A child of La Vallée de Joux and father of the legendary Simplicity, Philippe Dufour is considered a superstar by collectors the world over. Trails of pipe smoke, the gentle churning of antique machines, and scrupulous hand-finishing constitute the well-oiled mechanics of the master watchmaker's days. We met him at his workshop, on the ground floor of the old schoolhouse in Le Solliat.
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As the descendent of a line of watchmakers going back four centuries, Beat Haldimann was bound to conceive his timepieces in the purest horological tradition. His watches and all their constituent parts are made at his workshop in Thun, with not a CNC machine in sight.
For the past thirty years, he has taken inspiration from the great master watchmakers. Winner of the Hommage au Talent award, presented by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, François-Paul Journe opens the doors to his Geneva workshop.
Ludwig Oechslin, who was awarded the 2017 Hommage à la Passion prize by the Haute Horlogerie foundation, was for long the watchmaking genius behind the scenes at Ulysse Nardin before becoming the curator of the International Museum of Horology (MIH) at La Chaux-de-Fonds. Eleven years ago, he established Ochs & Junior in Lucerne, a company that goes to the essence of watchmaking.
Twenty years ago, Michel Parmigiani, a man who has made restoration an art form, set up his own brand. One whose Senfine movement promises a "historic" new departure for watchmaking.
Located in Sirnach, Switzerland, close to Lake Constance, Andreas Strehler boasts twenty years as an independent watchmaker whose business model has nothing left to prove. In constant demand as a movement developer and contractor for the industry, he also cultivates exclusivity with the timepieces he crafts under his own name.
He has explored fine watchmaking from every angle, taking care to turn aesthetic conventions upside-down. With his head in the stars, Antoine Preziuso has sailed through the past 35 years with manifold complicated creations that concede nothing to marketing. A dream of watchmaking resonates with freedom and family to underpin his success.
He has put his name to some five hundred watches in total, and currently produces around twenty a year. Vianney Halter, winner of the 2016 Prix Gaïa, uses mechanical science to further his retro-futuristic vision of watchmaking. The kind that could run on steam!
Resolve and patience, talent and hard work have got Roman Gauthier where he is today. A watchmaker as well as a specialist component supplier, he continues our series of portraits of contemporary artisan-watchmakers who take a different approach to the measurement of time.