Under the aegis of the Time Æon Foundation, Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei have chosen to support a new project by two young and talented watchmakers: Dominique Buser and Cyrano Devanthey. The functional prototype movement will be prensented at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2019.
A hand-made watch
Having completed the creation of their first watch, Dominique Buser and Cyrano Devanthey are embarking on a new adventure with the support of some of the greatest creator watchmakers in contemporary mechanical watchmaking: Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey and Felix Baumgartner, all active members of the foundation, as well as the renowned watch designer Martin Frei.
This new watch will be entirely crafted using the traditional, hand-made methods valued by the foundation’s members. The adventure is above all a human one, telling the story of a traditional craft passed down from master to apprentice for centuries. It is not a case of creating a watch in a historical style, but rather perpetuating a craft that, while rooted in the past, has proven itself to be entirely contemporary. Mechanical watchmaking is in fact a «living material» that never ceases to enrich and renew itself through the generations.
Hand-crafting a watch using historical machines means breaking free from industrial constraints and therefore rediscovering total creative freedom. When adopting this approach, we can no longer talk of a «product», but rather an authentic piece of work whose soul is truly a reflection of its creators.
Dominique Buser and Cyrano Devanthey
Dominique Buser and Cyrano Devanthey met while studying watchmaking at the École d’Horlogerie de Soleure. On graduating they went their separate ways, only to meet again a few years later at the Urwerk watchmaking manufacture. Reunited, the two watchmakers discovered a shared passion for historical watchmaking tools. For twenty years they acquired old machine-tools, which they then restored and learned to use, gleaning knowledge from the elders of the profession where necessary.
It was therefore a logical step for them to come up with the idea of hand-crafting a watch, aided by their incredible collection of historical machines. The creation of each watch is an initiatory journey through the history of watchmakers who used magnificent tools in their work, thus writing a whole new chapter in the history of mechanical watchmaking.
This new watch will be fitted with an entirely atypical inverted movement. The dial side features a constant-force regulating organ system with its differential, a large balance wheel with an extraordinary shape, fitted with four arms, as well as the hours and minutes at the centre, while on the case back is a large power reserve indicator.
Dominique Buser and Cyrano Devanthey will build the watch in its entirety, with the support of Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei.
The project is still in its infancy. While the foundations have already been laid, there are still many details yet to be defined. That being said, it is already possible to imagine that this future watch will represent the incredible alchemy between tradition and modernity that is embodied by all the participants in this magnificent adventure.