The company ochs und junior AG was founded in 2006 as a vehicle for converting Ludwig Oechslin’s horological ideas and prototypes into saleable products. While at Ulysse Nardin, Ludwig Oechslin was responsible for designing some of the watch industry’s most respected innovations. In sharp contrast to the watch industry in general, which is primarily focused on complications, Ludwig Oechslin’s interest lies in radical simplification. Our workspace in Lucerne is the only physical place where our watches may be obtained. Ulysse Nardin became a strategic partner in the company in the spring of 2012.
As we manufacture our components and functions in ultra-small batches, for the most part away from mainstream suppliers in the watch industry, we are able to respond quickly to the need for changes and improvements. It also means that we are not held back by the industry’s generally long lead times, and that we have less capital tied up. We finance our innovations through the sale of our watches.
Big enough or small enough
We ensure that we can offer development, production, communication, distribution and – very important – aftercare from a single source. Either big enough or small enough! Convinced that this principle also applies to the watch industry, we have opted for ‘small enough’: we produce no more than 300 watches per annum. Were we to reach the upper limit we have set ourselves in our business model, we would no longer seek to grow quantitatively, but ensure we maintain and enhance our product and service quality.
In a world geared towards quantitative growth, we have opted for an alternative path – one that we are confident is right for ochs und junior.
This ethos of ours allows ochs und junior to produce uncompromising timepieces and deliver them direct to purchasers around the globe. ochs und junior watches are available exclusively from Lucerne. You can either visit us in Lucerne at the oxloft, our center of operations at Zürichstrasse 49, or via the ochs und junior website.
Dealing with us direct has the advantage that you are in contact with the founders themselves, which means you receive the best possible service. ochs und junior has opted for a personal sales model rather than a conventional (and expensive) distribution network; with no middle-man margins or advertising budget, we invest a modest amount in direct communication. We work on smaller margins than is usual in the watch industry, and are only satisfied when you are.
Day-to-day operations are in the hands of ochs und junior cofounder Beat Weinmann. In 2012, ochs und junior founders Ludwig Oechslin, Kornelia Imesch Oechslin and Beat Weinmann brought on board watchmakers Ulysse Nardin as a strategic partner.
Ulysse Nardin’s Rolf Schnyder contacted the Lucerne atelier of Jörg Spöring to ask who restored the Farnesian clock in the library of the Vatican, more than 30 years ago. Who could have guessed that this would lead to a lasting and fruitful friendship? Rolf Schnyder and Ludwig Oechslin became soul mates – and remained so until Rolf’s death.
Ludwig Oechslin and his mentor, Rolf Schnyder, were responsible for pioneering developments such as the Ulysse Nardin ‘Trilogy of Time’ series of astronomical watches, as well as the Perpetual Calendar, Freak, Sonata and Moonstruck.
Ludwig Oechslin was appointed Director of the Musée International d’Horlogerie (MIH) in 2001, while remaining an independent operator. Ulysse Nardin still had a number of exciting projects in the pipeline.
Ulysse Nardin became a partner in ochs und junior in spring 2012. The two companies will be working together on product developments when Ludwig Oechslin stands down as Director of the MIH in 2014. Ulysse Nardin has the exclusive right to patent and use wristwatch concepts created by ochs und junior.
ochs und junior watches are free of any designation of origin. The phrase ‘Made in Switzerland’ is intended to inspire confidence, but in practice it tends to raise more questions than it answers. Of far greater importance to us are the people we work with. We insist on absolute transparency. As most of our partners are based not far from Lucerne, the ‘Swiss Made’ aspect is a given. Some of our components come from further afield: the leather, for instance, is from southern Germany and is stitched by specialists in France. The dials made by Peter Cantieni here in Switzerland are printed just the other side of the border in Germany.
The reason for that is that we really like those particular suppliers, their ideas and their commitment. The advantage of keeping things as local and/or as personal as possible is that we know the people and we’re assured of the right quality – which in turn gives us the greatest sense of satisfaction. And that’s what it’s all about!
ochs und junior? Ludwig Oechslin’s son Giorgio was having a laugh when, at lunch one day, he suggested a reinterpretation of the family name (a word of explanation for non-German speakers: Ochs means ox, and Oechslin is a diminutive form of Ochs, i.e. little ox): playing on the image of the old “Ochs” and his cool junior, Giorgio turned it into ochs und junior (or ox and junior). And since his father is known for his unconventionality, he didn’t take much persuading to run with that name.
ochs und junior: intelligent watches for people who don’t always take life too seriously. And rather than place the brand name on the dial like everyone else, we brand the logo (literally!) on the back of the leather strap. Legitimately so, in our case. The ox – that wagon-pulling, abstinent farmyard animal that often ends up as ox tail soup – is a tongue-in-cheek way of indicating that this watchmaking venture of ours, though dear to our heart, should still be seen with a dash of humor.