Neuchâtel, February 2024 - Based in the heart of Watch Valley, in Neuchâtel, Swiss independent watchmaker BA111OD is a treasure among the best-kept secrets, whose mission is to inspire passion for Swiss mechanical watchmaking, by ensuring that its exceptional expertise is accessible. Founded in 2019 by Thomas Baillod, the brand quickly made a name for itself with its Swiss-made "Spectacular Wrist Machines", praised as much for their cutting-edge design, selected materials and integrated innovations, as for their price positioning. Underpinned by its founder's values of authenticity, spontaneity and transparency, BA111OD appeals to a wide audience.
From a start-up…
BA111OD is a successful start-up that has been the talk of the town since its launch in 2019. Because the brand stands out in the traditional watchmaking landscape, and because it sells. At its head is Thomas Baillod, a dynamic entrepreneur from Neuchâtel with a background in the watchmaking industry and a focus on the watchmaking of tomorrow. Convinced that, after marketing, digital transformation will have an impact on distribution, he is looking for new ways to optimise the current model and rethink margins in favour of the customer. Alone in his garage, with no funding and no investors, in 2019 he created a concept based on his idea and launched BA111OD on 11.10 at 11.10 am on the LinkedIn network. He sold his first watches immediately afterwards. As the world sinks into the health crisis linked to covid, sales continue to grow.
…to an established brand.
The concept has become an exponentially growing brand, with the mission of inspiring a passion for Swiss mechanical watchmaking, while ensuring that its exceptional expertise is accessible. Launched on 11.10 at 11.10am, the young Swiss brand has grown considerably: it has already launched 8 collections, 3 watch complications, developed a manufacture module and pioneered connected glass. It has sold more than 6,000 watches, including 700 tourbillons, mainly in Switzerland. Because it has democratised fine watchmaking with its Swiss-made Chapter 4 Tourbillons, equipped with the very first connected glass in watchmaking.
BA111OD currently boasts 8 collections - all designed in-house by Senior Designer Liliane Murenzi - divided into Chapters, three of which feature renowned watchmaking complications: the chronograph, the tourbillon and, last but not least, a new time-reading device with a Manufacture module. The development and production of the Chapter 4 Tourbillon and the CHPTR_Δ with its unique Manufacture module are the result of an exclusive collaboration with the talented watch designer from La Chaux-de-Fonds, Olivier Mory. Each Chapter embodies a DNA unique to the brand, with captivating plays on transparency and light, and a crown deliberately positioned at 4 o'clock.
The exclusively Swiss-made BA111OD watches, with their steel or titanium cases, with or without black or gold PVC coating, and bezels with or without laboratory diamonds (for ethical reasons), are equipped with a mechanical movement with automatic or manual winding, depending on the model. Available in sizes ranging from 36 mm to 44 mm in diameter, they are fitted with an NFC chip (or two) placed either in the glass of the watch, a world first (Chapters 4 and CHPTR_Δ), or in the strap.
Anchored in the Watch Valley
The company employs a team of 7 people on two sites in the city of Neuchâtel. The head office, in the prestigious Villa Castellane, houses the design, communications, sales, human resources and finance departments. The Rue des Moulins premises house a T2 watchmaking workshop (for fitting the dial, hands and case) & T3 (for fitting the strap), as well as the brand's after-sales service and logistics department. This integration demonstrates the dynamism of the young company, its roots in Neuchâtel, and enables it to control the entire creative process in-house, thereby reinforcing its autonomy. But the brand's success also owes much to the excellence of the Watch Valley co-contractors with whom BA111OD works.
BA111OD's growth is certainly due to the aesthetics and quality of its timepieces. But it would never have been so dazzling without the we-commerce created by Thomas Baillod, a middle way between the traditional distribution system and e-commerce: "We-commerce is about acknowledging that we have moved into the digital model, but bringing back emotion and human contact. The transaction takes place online, but the experience takes place in real life, between people driven by the same passion for fine watchmaking". Customers, known as Afluendors (a contraction of the terms "Ambassador", "inFLUENcer" and "venDOR"), are at the centre of this business model and become (if they so wish) new experience intermediaries, rewarded for any recommendation leading to a sale through them.
In less than five years, Thomas Baillod has become a key figure in Swiss watchmaking. While the first years of BA111OD (2019-2023) were essentially Swiss - with a community of Afluendors that grew through launches orchestrated on LinkedIn and at private events - today the brand is evolving its business model. Following on from its previously organic growth, it is now responding to demand from new customers on an ever-increasing scale. True to its values of sharing its passion (#sharethepassion) and democratising Swiss watchmaking, it will be expanding its presence, primarily in Germany, France, Hong Kong and Singapore. To support and ensure this international growth, the brand has optimised its inventories. It is also banking on the opening of experience points to enable its customers to discover its timepieces. However, there is no question of abandoning the tried and tested Afluendors system. On the contrary, it will remain the brand's core business. Thomas Baillod explains: "My aim has always been, and remains, to develop a model that allows both, while reducing costs to ensure the most competitive prices on the market, without compromising on quality. Today, out of respect for the customer and for logistical reasons, I need to be able to draw on a wealth of experience, while pursuing my mission.
Become part of BA111OD's journey to merge luxury and accessibility, and allow yourself to be captivated by the excellence of Swiss watchmaking, now more accessible than ever.