Masters and their Craft – A Lifelong Pursuit of Excellence. With a philosophy such as this, Maîtres du Temps have committed themselves to nothing less than the exceptional, beginning with the very concept of inviting three independent master-watchmakers, whose work speaks for itself, to join together on a project. Chapter 1 in the short history of this new brand showed the type of watchmaking Maîtres du Temps had in its sights. Written by Christophe Claret, Roger Dubuis and Peter Speake-Marin, this “chapter” is a unique combination of complications, with a tourbillon, single-pusher chronograph, retrograde date and retrograde GMT, completed with highly distinctive rollers for the day, at 6 o’clock, and for the moon phases, at 12 o’clock.
Drain the cup to the dregs
Even as deliveries of Chapter 1 have begun, proposed as three versions for a limited edition of 33 in all, all eyes are focused on Chapter 2. This new timepiece, unveiled at Baselworld, is an instantaneous triple calendar with large date. It called on the combined skills of Roger Dubuis, Daniel Roth and Peter Speake-Marin. These three personalities are symbolised by the three arms of the rotor, visible through the display back and which form a goblet shape. “The symbol of the goblet is that we are three artisans putting all of our knowledge and love of the craft into this goblet, and in drinking from it, we share the pleasure of creating a wonderful timepiece,” says Roger Dubuis.
In appearance less complex than its predecessor, Chapter 2 was nonetheless longer in coming to fruition, hence why the order of their unveiling was inverted. “Our brief, if I might call it that, was to produce the world’s most legible triple calendar,” continues Roger Dubuis. “We started out with the idea of a watch with a large date, and the day and month spelled out in full on rollers at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock. We initially wanted this to be a perpetual calendar, but driving the rollers would have raised too many problems. Instead, we chose an annual calendar but with instantaneous changes to avoid potential damage to the mechanism if the day or month is adjusted by hand, using the two astutely positioned pushers at the back of the case. The interdependent rollers, which are made from ultra-light anodized aluminium, are fitted with star wheels that mesh with a mechanism of levers and springs rather than a rotating gear. This way, the power required for the instantaneous changes is too small to affect the movement’s amplitude.”
A five-year adventure
Production was another factor which weighed on development times for Chapter 2. “Unlike Chapter 1, this model was created in partnership with Vaucher Manufacture. Production will be on a larger scale, with 200 watches manufactured this year,” explains Daniel Roth. “We have the benefit of an established logistics structure, although this is something we had to take into account when developing the watch. Thanks to our individual experiences, we quickly saw how Chapter 2 was an entirely feasible project.”
Maîtres du Temps have every intention of forging ahead with a new model each year. Kari Voutilainen and Giulio Papi are among those who will be contributing to future chapters. Already in the works, Chapter 6 will exceptionally be launched in the same year as its predecessor, in 2012. For Steven Holtzman, founder of Maîtres du Temps, the care that goes into the quality, detail and creativity of these timepieces justifies this integrated approach to the market. And while this may not be the easiest option at the present time, it is without doubt most attuned to the sum of outstanding experiences that underlies each of the chapters in an adventure which began in 2004.