As grandson and great-grandson of watchmakers, my attraction to what was known until recently as the art of watchmaking was a passionate, almost genetically-derived one that dates from my earliest years.
Every one of its multiple facets both fascinates me and appeals to my enquiring mind. Édouard Phillips’ theory on the shape of terminal curves delights me no less than the artistic masterpieces of the Boulle era. The lives of Julien Couldray in the early 16th century and of George Daniels inspire equal admiration, while I am similarly awestruck by automaton-animated Renaissance clocks and the chronometers that have come down to us from Pierre Le Roy.
I take real pleasure in seeing a lever, a wheel, a shaft or whatever gradually take shape and emerge from the raw material under the action of a saw, file, chisel or other tool wielded by a human hand intent on honing its skills to achieve ever greater precision.
The movement of a timepiece, its chimes and imagining what they might announce move me like poetry, as indeed does the terminology of the watchmaker, taking me from secret to surprise.
For me, restoring old timekeepers is to plunge into the astonishing savoir-faire of past masters, acknowledging their legacy and admiring the genius of their ideas! An exercise all the more humbling when you consider that such prowess was accomplished without the technology we now enjoy, without today’s materials and without electricity.
Creation meanwhile, is the satisfying opportunity to invest the blank page, to design and build watches, seeking harmony my own way. The creative process is like life itself, where time moves incessantly on: it involves constantly challenging all that is before you.