Visiting independent watchmakers

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Frank Geelen | ic_query_builder_black_24px 3 minute read

From Saturday 21th of August until Thursday the 26th I’m going to Switzerland visiting many independent watchmakers. And of course you can read all about the meetings and news the watchmakers want to share, here on Monochrome.

Worldwide there are a few dozen of independent watchmakers who really make extraordinary watches, at least in my opinion. This weekend I will visit Thomas Prescher and finally get to see his amazing single axis, double axis and even triple axis tourbillon watches. In the month of August Thomas Prescher welcomes visitors to his atelier in Twann, Switzerland. At his Facebook page he posted this offer, a tour and the possibility to discover yourself how a timepiece is developed, produced, assembled and regulated from scratch. Or from raw pieces of metal to pure horological art. This is an opportunity I couldn’t resist of course!

Ian Skellern, a well known journalist on Haute Horlogerie, was so kind to help me organize this trip and will be joining me for most of the visits. Ian writes for several magazines and websites and is the moderator of several forums at Revolution Online, the former Horomundi forum.

Monday morning we will visit Peter Speake-Marin, a great watchmaker and a true gentleman. Last year Speake-Marin presented his new, self developed, movement, calibre SM2. Developing a movement isn’t a small thing, however for a small independent watchmaker it’s an immense tour-de-force. The first watches who carried this beautiful and robust movement where the Piccadilly 1 in 12 Limited Edition.

Later that day the tour continues to La Chaux-de-Fonds where Greubel Forsey have their spectacular new manufacture. And even more spectacular are their timepieces. Their watches are not only impressive from the outside (look at the case of the Tourbillon 24 Secondes or the Quadruple Tourbillon) but the movement and degree of finish is also very impressive.

And the tour continues, as do the visits to the most impressive watchmakers of these times. Kari Voutilainen, a Finnish watchmaker living in Switzerland and creator of one of the most beautiful dress watches i have ever seen, the Observatoire. The case, dial, hands and the Observatory calibre Peseux… sheer beauty. Of course Kari Voutilainen creates more beautiful watches like this magnificent Decimal Repeater No 8.

De Bethune is an independent watch brand and they are technologically very innovative. And let’s be honest… the design is some models is also on the cutting edge of innovation. Just take a look at the pherical moonphase and how the movement is visible at the dial side. I was so lucky to try this De Bethune DBS on my wrist at a local watch-store. A rare opportunity as watches of De Bethune are hard to find.

And the tour goes on…. Hautlence will release the new HL2.0 at the coming watch fairs, but maybe we get the chance to make some live photos of their new masterpiece. Of course I hope to see some of their older models, which i think are absolutely stunning.

The last day of my trip to Switzerland will be another day of visiting the most beautiful independent watch brands. URWERK is a brand I have written much about in the past and I’m very curious if there’s maybe some news. Especially because the production of the 103 collection will stopped soon. Here’s a photo of the URWERK 103T Tarantula that I made during Baselworld 2009. The best way to see a watch is on the wrist 🙂

Ladoire, a new independent watch brand, was established in 2007. During Baselworld 2010 we met for a brief moment and I got to see the some of their watches. After this trip I’m sure I can tell you much more… and show some photos.

The last independent watch brand I will visit is MCT Watches. The design and the way to show the time is incredibly smart and innovative. Recently I wrote about the Sequential One‘s design and innovative way to display time. And if you’re too lazy to read… there’s always the video 🙂 Check it out!

Pretty soon they will launch an the Sequential One All Black, so hopefully I will get to see it. But for now… a wristshot of the Sequential One in rose gold.

1 response

  1. Frank have a great time;
    I am looking forward to reading your reports
    and seeing the pictures you will be taking.
    GEO

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