This is a debate I had a few weeks ago with Bernard Helson, Dandoy’s CEO.
Although Bernard said he is not willing to have a top-tier pricing (just have a look at prices in the shops and you’ll notice that they are very reasonable given the low mechanization level of the process and its labor intensiveness). Still, some signs show that Dandoy is perceived as a luxury brand. It recently entered they “Brussels Exclusive Labels” club which is an association of the most prestigious brands settled in Belgium’s main city.
When I visited the workshop I noticed one detail which may also be a testimony of this “hidden” luxury. During the tour I saw some strange tools I had never seen before. The head of the workshop explained me that those tools (see pictures) helped for certain steps of the process. They were conceived in-house and home-made to fill the need. This is something that you might see in other totally different industries like for instance the high-end watchmaking industry. When I saw those tools at Dandoy it remembered me the tools that I saw in an issue of the “Lettres du Brassus” the magazine published by Blancpain for its customers. This article dealt with watchmakers designing and making their own tools to perform certain steps of the process they are responsible for. I don’t know of course whether the existence of such tools is limited to high-end brands but we can reasonably assume that no such need arises in a fully automated process.
Christophe Dutoit, whose photographs served to illustrate the article, kindly provided the picture which is included in this post.