A.H.C.I. Member Marc Jenni Loses Name And Has To Find Another
Marc Jenni is a watchmaker. But more than that, this profession is also his vocation and he takes pride in being able to continue his family’s tradition. Jenni is also one of the young Swiss watchmakers enthusiastically making up part of the A.H.C.I. (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants), a grouping of creative watchmakers that can be likened to the horological world’s United Nations.
When I spoke with Jenni recently, he told me his story with a great deal of verve, even if the reason for our chat was anything but a happy one.
“It’s a new adventure,” he explained.
Jenni, whose little company is only four and a half years old, is now being forced to give up his own name. It seems that there is another, similar name in the Swiss watchmaking landscape that has decided that Jenni’s name is too close for comfort.
This other name is Jenny, and it is the name of the family that owns Doxa and simultaneously one of that brand’s anniversary models.
The fact that Jenni and Doxa are about as different as two brands can possibly be and that Marc Jenni only makes and sells a handful of timepieces per year seems to count for little – the Jenny family has decided that it would prefer to be alone with this historical name on a dial.
“It’s only about the name on the dial,” Marc Jenni wistfully recounts. “I will remain the same person and these will be the same watches that I make.”
Jenni will exhibit his watches at the 2014 edition of SalonQP as part of the A.H.C.I. This will be the last presentation of Marc Jenni’s watches with his own name on the dial.
As of January 1, 2015, Jenni will have to cease and desist using his own name on his watch dials.
Brand classification 14
In 2009, Jenni registered his own name officially at IGE, the Swiss registration office.
Nonetheless, he still received a letter citing “brand classification 14,” which, in essence, meant that he would have to fight (expensively) for the right to keep his own name on the dials of his watches.
“There is no base decision regarding such cases in Switzerland,” the independent watchmaker explained. “You can decide to try to defend your position, but that alone costs 100,000 Swiss francs and more, and you’re still not sure you’ll win. It’s the law of the strongest here: ‘brand law’ is much different from other types of laws.”
Jenni is not yet certain what he will call his brand from January 1, 2015 onward. This surely provides room for new opportunities, though.
“It is indeed a time for a beginning, something new, ‘a new chapter in my history’,” he agrees. And he continues to work on his big goal in time for Baselworld 2015, when we’ll probably see a new movement from him in addition to a new brand name. And that is all quite exciting.
The timing is very good at any rate: in 2015 the A.H.C.I. will celebrate 30 years of existence. “The A.H.C.I. looks dynamic and positive for next year,” Jenni reveals. “We have a lot of concrete events and projects planned.”
“Marc Jenni” might be done for now, but I for one remain excited to see what Marc Jenni, watchmaker, comes up with next.
For more, please visit www.marcjenni.com.