Page 1


When an agent offered to buy my silence about the origins of the project that he had just purchased from me, the idea of AHCI germinated in my mind for the first time. This was 38 years ago. This age-old tradition of hiding the creators, the stooges of watchmaking, had to stop. Giving them the voice and the limelight to which they were entitled, had become of the utmost importance to me, especially at a time when mechanical watchmaking was pronounced dead. In order for it to survive, it should no longer be used solely for displaying time. It had to go back to its origins, to the art of mechanics and to giving horological craftsmen the opportunity

to exercise their art, build their inventions, make their work known and be able to make a living from it. It was time for horological emulation to arise and for the watchmakers themselves to create the Renaissance of their art, that is so difficult to perform! Not only did this dream come true, but it became common to all AHCI members and candidates, watchmakers and collectors from all around the world. This year, AHCI celebrates its 35th anniversary. Its worldwide success confirms that this year is indeed the “Time of Independents�.


This year, I’m celebrating 40 years of independence. Just after the quartz crisis, a new era for mechanical watches and clocks began. We created the AHCI in 1985, in order to organize a visible space where independent watchmakers could present and promote their exceptional horological creations – and avoid being “crushed by the Big brands”. 35 years on, I’m delighted with the result: a gallery resourced by fantastic colleagues, respected world-wide for their horological know-how. It’s an important part of my life’s work.


It was a cry for recognition. The will, the need even, to place the watchmaker back on centre stage. It sprang from the mind of Vincent Calabrese who, 40 years ago, saw his name dissociated from the baguette movement he created, which ensured the halcyon days of a famous house. Until the mid-1980s, before the Académie Horlogère des Créa-

The first exhibition at the Basel Fair followed soon afterwards

teurs Indépendants (AHCI) was born, it was customary for

and the AHCI continued to be invited to attend each year.

renowned factories to order their complications from craftsmen

By 1990, the Academy had a dozen members, with three or four

whose names were contractually passed over in silence. It was

candidates knocking at its door each year. This development

a clumsy and unfair habit, but well established. As a result, be-

continued until the turn of the millennium.

ing a watchmaker had no prestige. This was not the cause of this custom: it was its consequence. In order for the watchmak-

From then on, the pace accelerated for at least three reasons.

ing profession to be recognized at its fair value, it had to first

The first: the democratization of modern watchmaking tools –

become known.

first electrical discharge machining (EDM, which made it easier to make tourbillons), then computers, printers, CAD, etc.

In 1983, 37 years ago, a small group of watchmakers gath-

The equation was simple: more resources, more watchmakers.

ered in Lausanne at Vincent Calabrese’s home, including Svend Andersen and four or five colleagues, no more; independent

Second reason: the growing number of freelancers able to get

watchmakers were so little known at the time. They didn’t even

started, was driven by a major paradigm shift; the rise of collec-

know each other! An advertisement was therefore put in several

tors who were no longer afraid to buy not a brand, but a name;

watchmaking journals, free of charge, to bring these good souls

that of the watchmaker who had actually made their timepiece.

together. The conditions of membership are simple: live from

This may seem obvious today but it was a revolution at the time

your art in a completely independent manner. No more but no less. Employees of large factories who spend their weekends on personal creations are therefore politely sent home. This term “independent”, chosen to protect the members of the AHCI, today remains the the defining characteristic qualifying these craftsmen, who live solely from their art, for membership. Another ambition from the start: internationalization. The founding watchmakers were not all Swiss and limiting the Académie to its Swiss borders would have made no sense. It was all about promoting an art and its craftsmen, not a State but a savoir-faire.

Finally, the third reason: the creation of models that clearly displayed the name of the watchmaker who created them. Just think of Harry Winston’s Opus series, the first chapters of which were engraved with the names of those, who for the most part, were members of the AHCI: Journe, Baumgartner, Halter, Preziuso, Ballouard, among many others. Today, AHCI’s mission has not changed. Nor have most of its members. Some have remained 100% independent craftsmen, others have built impressive factories. AHCI exhibitions have become global and each of them generates visits by around

Since there is strength in unity, the first joint exhibitions began

a hundred media outlets, offering – in particular to its newer

immediately and have continued from 1985, the year of forma-

members – a visibility that they could never have achieved alone.

tion of the AHCI, at the Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle. The media

35 years after its creation, the Académie is still there for them.

have been present – not many but curious, benevolent.

