Three highly renowned watch creators, united by a common goal of recording and preserving for posterity traditional watchmaking techniques which are at risk of being permanently lost. A young watchmaking teacher entrusted with the role of learning these techniques. A handmade timepiece realised in the most authentic spirit of traditional watchmaking. These are the actors and resources of “Naissance d’une Montre – Le Garde Temps”, a project launched by Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey and Philippe Dufour, all three members of Time Æon Foundation, after reaching an alarming conclusion: increasing mechanisation and massive recourse to automation in watchmaking was threatening an entire heritage of ancestral procedures and techniques with disappearance. They decided to act by combining their efforts to select a pupil and transmit their expertise to him.
They chose Michel Boulanger, a French watchmaking teacher at the Diderot vocational training college in Paris. The “Naissance d’une Montre – Le Garde Temps” project started in 2009 and was officially launched at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in January 2012 in Geneva. Every month Michel, the teacher-turned-pupil, travelled to La Chaux-de-Fonds to build up a store of knowledge from Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey, Philippe Dufour, and various other specialists practising at Greubel Forsey. Thanks to these regular round-trips between Switzerland and his workshop in the Beauce region, and over a period of six years, Michel created an exceptional timepiece: a circular wristwatch of extremely pure design, driven by a manually wound movement with a three-hands time display and equipped with a tourbillon mechanism in the great tradition of nineteenth-century watchmakers, particularly Jacques-Frédéric Houriet and Abraham-Louis Breguet.
This unique watch is part of the Important Watches sale at Christie’s Hong Kong on May 30th 2016 (lot 2689). Its estimate is available on application. The watch can be viewed at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong, on May 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th between 10.30am and 6pm.