Naissance d’une Montre

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Naissance d’une Montre
Launched in 2011, the ‘Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre’ project is now well under way and is a fundamental part of Greubel Forsey. The origin of this human and technical adventure began with a warning cry from independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour who first realised that due to the increasing industrialisation of the watch industry, knowledge of artisanal craftsmanship is disappearing. For example, the ability to correctly polish ratchet wheels and countersinks is slowly being forgotten.

Launched in 2011, the ‘Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre’ project is now well under way and is a fundamental part of Greubel Forsey. The origin of this human and technical adventure began with a warning cry from independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour who first realised that due to the increasing industrialisation of the watch industry, knowledge of artisanal craftsmanship is disappearing. For example, the ability to correctly polish ratchet wheels and countersinks is slowly being forgotten. Watchmaking museums are filled with vintage watchmaking tools, but soon there will be nobody left that knows how our predecessors used them.

We selected Michel Boulanger, a young teacher at the Paris Watchmaking School, to help us preserve, sustain and transmit these historical techniques and skills. Michel’s mission is as follows: until 2014, he will learn from Philippe Dufour and ourselves the tradition skills of making a high-quality timepiece by hand, without the use of computer controlled (CNC) machines. The timepiece will feature a hand-winding tourbillon movement with three hands and there will only be a few examples made. A 3-D film and blog help to chronicle the adventure; however, the project does not stop there as Michel will then transmit his acquired know-how to a new generation of watchmakers to keep the chain of transmission alive.

This adventure is a dual challenge. On one hand, it will offer evidence that one person can make a timepiece entirely by hand − without the aid of a manufacture and its skilled workers − and demonstrate that creativity is possible with limited means.

On the other hand, although ‘Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre’ draws its essence from the past, its ultimate goal is to create a timepiece using traditional techniques, but reflecting modern tastes.