Our leather and other stories


Over six years ago, when Ludwig Oechslin first let us see the prototype of a watch featuring an annual calendar comprising just nine parts and a one-line display, one thing was clear: the official MIH Uhr celebrating the Musée international d’horlogerie was crying out for a rigorous design. Pure function!

It was Christian Gafner who came up with the watch’s clean lines. He has a fine sense for proportions – to the extent that Switzerland’s Federal Department of Culture did the museum the honor of purchasing one officially. Christian also has a keen eye for objects that are no longer made in Europe – such as sneakers!

He found them on the internet, ordered a pair and, to make a long story short, ended up owning the trade name of the legacy East German brand Ilmia. The company used to make the boots for the GDR football team – now it’s limited edition, very stylish sneakeres that are made in what used to be East Germany. And the leather? Christian paid a visit to the German Allgäu region and Ecopell, the firm that supplies the eco-leather for our ochs und junior straps and other items. He came away with some dark brown, eco-tanned calf leather, had a prototype pair of his sneakers made  –  and I’m wearing them, to the delight of my feet…

He brought us a sample swatch of colourful Ecopell leathers, which we’re having handcrafted into summery looking straps at Camille Fournet. If all goes according to plan we’ll be able to offer straps in pink, yellow, sky-blue, red and dark blue before the summer holidays.

But before we release them to a grateful clientele, Ludwig Oechslin’s son will be heating up the ochs und junior branding iron