In the elite world of Swiss Haute Horlogerie, there are some brands that instantly make an impact, leaving connoisseurs speechless. Cvstos is one such brand. Ever since its launch in 2005, Cvstos, with its distinctive high-tech approach to exclusive watchmaking, has boldly risen to the challenge of creating a pioneering style and a new market demand.
Taken directly from the Latin for "guardian", the name Cvstos was freely inspired by the boundless creativity of an exceptional team of complementary talents, each one fired by a burning passion to produce one-of-a-kind timepieces.
Illustrating a powerful holistic concept, the Cvstos style embraces a particularly modern approach to design, one that manifests itself in the perfect balance between traditional watchmaking and state-of-the-art innovation.
Always a step ahead of time, Cvstos, the avant-garde benchmark in high-end watchmaking, anticipates current trends, relentlessly pursuing growth by doing today what others will do tomorrow.
“Tick-tack is the second word I learned”, recalls the entrepreneur Sassoun Sirmakes. To appreciate in full the enthusiasm and dedication of the co-founder and chief executive officer of Cvstos, one must bear in mind that from his early childhood he was immersed in the fascinating world of Haute Horlogerie.
It is often said that entrepreneurial and visionary skills tend to go together in the same family, from one generation to the next. Sassoun Sirmakes is an embodiment of this statement. Step by step, from his earliest years, this dynamic Swiss-Armenian young man was drawn into the world of sophisticated watchmaking by working eagerly, during weekends and summer holidays, beside his father Vartan Sirmakes, co-owner and chairman of the Franck Muller Watchland Group.
After finishing high-school at the age of 17, Sassoun Sirmakes faced a crucial dilemma: should he continue with his studies or join the company straightaway and benefit directly from his father’s years of unequalled experience and his peerless sense of perfection to acquire the same habits of meticulousness and gain an intimate knowledge of this intricate craft. For him, the choice that had to be made was more than obvious. He rightfully decided not to forgo this unique opportunity and began at once to embark on a work for which he had an enduring passion as well as an already proven talent.
His first major challenge was to restructure the small gemsetting department to optimize its production capacities. Within the space of only two years, and with his characteristic decisiveness, he successfully achieved his initial goal by implementing managerial policies and strategies that transformed the in-house workshop into a large-scale gemsetting company, most probably one of the biggest in Switzerland, located at two different sites in the Geneva area. With over 50 full-time qualified employees working under his direct leadership, Sassoun Sirmakes was also in charge of purchasing and managing substantial quantities of precious stones. Additionally, his strong analytical vision and organizational skills led him to learn some of the essential aspects of the accounting procedures of the Franck Muller Watchland Group.
Through his boundless curiosity and active participation in all the facets of production, he gradually developed a keen and unfailing eye for the imperatives that underpin the realm of luxury and achieved mastery of the entire watchmaking process from the design board to the finished product.
In 2003, when he was only 19 years old, Sassoun Sirmakes’ well-known determination coupled with a sharp business-minded vision, succeeded in a new significant professional challenge. Having prepared a carefully thought out and convincing business plan designed to respond to the changing expectations and the fresh demands emerging from the world of luxury goods, he attracted the interest of first-class investors to join him in the start of this exciting new venture. To house this immense project, his excellent negotiating skills and ability to act quickly and decisively enabled him to lease a magnificent castle nestling in a beautiful estate of 80,000 m2, in France at very close proximity to the Swiss border near Geneva.
During spring 2004, Sassoun Sirmakes decided to branch out and create Cvstos, an independent brand, by teaming up with one highly talented partner: Antonio Terranova. Revealing Sassoun Sirmakes’ acknowledged flair for innovation and creative designs, these timepieces are totally dedicated to trendsetters across the world. This innovative watchmaking brand is the outcome of an original concept that defines and illustrates beautifully Sassoun Sirmakes’ very own philosophy of life: being always a step ahead of time.
For some exceptional designers, the constant search for aesthetic and technical perfection is more than just a professional commitment. In the case of Antonio Terranova, it is a way of life, marked by a ruling passion for excellence and an uncompromising determination to achieve the highest standards of quality for Cvstos.
