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VOGARD  –  Time  Zone  Conqueror

Text: Roksolana Chernoba
Photo: Maxim Masaltsev

Michael Vogt is the founder of Vogard and creator of the ‘best ever watches for a traveler’ who is convinced that “Life is like a big journey which consists of lots of smaller trips. You can’t get to your destination immediately, or achieve your goals. You have to deserve it!”. Today Vogard is made up of a team of Swiss watch experts each of whom has more than 10 years experience in the development, designing, manufacturing and marketing of watches. But from the moment when Vogt decided to make these internationally acclaimed watches with their unique time zone mechanism, he has had to understand many new things. Exactly what, Michael Vogt tells DE I.

DE I: When did you realize you were ready to launch your own brand of watches?

Vogt:   To explain that, I have to go right back to the source. I believe very deeply that each person is determined by his roots. When I meet someone for the first time, I need to know where is my new acquaintance from. I’m from Grenchen which is the heart of Swiss watch manufacturing. When I was a boy, I used often to think how could I have been born in such a back-water. Why wasn’t I born in New York, Paris, or London? And then I saw an ad in an American magazine for Breitling and alongside it the address of my home town. And so bit by bit I became enchanted with the idea of Swiss watches being a product which we, the Swiss, make for the entire world. I would imagine that a Russian, German or American has a completely different self-awareness, a different psychological perspective which would take into account the size of their countries. If you grow up in a small country, you are aware of the whole world, even though your own country can be crossed in a few hours. I became a person for whom the manufacture of watches has become an entire world unto itself.

DE I: Did you decide to set up your own watch company when you were still a child, or did that come later?

Vogt:   Swiss watches are famous for their unique accuracy and reliability. The design and mechanical aspects, the international aspects I discovered for myself. When I had the opportunity in 1983, I got my first job. I was 20. The company where I started, nobody knew then. It was called Popularis and it made corporate watches. Soon after, it changed its name to Swatch and became very successful and popular. That was a unique, very important event in my career: right from the start I witnessed how a company became world famous and experienced an incredible sense of success. Then I decided to study some more, and after that I worked with the British company Unilever. It was very important for me to live abroad so when my boss came to me and said ‘You can go to London, you have two weeks to think it over’ it took me only two minutes to agree. The consequences didn’t concern me and as a result I broke up with my girlfriend. But that was a radical change of direction in my life. London is a fantastic place. I met many new people all from different religions, speaking different languages, both very rich and very poor. I could visit the Ministry of Sound (one of the most famous London night clubs) – it was a real melting pot where it made no difference where you were from, what you believed in, or how much money you had. It was important only what kind of person you were. I really enjoyed my life in London. I was a member of 15 different night clubs, the company paid for my apartment, my car, it was fabulous. Now I thank God that I could spend a few years in a city where I gained enough strength thanks to which today I can do anything I want.


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