Introduced last year as a project, the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives has to be seen as one of the most interesting recent initiatives in the field of independent and high-end watchmaking. Even though backed up by the world’s largest luxury conglomerates, the LV Watch Prize aims to become 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. Following the announcement in December of the five finalists and jury members, it is now time to reveal the winner of the mentorship, in the name of Raúl Pagès and his RP1 Régulateur à Détente watch.
It might sound surprising at first to talk about an independent watchmaking initiative backed up by a group of the size of Louis Vuitton. Nevertheless, the intentions of the head of watches at LV are clear. Things have drastically changed for the Maison’s watch division with the arrival of Jean Arnault, as in only a couple of years he already showed a 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.
Despite not being linked directly to watches produced by Louis Vuitton or the LVMH Group, the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize has been created to celebrate creative talent and innovation in artisanal watchmaking, and also to support and encourage artisans and entrepreneurs and accompany future generations. It must be remembered that LV owns a rather impressive production facility, La Fabrique du Temps, which operates almost independently as a true tool of Haute Horlogerie.
The winner of the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives is offered a grant as well as a one-year mentorship by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, tailored to the needs of their creative project. This will be done under the mentorship of experts, including Michel Navas and Enrico Barbasini and was opened to watchmakers, designers, entrepreneurs, and recent graduates in watchmaking.
Following the announcement of the LV Watch Prize, the Maison received close to 1,000 submissions – a long list that had been narrowed down according to the process explained here. Then, 20 semi-finalists were pre-selected and presented to a Committee of Experts comprised of 45 watch enthusiasts – including myself. The jury selected 5 finalists:
- Petermann Bédat (Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat) with the Chronographe Rattrapante Reference 2941
- Simon Brette with his Chronomètre Artisans
- John-Mikaël Flaux with his L’Abeille Mécanique (mechanical bee)
- Andreas Strehler (Andreas Strehler & Enrico Santoni) with the Tischkalender Sympathique clock
- Raúl Pagès with his RP1 Régulateur à Détente
The final jury, 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, has delivered its verdict and elected Raúl Pagès and the RP1 Régulateur à Détente as the worthy winner of the 2024 Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives.
As a reminder, the RP1 Régulateur à Détente is one of the rare wristwatches to be fitted with a detente escapement, a technical solution that is often considered a grail of chronometry. The watch itself is presented with a minimalistic, modern and yet elegant design, and a steel case housing an extremely clean dial with regulator display.
With this award, Raúl Pagès will receive assistance from La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton (LFT) in supporting and developing its creative work in the form of personalized support, both technical and financial (EUR 150,000), for 12 months. In addition to watchmaking-related topics and the mentorship of experts from LFT, Raúl Pagès will also be able to receive pieces of advice related to marketing, industrial strategy or brand development. This will, without a doubt, help him develop the company and future watches under his name.
For more details, please visit www.louisvuittonwatchprize.com.