less material, less processes, less energy, less transport, less resources needs…
“do with what is at hand”
I like sailor’s mindset and pragmatism: when they facing a new challenge, they have to do it with what is onboard only. Then I like to look carefully at what is already available around before chasing for new resources and integrate it to my design process.
2. What are the CB’s main design guidelines?
Designing with environmental guidelines influences the process. It pushes to simplify, to find new ways to design and produce a watch.
A more sustainable product is durable, made to age. According to that CB watches are timeless. The purpose wasn’t to invent a “sustainable watch design language” but to find naturally what makes a more sustainable watch special with such a way of working.
Recycled stainless steel is resistant, stable, affordable and does not need to be chemically treated. That’s why CB watches are raw: it is used to make all the case components, the buckle and the dial. The shape of the skin-diver-type case is simply emphasized by polished and brushed surfaces.
3. Why a GMT in 2022?
I have the opportunity to take advantage of an unused stock of Soprod C125 automatic GMT movements, some of which certified chronometers.
A GMT / a second time zone is a useful and popular complication, fitting nicely with a tool-watch use. It is prefect to enlarge the CB01 collection.
4. Then the GMT will still be a CB01? Why not a CB02?
Yes, it will. Here is how I see the project: 1 case design = 1 case tooling = 1 name.
The GMT movement will take place in the same case as the first series for two reasons.
I have a tooling from the first series, I will use it for different versions in order to avoid an immediate new tooling production. It is more sustainable (> re-use = less material, less energy) and allows to install the CB01 as a real collection which will grow.
A CB02, which means a new case design, will come later.
5. Can you explain your CB01-GMT main design choices?
The CB01 is a tool-watch, 200m water resistant, screwed-down crown, simple, robust, timeless with design references circa 60s-70s (skin-diver case) and raw. A few surfaces are polished to structure the shapes by playing with light reflections.
The arrow has a simple message to deliver: “I am a GMT”.
It is iconic, readable, efficient, it claims the function.
The inner ring for the 24 hours instead of a locked bezel is justified mainly for 3 reasons.
1) It is less common than a 24h bezel > different from the most famous GMTs
2) It makes the case construction simpler, then more sustainable
3) It offers the CB01 design a new face (the previous has a rotating bezel)
6. Are dials different from the CB01 first edition?
To go further, the CB project needs to offer more than only one kind of finishes. That’s why the GMT will be available in 2 dial colors and 2 Super-LumiNova® colors.
The “naked” dial (brushed and engraved raw stainless-steel dial) is the symbol of the sustainable path. I did it first to be able to produce it in-house (case manufacture tooling) without any chemical process (galvanic processes). It is now typical from CB.
The CB01-GMT will be offered with a naked dial and a black PVD dial too.
PVD coating was the best way to have another dial color with a limited energetic and chemical impact. It doesn’t require galvanic treatments. Additionally, the dials of the CB01 GMT will only use unused machine capacity of the local Swiss supplier. This means that my dials will be added to a batch of other dials and therefore will not cause an additional use of resources.
7. Are the dial screws still part of the dial design? What is their purpose?
Yes, they are. They set the dial on the movement and are part of the CB dial’s identity.
Today the dial setting systems of watch movements are standard, but originally, screws were used by many watchmakers when watchmaking was not industrial yet. It was a convenient way to set dials on artisanal movements, and easier to remove and repair them.
Standardization and serial production changed it. I like such details to evoke this craftsmanship era.
8. What are the engineering guidelines?
The CB01-GMT construction (engineering) is simpler than the first series. Basically, it is made with less parts. The Bezel is a part of the case body and the case back is simplified (1 part only). It allows to use less material, less energy (machining) and increase the reliability (the more complicated the riskier…).
It is also a new face for the CB collection without new tooling.
With the CB01 GMT we have shown that by making the right efforts where its needed you can make a beautiful watch which is also sustainable.
9. New straps in 2022?
No, I will stick repurposed and naturally tanned leather straps handcrafted in Switzerland nearby the factory by Vicuspelle. But the CB01-GMT will offer a new strap colour.
10. Is the GMT still made out of recycled stainless-steel?
Yes, it is.
The CB01-GMT case, dial and buckle is made out of 100% recycled PuReSteel® that Thyssen Krupp, our partner, has developed for my watch.
11. Is the GMT Swiss Made?
Yes, the CB01-GMT is entirely made and assembled in Switzerland.
There are two kinds of components in the GMT:
- Components made in-house: cases (case body, back, bezel…), dials, buckles.
- Components from suppliers (movements, hands, crystals, gaskets, straps)
The Watch Angels’ manufacture allows to produce all the case components + the dial + the buckle. Which means that recycled stainless-steel bars are transformed in cases and dials in only one place.
The suppliers are selected as close as possible to the watch factory to provide components produced and transformed in Switzerland, like Watch Angels does with the cases and dials.
Working with local companies and doing in-house as much as possible is one of the keys to decrease the environmental footprint of CB watches: we decrease / avoid transport, which is one of the main factors of global warming.
100% of the components are Swiss Made, which allows CB watches to reach a high level of quality by working locally.
Finally, despite the scale of the project now, we contribute to support local networks and jobs, local skills and craftsmanship, to maintain the Swiss watchmaking patrimony.