French-based Aiôn Group SA recently purchased Felsa Swiss SA to build out a large watchmaking facility in France.
As part of the purchase, Aiôn Group acquired 450 watchmaking machines. Critically, they also acquired the machines and the intellectual property that allows them to produce balance springs, something very few watch manufactures have the capability to do in-house.
In speaking with Professional Watches, the Aiôn Group stated, “Our factory is able to produce for our watch brands as well as third-party brands” and the goal is to become an alternative to Swiss and Asian manufacturers.
Starting summer 2022, Aiôn Group will begin building its 110,000 square foot French watchmaking facility in Southern France (La Ciotat) — broken down into allotments for factory, workshops, territory offices, training, and meeting areas — which will be situated on a 320,000 square foot plot of land overlooking La Ciotat Bay.
The projected annual production capacity is 400,000 movements by 2025, and it’s expected that 160 staff will be brought on to scale up over a 5-year period. In the meantime, Aiôn Group is operating out of a building nearby the construction site and will transition to the new facility once construction is completed.
Considering the proximity of Switzerland to France, and that so many Swiss-based watchmakers speak French, and/or live in France, finding talented technicians, engineers, and watchmakers will be easier than if based in a country not bordering Switzerland.
Photos by Aiôn Group.