Born in 1967 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, located in the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry, he has been fascinated by beauty and design ever since childhood, perhaps a heritage from his Italian ancestry. At the age of 16, despite his fervent passion for designing timepieces, Antonio Terranova followed his parents’ advice and spent six years in intensive study to become a micro-technical specialist. After graduation, he undertook professional training in order to finally follow his love of design and enter the enchanting world of horology. He started his career in the research department of a well-known company specializing in the machinery of watchmaking components. However, his creative instincts were so intense and overriding that he made a career move towards watchmaking design. His innate creativity encouraged him to design his own watch that he baptized naturally as Terranova No1. Wearing it on his wrist, this timepiece became his business card as he started to search for a career in the field of horological design.
In 1993 his exceptional talents were spotted by the technical director of Prodor SA and he was asked to join the company and take charge of technical developments regarding some product lines of the Cartier and the Piaget collections. His perfectionism and habitual sense of precision inspired and motivated him to explore new technical ideas and innovative solutions that have since been patented. In 1997, willing as always to take up a new challenge and put his immense reservoirs of creativity to test, Antonio Terranova joined the TAG-Heuer company in Marin and started working as a research and development technician for new products. During this professional experience he became better acquainted with the philosophy of teamwork management, which aims to unite a pool of various expertise and diverse talents during the creation of a new product line.
Few years later, while working as a freelance designer for various major Swiss watchmaking brands such as Breitling, Ebel or Zenith, Antonio Terranova’s passion for creating imaginative innovations in the world of timekeeping instruments increased in intensity and sophistication. He was resolved to turn his dreams into reality and create watches that would be a synthesis of his skills and unmatched experience.
Finally, during spring 2004, Antonio Terranova’s challenging concepts, boldly directed towards the future, became a reality. He could now create a new brand that would combine his designer skills with his sound technical knowledge. He realized this venture and created this opportunity with the active participation of one skillful partner: Sassoun Sirmakes, a dynamic entrepreneur with an incomparable flair for marketing. Together, they created Cvstos, a watchmaking brand based on a powerful original concept that heralds a new era of watchmaking while paying a rightful tribute to the prestigious heritage of traditional Swiss craftsmanship.
Many know that Geneva is the birthplace of Swiss watchmaking; few are aware that the city’s Saint Gervais is the site of Geneva’s former watchmaking district.
The CVSTOS workshop is housed in a traditional shop-fronted building at the foot of rue Voltaire. Spread across two floors, these spacious and characterful premises contain the small horology atelier and business operations.
The ground floor is home to a concept store that can be adapted to any occasion: a sales boutique by day or a sophisticated lounge bar by night. A dynamic and young brand, CVSTOS fans are often invited to exclusive soirées where the only entrance requirement is their CVSTOS watch.
Situated close to the train station, almost half of Geneva’s citizens pass by this central location each day. Over 70 meters of bay windows enable full view of the watchmaking workshop and extraordinary visibility onto the work of the master watchmakers.
By deliberately placing a modern brand in a traditional building, founders Sassoun Sirmakes & Antonio Terranova create a dynamic atmosphere and a permanent sense of renewal that informs each new project. This choice reflects the ethos of this dynamic duo: they look to the past not for reinterpretation, but for reinvention. Respectful of the finest traditions of Swiss horology, Sassoun and Antonio have been writing their own history since 2005, as CVTSOS invents today what others strive to imitate tomorrow.
Close to Ferney-Voltaire and the Swiss border, and set in 19 hectares of grounds, Château de Prevessin is the site of CVSTOS’ industrial production facilities. Built in the 19th century, Château de Prevessin is now the ideal space in which to develop CVTSOS’ watchmaking capabilities.
This emblematic location has particular historical significance as it represents the cradle of the French horology industry. François-Marie Arouet, more commonly known as Voltaire, lived in this area and led France’s watchmaking know-how.
Today, the Château comprises a technical workshop where individual watch cases are produced for the CVSTOS brand. These are then hand assembled at the Saint Gervais atelier in nearby Geneva… situated on rue Voltaire.
Thanks to considerable investment, the chateau and its outbuildings have been restored, renovated and customized to meet CVSTOS’ unique production needs. Built from magnificent French stone and proudly displaying centuries-old beams, Chateau de Prevessin reflects the values of rigor and innovation that are the hallmarks of CVSTOS timepieces. This delightful building houses digital modern machining tools that endow the young brand with considerable production capabilities.
Just like the 400-year old trees in the grounds, the modern facilities at this historic site provide the foundation for the brand’s longevity.