As it will be tomorrow.


Svend Andersen ...................................... 13 Hajime Asaoka ......................................... 19 Ludovic Ballouard .................................. 25 Felix Baumgartner ................................. 31 Aaron Becsei ............................................. 37 Robert Bray ............................................... 43 Vincent Calabrese .................................. 49 David Candaux ........................................ 55 Konstantin Chaykin ............................... 61 Philippe Dufour ....................................... 67 Miki Eleta ................................................... 73 Paul Gerber ............................................... 79 Beat Haldimann ...................................... 85 Vianney Halter ......................................... 91 Lin Yong Hua ............................................ 97

François-Paul Journe ........................... 103 Frank Jutzi ............................................... 109 Masahiro Kikuno .................................. 115 Christian Klings ..................................... 121 Marco Lang ............................................. 127 Bernhard Lederer ................................. 133 Sebastian Naeschke ............................. 139 Raúl Pagès ............................................... 145 Antoine Preziuso .................................. 151 Alessandro Rigotto .............................. 157 Andreas Strehler ................................... 163 Zehua Tan ................................................ 169 Kari Voutilainen .................................... 175 Ma Xushu ................................................. 181

Cyril Brivet-Naudot ............................. 188 John-Mikael Flaux ............................... 189 Stefan Kudoke ...................................... 190 Daizoh Makihara ................................. 191

Guo Ming ................................................ 192 Florian Schlumpf .................................. 193 Ludek Seryn ........................................... 194

Valerii Danevych .................................. 198 George Daniels ..................................... 199 Marc Jenni .............................................. 200 Xu Jiabao ................................................ 201 Jean Kazès .............................................. 202 John McGonigle ................................... 203 Matthias Naeschke .............................. 204 Rainer Nienaber ................................... 205

Jozef Op de Beek ................................. 206 Aniceto Jiménez Pita .......................... 207 Thomas Prescher .................................. 208 Leonardo Spinelli ................................ 209 Kiu Tai Yu ................................................ 210 Christiaan Van der Klaauw .............. 211 Peter Wibmer ........................................ 212 Philippe Wurtz ...................................... 213

AHCI statutes ........................................................................................................................... 213 Sponsors ......................................................................................................................................

216


~ 26 ~


Following many very successful years as a watchmaker Ludovic Ballouard followed his greatest dream, which had always been to create his own watches, as he had a head filled with ideas for eccentric complications. This journey started in May 2009, with collectors impatiently waiting and suppliers eager to work, Ludovic created his first timepiece, the Upside Down, which was born in December 2009. With the Upside Down Ludovic Ballouard had the idea of creating a highly complicated and eccentric timepiece with a twist in its presentation of time. The way time is presented in the Upside Down should remind you how important it is to live in the moment. The past time and the future time are, literally, presented upside down to tell you that there should be no regrets about the past which you cannot change and no qualms for the future which you don’t know anything about. Ludovic managed to create the unique Upside Down movement within a year. The movement is patented by Ludovic Ballouard making it unique to his watches. All cases and crowns are engraved by hand in Geneva. All the aspects of the movement along with the 12 maltese cross mechanisms are visible to the naked eye. Ludovic’s idea is that the dial

should bring a smile to your face while the movement will fascinate you, as you can see the whole complication set moving through the sapphire crystal display back.

Driven by his original idea and philosophy, Ludovic Ballouard went on to create his second model, the Half Time, which was presented in January of 2012. The Half Time continues with the idea of presenting time in an unusual way with a highly complicated jumping hour movement, which perpetually reminds you that the most important time is the present. The principle is simple: all the hour indexes are divided in two, therefore unreadable… All except the one showing the current hour. The rotation of two disks “reconstitutes” each index, allowing time to be read. The watch therefore carries no hour hands. A retrograde hand, set on a half-circle at 6 o’clock indicates the minutes in a classical manner. All numerals are divided in half on two disks that rotate in opposite directions, making the numerals unreadable, except for the present time which is whole at the position of 12 o’clock. The minutes are presented in retrograde which is set on a 120° arc at the position of 6 o’clock. All cases and crowns are engraved by hand.


