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January 23, 2013updated Aug 22, 2013

DeWitt’s Cake Bake

By Chris Boyle

Swiss Alps

Geneva-based DeWitt is known among watch collectors for gaining the second highest price (behind Patek Philippe) in the prestigious Only Watch auction (410,000 Euros) that takes place in Monaco every two years.

2012 was year of change for the nearly decade old company whose founder Jerome is a descendant of Napoleon, a noted restorer of classic cars and a retired banker who ended up getting into the watch-making business only when an investment in the company that today bears his name went awry.

Last year his wife, Viviane Jutheau DeWitt, a successful businesswoman in her own right (she owns a local radio station and founded several exhibitions) took over as CEO bringing day-to-day management in-house to the family. Jerome remains the artist and creator and the driving force on the manufacture side. Within a year, connoisseurs will be able to acquire DeWitt at a starting price of 9,500 Swiss francs. While the main focus will be at the higher price points, Mrs. DeWitt says, “We always made the cherries. Now we are also baking the cake.”

The brand is also making news by withdrawing from the Basel Watch & Jewelry Fair, however, with its headquarters located a stone's throw from Geneva Airport the company has opened up an extensive private showroom making it easily accessible. Additionally the DeWitt tandem will be on the road more with fairs in Mexico, Dubai, Doha and Beijing on the calendar.

During a very select dinner for 50 attended by the likes of former Swiss President Carlo Lamprecht, now President of Geneva's Watchmaking Grand Prix and Jean-Daniel Pasche, President of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the four story atrium at the headquarters was turned into a Winter Garden with famed Le Lion D'Or handling the culinary requirements and entertainment from magician Carlos Vaquera who flew in for the night from Brussels. Kicking off the Geneva watch shows taking place this week, Mrs. DeWitt told the gathering, “We're a niche brand. We whisper our message to the very special persons.”

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