“At the start, when we said we wanted to manufacture everything in France, or mostly France, we weren’t believed,” says Didier Finck, 36, co-founder of the SME with Ludovic Zussa, 38. “Manufacturing in France is complex”, abounds the latter, most of the French players in the sector operating in fact for the Swiss watch industry, a benchmark in the field.

For the movement, all the parts that make the watch work, they have entered into a partnership with Péquignet, the only watchmaker in France to manufacture its own mechanism.

Based in the cradle of French watchmaking, in Morteau in the Doubs, this luxury manufacture offered them its “EPM03” caliber. But of the 180 components of it, 28% are however created in Switzerland.

“Certain skills no longer exist in France”, in particular “since the 1970s with the arrival of quartz”, explains Dani Royer, president of Pequignet, a company with 22 employees which also produces its own watches with “a maximum” of components. French for 50 years.

He welcomes Apose’s approach, which “makes it possible to increase the visibility of true French watchmaking”.

– “Quality French watchmaking” –

“Very few of us follow this approach and the more there is this kind of approach, the more possibilities there will be to reindustrialize all types of components (of the movement) in France”, he believes. “We must keep the hope of recreating quality French watchmaking”.

For the two Alsatian entrepreneurs, the idea of ​​launching their own brand took shape while working for the Swiss watch giant Swatch. Didier Finck is in design, Ludovic Zussa on the industrial side.

“From the start, our goal was to show that we could make a watch 100% in France,” insists Mr. Finck.

“We also wanted to offer another way of telling the time, for example we did not want to overload the dials”, but sober and refined watches, “with a very French touch”, adds Ludovic Zussa.

After two bank loans of 120,000 and 130,000 euros gleaned from investors, Apose markets its first production, “N ° 3”, at the end of 2020.

Each watch is assembled by hand by Romain Thiriet, Apose’s watchmaker, at the brand’s premises in Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin).

“The challenge is really special with Apose”, explains Mr. Thiriet, 27 years old and also technical manager of the young SME. The man who previously made bespoke watches also aims to “contribute to the revival of French watchmaking”.

The transition to a French-made watch was long and complex.

In Switzerland or Asia, “two or three suppliers can get you on the road”, explains Ludovic Zussa. But in France, it’s complicated: for example, “there has been no dial manufacturer” since 2000, which “forced us to go through four suppliers”.

– Longchamp for straps –

“About a year” was necessary “to create a pool of exclusively French suppliers, to make the prototypes and to validate them.

In total, around fifteen suppliers take part in the Apose project, including Longchamp, which reserves its leather scraps to make the straps.

The result ? The N°3-100, offered since April in a limited series of 200 copies at 2,250 euros.

The made in France “has a cost”, underlines the president of Péquignet. “You cannot buy a watch for 50 euros and expect it to be made in France”. A logic that buyers understand more and more, especially since the Covid pandemic, according to Mr. Royer.

For the future, the young company aims to hire “about ten” people by 2024.

“We are proud to prove that French watchmaking is not dead and that we were able to make a 100% French watch in a year and a half”, the only one on the market, continues the designer. “We hope that others will follow us”.