Watch Collector

Overview

From This Issue

Ecologically Concerned

According to one CEO of an independent brand, the watch industry is about to undergo its most radical transformation in decades. Accelerating consolidation in the industry, he opined, has reduced the number of suppliers small companies need to make their watches, as well as constricted their means of distributing them. With fewer buoyant new markets, […]

2013 Collectors’ Showcase

Reverse Engineering Geneva-based DeWitt has demonstrated a penchant for building large-scale, special-edition timepieces of unusual design. Its latest X-Watch combines many of the technologies DeWitt has explored in watches created over the last few years. Like its previous Antipode tourbillon/minute repeater, X-Watch ($485,000) is designed as a functional rotating, reversible timepiece. An elaborate X-shaped cover […]

Additive Value

All the traditional decorative arts in watchmaking—engraving, guillochage, enameling, and jeweling—have been mixed together freely since the birth of the craft. In fact, it was during this early period in the 17th and early 18th centuries, before most major advancements in movements took place, that decoration was regarded as the preeminent skill in watchmaking. Artisans […]

Set Point

Many women can relate to being sometimes underestimated merely because they are attractive. The same can be said of their watches, particularly when jeweled. Their flashy, high-fashion qualities often obscure the technical skill involved in creating them. In fact, the case makers and setters of ladies’ time-pieces are as talented—and as uniquely Swiss in their […]

Adaptive Theory

“This was very big work,” sighs Fabrizio Stigliani, the Italian director of Bulgari’s watch-design department, now transplanted to Switzerland. His expression, which suggests a large weight has been lifted from his shoulders, conveys the challenge with which his small team has been grappling for the last three years. In early 2010, Bulgari’s CEO announced that […]

Genteel Guardian

As far as I’m concerned, no one knows I design watches for Hermès,” says Henri d’Origny, the brand’s top designer since 1958. “There are no prima donnas here. No one is saying, ‘I want to be a star.’” D’Origny is surprisingly humble, especially compared to some of his more flamboyant peers in the high-pressure world […]

Details 2013

Free Wheeling  Spanish watchmaker Bartomeu Gomila tapped his memory of a childhood toy—a simple hoop kept rolling with regular taps from a stick—to realize a highly unusual and somewhat controversial watch complication. Through the assistance of Montblanc’s Foundation Minerva, which supports projects with young upcoming watchmakers, his idea became the “thousandths wheel,” the component allowing […]

Power Duo

Several years ago, while developing the Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite, Anthony de Haas (below right) and Tino Bobe (above right) conferred with a patent attorney. Preparing an application to protect thewatch’s signature innovation—a dial that slides open to expose the spinning tourbillon—the lawyer asked which of them had invented the mechanism. “We looked […]

Mixed Double

In explaining the way his friend and business partner Bruno Belamich (below left) came up with the design for Bell & Ross’s latest bomber-inspired Vintage WW2 Regulateur Heritage, CEO Carlos Rosillo describesa vast library of military books and photo-graphs Belamich has amass­ed over the course of a lifetime. Rosillo should know. He has been friends […]

Spin Control

“Out of control at or below 10,000 feet: Eject.” Of all the warnings and cautions contained in the fighter jet training packet, this was the one that alarmed me most; my civilian pilot training did not include any such scenarios. Out of control? What exactly was I in for during my 30 minutes in the […]

Liquid Assets

Anyone familiar with the story of how English watchmaker John Harrison devoted his entire life to creating a timepiece that would allow mariners to calculate their position at sea will have some notion of the romance watchmakers have for the ocean. Their ardor, however, has not exactly been returned. Water may be the worst practical […]

Watches: Pocket Protector

As dozens of its peers proffer ultramodern interpretations of the complicated wristwatch, Bovet Fleurier has returned its focus to the decidedly old-fashioned pocket watch. These timepieces, however, have a novel twist. The company recently completed the second piece in its Edouard Bovet Collection of made-to-order complicated pocket watches, each of which easily converts to a […]

Manual Dexterity

Having learned the craft of watchmaking at exactly the same time quartz technology was making his new skills obsolete, Dominique Loiseau probably had little notion his career would carry him in the exact opposite direction of the watch industry at the time. Just a few years later, his work restoring masterpieces by Pierre Jaquet-Droz and […]

Time Machines

Look up philosophy in an encyclopedia, and you’ll read about Socrates and Saint Augustine, John Locke and René Descartes. One name you won’t see is Pierre Jaquet-Droz. The encyclopedia will tell you that Jaquet-Droz was a watchmaker, which is true enough. But the fact is that he also was a philosophe—one of the Enlightenment’s finest—even […]