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 […]

Glass House

Anita Porchet decided to become an enameler after watching her godfather craft enamel watch dials in his atelier, but by the time she went to study in Geneva in the 1980s, art schools no longer taught the métier. So Porchet found one of the former instructors, coaxing the old woman out of retirement to tutor […]

Conspicuous Complexity

At a conceptual level, a watch is very simple: A movement moves the hands to indicate the time on a dial. The status quo for more than 500 years, this system seems so natural that it is difficult to conceive of something different, and even more unusual to encounter it. Befitting the new millennium, the […]

Made to Measure

Horse racing became a modern sport on September 1, 1821. That afternoon, at the Champ de Mars in Paris, the finish times of competitors were recorded for the first time ever on a newly invented device called a chronograph. Created by Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec, the boxed machine was swiftly superseded by chronograph pocket watches, avidly […]

Finishing Lines

There was a popular saying in 16th-century Germany: If you want to make trouble for yourself, take a wife, hit a cleric, or buy a watch. Phenomenally complicated luxury items, German watches of this era seldom functioned properly. Against this backdrop, the English established the first great watch industry, rationalizing clockwork to emphasize reliable timekeeping. […]

Giulio Papi

Over the past quarter century, some of the greatest careers in watchmaking have been launched at Renaud & Papi. Emerging talents from Robert Greubel to Stephen Forsey to Peter Speake-Marin have refined their technique at the small Le Locle manufacture, only to pack up their tools and start their own companies. Though sad to see […]

Denis Flageollet

What if Abraham-Louis Breguet were alive today? If he were privy to modern materials and technologies, what might he have invented? These questions beguile Denis Flageollet, who routinely asks himself the same about lesser-known pioneers of watchmaking, such as the 17th-century abbé Jean de Hautefeuille, who intuited the hairspring by observing the effects of hog […]

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