About a year ago, Louis Vuitton, through its manufacture of watches La Fabrique du Temps, announced the establishment of the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives, a biennial prize that celebrates the creative talent, savoir-faire and audacity of the independent watchmaking industry, to support and encourage artisans and entrepreneurs and accompany future generations. Since the announcement, the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize has drawn nearly 1,000 submissions, showing the interest of the independent watchmaking scene. Today, in exclusivity, we’re able to announce the shortlist of five candidates and the names of the jury for the inaugural edition of the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives.
Before we delve into the details of the announcement, let us remind you of a few facts regarding the LV Watch Prize and why it matters. While Louis Vuitton isn’t new to the world of watchmaking – remember that the emblematic Tambour watch recently celebrated its 20th anniversary before being entirely revamped – things have drastically changed for the watch division since the arrival of Jean Arnault as Director of Watches. Built around a rather impressive tool named La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, the luxury powerhouse and its young, energetic director have long shown strong interest in independent watchmaking. The best examples of this overlapping between omnichannel luxury and indie watchmaking are the Louis Vuitton x Akrivia collaboration and the comeback of two coveted names, Daniel Roth and Gerald Genta.
The Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives is another example of LV’s interest in artisan-like watchmaking. First of all, its manufacture, La Fabrique du Temps, operates almost independently as a true tool of Haute Horlogerie. The idea is for the manufacture to become a hub of creativity with the LV Watch Prize under the mentorship of experts, including Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini. The Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives is a biennial prize open to watchmakers, designers, entrepreneurs, recent graduates, and creatives from all around the world.
“The Louis Vuitton Watch Prize exists because we believe that the future of watchmaking belongs to the dreamers and rule-breakers who meet the highest standards of craftsmanship“, explains Jean Arnault.
Saying that the first Louis Vuitton Watch Prize started successfully would be an understatement. It drew nearly 1,000 submissions, a long list that had to be narrowed down according to the process explained here. Of these hundreds of submissions, 20 semi-finalists were pre-selected and presented to a Committee of Experts comprised of 45 watch enthusiasts – which includes our founder Frank Geelen. Candidates were evaluated according to five criteria: design, creativity, innovation, craftsmanship and technical complexity.
And today, we’re pleased to announce the five finalists for the 2024 Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives. You’ll see that, rather surprisingly, the prize drew the interest of already well-established members of the independent watchmaking scene, and the five finalists are certainly not new to the watch community. That being said, they all are recognized as extremely talented, something that Jean Arnault acknowledges: “I would like to congratulate our five finalists – in your hands, the horizon for independent watchmaking is looking very bright indeed.”
In alphabetical order, here’s the list of the five finalists for the 2024 Louis Vuitton Watch Prize:
- Petermann Bédat – Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat – independent watchmakers since 2017, they presented the Chronographe Rattrapante Reference 2941 to the Prize, a monopusher split-seconds chronograph in platinum with a jumping minute counter and an opened caseback revealing a superbly finished movement.
- Simon Brette – independent watchmaker since 2022, he recently presented his first watch, the Chronomètre Artisans, which was submitted to the LV Watch Prize, winning critical acclaim from the jury. A highly complex time-only watch, the Chronomètre Artisans is a neo-classical expression of watchmaking blending Haute Horology finishings with a top-tier in-house calibre.
- John-Mikaël Flaux – independent watchmaker since 2018, he has presented a surprising object to the Prize, L’Abeille Mécanique (mechanical bee), a one-of-a-kind figurative mechanism with an AB-01 movement, manual winding, dedicated key, carrousel movement and a “stinger” poetics hours indicator.
- Andreas Strehler – Andreas Strehler & Enrico Santoni – independent watchmakers since 1995. Known for their highly personal Papillon watches and, recently, the Sirna, they decided to submit the Tischkalender Sympathique, a mechanical perpetual desk calendar in gilded brass set with lapis lazuli. It is fitted with a “master timekeeper” pocket watch in Damascus steel with sapphire crystal.
- Raúl Pagès – independent watchmaker since 2012, Pagès came to the Prize with his RP1 Régulateur à Détente, a notable wristwatch in stainless steel with a unique construction featuring an in-house calibre fitted with a rare, pivoted detent escapement, designed and handcrafted by the watchmaker himself.
In addition to the five finalists, the final jury has been announced. The five jury members for the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives were nominated by their peers in the Committee of Experts, all sharing the same passion for the watch industry. The jury will be composed of Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Movements Director at TAG Heuer; Auro Montanari, watch collector; Rexhep Rexhepi, Founder of Atelier Akrivia and independent watchmaker; Jiaxian Su, Singapore-based journalist and founder of SJX Watches; and Michael Tay, President of the jury and group managing director of The Hour Glass.
The winner of the Louis Vuitton Prize for Independent Creatives will be announced on 6 February 2024 and will receive a year-long mentorship with the team of experts at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton in Meyrin (Switzerland), along with a financial prize.
For further information, please visit louisvuittonwatchprize.com.