If you are a fan of watch winders, you have probably heard about Bernard Favre. Once a professional musician, Bernard Favre has been crafting tailor-made watch winders for over 20 years, often lending his skills to some of the most prestigious names in the Swiss watch industry. In 2009, he designed the ‘Planet’, a mesmerizing gyroscopic watch winder inspired by historical marine chronometers in a gimbal box. We drove to the outskirts of Neuchâtel and the picturesque city of Valangin to meet the craftsman in his atelier.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – How did your passion for craftsmanship arise?
Bernard Favre – I have always felt a calling to work with my hands. As a kid, if my mother wouldn’t buy me a toy pistol, I’d make it myself from a piece of wood. I was resourceful. I first studied music at the Zurich Conservatory. Drums were another passion. But one day, I was offered a job by an Italian company to introduce their leather to watchmakers in the region. That was a relatively short experience, but it sparked something in me. I decided to open a workshop and started to work with craftsmen to learn their trade. I learned how to work with leather, wood and metal. It opened wonderful avenues for me. I was creating tailor-made accessories and other beautiful objects. Very soon, I knew I would not do anything else. Craftsmanship is a lifelong discipline. It is a passion for betterment! I love to learn and refine new crafts and techniques, driven by my curiosity and creativity. What counts is the journey that takes us so far.
You always start with the desire to create something unique. I believe the purpose of creating something functional is essential. Form follows function: it is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic. There are no shortcuts. Beauty comes from the need to optimize function.
I work primarily on objects related to watches because this is our regional culture and tradition. It could have been different in another place. But you are influenced and nurtured by your culture. I am a perfectionist and work with experts in their fields, some of the best craftsmen from the region, all sharing the same passion for the craft and shared values: attention to detail, quality of finish and respect for the watchmaking tradition.
How was the ‘Planet’ winder born?
One day, I was working with a watch brand on a marine chronometer project. I figured out that the gimbal mechanism could be the inspiration to create a winder with the correct inclination and mechanism. The idea was to provide efficient winding, to protect the watch and present it in all its glory. I imagined this system in 2009 and registered the design in 2011 in Bern. Since then, the gimbal design has spawned many copies.
What are the specific features of this winder?
A glass dome simultaneously presents and protects the watch. It adds to the beauty of the kinetic ballet within and magnifies this captivating spectacle. It is available in a variety of colours and finishes.
The ‘Planet’ rotates on two axes to better replicate the wrist’s movement. The programme options ensure an optimal winding setting for any timepiece. You can even use customized programmes to wind your watch optimally or have your winder rotating when you want. It runs for three to four months on a single battery charge and can be quickly recharged by a USB cable. Or it can be left permanently connected.
Another aspect that was very important to me was to produce a silent watch winder.
Bernard Favre winders retail from CHF 1,490. For more information, please visit www.bernardfavre.com