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Russian Watches "Orion"

Orion Watch
Several years ago the Moscow trade company Interex-Orion was just selling watches. Nowadays Interex-Orion makes watches. The company is a successful watchmaker, a leader among Russian ateliers de terminage – new, viable and perspective phenomenon of watch business in Russia.

Private ateliers de terminage appeared in Russia something about ten years ago. But the best of them are producing already more watches than dinosaurs of Russian watch industry with their multi-thousands stuff. Trump-cards of these watch neophytes are: independence, excellent knowledge of market niche, consumers’ priorities, tastes and finally – stunning efficiency. Sometimes it takes for a model just 3 months to make its way from an idea to a shop counter. Thus it is not surprise that Russian ateliers to terminage soon earned lords-of-market reputation.

Founded in 1990 Interex-Orion was pure wholesaler trading company for a long period of time. The company was the biggest dealer of Vostok watch manufacturer. 4-year dealing experience helped to learn customers’ tastes that have significantly changed by that time. Management team of the company felt its high point time to suggest completely new watches to Russian customers.

Since 1996 the company started to purchase assembling and test equipment, thought over how to implement technological line, had multiple talks with potential suppliers, reformed its own distribution. The main supplier of mechanical hand-wound calibers till 2002 was the 1-st Moscow watch manufacture Poljot. It provides Interex-Orion with calibers 2614, 26668, 26669 and 2612-alarm. Mechanical calibers 2414 and 2409 were bought at Vostok and Slava factories. Lady’s models are equipped with calibers 1509 and 2015 produced in Zarja watch factory (Penza-city). Inexpensive, complicated automatic calibers, cases and bands were ordered in Hong Kong.

The company always wished to be independent company, to create, make and to sell what its customers want to see. The logical result of such aspiration to creative independence was an organization of own design studio and assembling production, which allowed the company to stay flexible and well-timed, on Russian watch market fluctuations, - Interex-Orion director Andrei Kopeliovich.

First serious collection labeled with ORION brand, came on the market in 1999. The company produces watches of 3 relative price segments.

Basic – classical watches ORION equipped with inexpensive Russian hand-wound calibers and quartz movements (Interrex-Orion included quartz watches in its production line in order to vary and complete assortment.)

Middle – limited editions multifunctional mechanics, CARDI brand watches (collections Viking, Crystal, Captain), “open-heart” models with Hong Kong automatic calibers, day/night and 24-hour indicator, day-date calendar.

High – skeleton-watches ORION (Hong Kong movements), multifunctional Divers and Auto watches with “open-heart” and engraved movements, water resistant 100 m; pocket skeleton-watches with crystal case-back.

All in all Interex-Orion offers now about 45 models for men and over 50 models for women.

Brand Cardi was bought by Interex-Orion in 2002. Founded in 1991 Cardi – was the 1st Russian private company which opened watch atelier de terminage. Inexpensive original designed models with bright dials were very popular in Russia of post-perestroyka times. Re-launch of Cardi was a success. Interex-Orion applied on new product its own quality standards, kept original design of Cardi watches, and effectively integrated Cardi in Orion’s distribution system. It was the first precedent in Russia when one watch brand successfully absorbed another.

Interex-Orion’s stuff including management and distribution department consists of 31 men only. Productive capacity more than 20 000 watches a month. Significant output and the fact that all spare parts come to Interex-Orion from different suppliers it’s hard to overestimate importance of quality control. In order not to reinvent bicycle Interex-Orion using technical documentation scrupulously reconstructed quality-control line, which was elaborated at Poljot factory in Soviet times. But there is one but important difference between the old and new lines: amount of quality-control operators at Interex-Orion is similar to amount of assemblers. All parts and details are getting through strict tests before to be passed to assembling line. All movements are going through, so called, “pre-sale preparation”.

Models of basic price segment undergo 3-4 days test on rate accuracy and endurance to dynamic and temperature influences. The same tests for middle-segment watches take up to 7-10 days, high-segment watches are tested during 12 days min. Thus quantity of reclamation was reduced to minimum.

Watches made by Interex-Orion take confident 3rd place after Poljot and Vostok watches in Russian watch export. Due to growing interest in Russian market and its products, for a past two years company has been “attacked” by foreign customers from all over the world. USA, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Norway are just few from a list of potentially interested buyers in Orion’s production, who had already tested sales at domestic markets.

Interex-Orion has ten big distributors, dozens small ones and large plans for the future. Recently the company has bought additional equipment for watch decoration. The company’s art department decided to equip watches of basic price segment with crystal case back. So plates and bridges of Russian movements have to be decorated properly. Big plates of Slava’s 2409 caliber leave to decorators a large space for fantasy and creation.

What’s more profitable now in Russia – to produce or to assemble watches? Fierce discussion is still going on. While some people are arguing, others are working. They’re proving that in presence of large amount qualified workers, peculiarities of tax laws and good management Russian ateliers de terminage have bright promising future.

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