Thomas Morf is back. For ten years, he was CEO of the Bucherer watch brand, then of the Hanhart brand, which belonged to Philippe Gaydoul’s group of companies, and later, until the end of 2018, he was head of the traditional Favre-Leuba for the Indian conglomerate Tata.
Now the patent number 712725 has been granted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IGE) as of December 30, 2020, about four and a half years after the application: “Module for incorporation into a wristwatch, comprising a direction indicating means for a mechanical direction indicator”: Under the brand name Aramedes, Morf and two partners want to sell wristwatches to Muslims that provide central information for the practice of Islam; when fully equipped, there are three of them.
The small dial at “3” shows the most important information, the respective direction to Mecca, where the believers are directed to pray. The one at “9” shows the next prayer time, which depends on the position of the sun and thus the location, and the totaliser at “6” shows when it is allowed to eat and when it is necessary to fast during Ramadan.
The information is provided by software on an integrated circuit board that uses mobile phone triangulation to calculate the wearer’s location and control the hands of the mechanical movement – an absolute innovation in the watch market. The watch is produced in Switzerland and the movements are made by Sellita and Vaucher.
Morf estimates the market potential to be very large, “after all, there are 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, with around 15 million pilgrims in Mecca alone every year”; Saudi Arabia wants to increase this number further. Target customers are “global urban Muslims” à la London’s mayor Sadiq Khan, religious and modern, but who enjoy classic “Made in Switzerland”. Of course, there are apps that display such information, but the watch is “clearly a lifestyle product”. Steel or platinum are the materials of choice for the case, with prices starting at 5,000 Swiss francs and going up to 80,000 at the highest level, including a tourbillon.