Felix Baumgartner was born in 1975 in Schaffhausen , the son and grandson of watchmakers. In 1993, he graduates from the Watchmaking School in Solothurn. Three years later, he settles in Geneva as an independent watchmaker. Then, in 1997, he co-founds URWERK SA with Mar-

The watch is honoured with both the “Mechanical

tin Frei, artist designer. Their goal: to design and craft

exception” and “Innovation” prizes at the Grand Prix

Haute Horlogerie timepieces blending tradition with fu-

d’Horlogerie de Genève 2014. By 2017, the indepen-

turistic vision. He then presents first watch at Basel with

dent company employs 17 people, 12 of them watch-

the AHCI: the UR-101. Three years later, in 1998, he is

makers. It maintains a steady production of no more

officially inducted into the AHCI (Académie Horlogère

than 150 watches a year. Last but not least, in 2018,

des Créateurs Indépendants). In 2003, URWERK unveils

in the spirit of Breguet’s inspiration of more than 220

the UR-103.01. This model really puts the brand on the

years ago, Felix Baumgartner

horological map. It is followed in 2007 by the UR-201

and produce the very first Sympathique clock, inter-

with its original patented satellite complication.

connecting a mechanical watch and an atomic clock

and his team design

as time reference. The watch is honoured with the 2013 is a milestone for Felix Baumgartner and the

“Audace” prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de

brand: URWERK unveils the EMC, the first very mechan-

Genève 2019 rewarding the best watch which features

ical timepiece with integrated intelligence. A world first.

a non-conformist, offbeat approach to watchmaking.


The flying tourbillon cage, which is made from titanium, is mounted on a ceramic ball bearing and inclined at 3° to the case. The balance wheel is then inclined at 30° to the tourbillon cage. This “bi-plan” construction ensures a continual change in the position of the cage and the regulating organ, thereby optimizing the tourbillon’s capacity to average out the effects of gravity or shocks that might affect proper functioning. The tourbillon makes one complete rotation in 60 seconds and offers constant amplitude in every position. This, combined with the constant supply of energy from the twin barrels, ensures accurate timekeeping.


If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it? I would continue to carry out all my projects.

Which artist inspires you the most outside the world of watchmaking? Leonardo da Vinci.

Do you tend to be on time, five minutes early, or five minutes late? It depends if there is snow or not!

Which do you use for your first sketches, a pencil or software? Pencil.

If you weren’t a watchmaker, what would you have been? A cook, a cheese maker or a lumberjack.

Which daily routine would you find it hardest to do without? My verbena tea before going to bed.

What’s your happiest memory from watchmaking school? Fondues in the middle of the lake in winter.

What would you like to see in Fine Watchmaking over the next 10 years? Make people dream while

What’s your greatest weakness? I am too confident. If you could have dinner with a historic watchmaker, who would you choose, and why? LouisÉlysée Piguet, a clockmaker from the 19th century and also from La Vallée, like me. An outstanding technician, author of magnificent decorations, creator of an astronomical watch, he was a complete clockmaker who, however, worked with a fixed chisel and when there was barely any electricity. I would like to understand why and how he managed to do so much! One dinner would not be enough for all the questions I would have.

preserving traditions and knowledge.

What would be your ideal soundtrack to work to? Georg Friederich Händel, Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Is there a particular place where you find special inspiration? The summit of the Dent de Vaulion.


Bringing to perfection one of the most romantic watch complications, Konstantin Chaykin put into his watch the most alive, realistic Moon in the world – a true, tiny copy of the Earth satellite. The Bulat steel ball resembles the lunar surface and is placed at the centre of the dial. The lunar globe in the watch is fixed, and the changing of phases is displayed by the rotation of a silver half-sphere, which symbolizes the shaded part of the Earth’s satellite. Such an innovative solution of the lunar phase’s indication was used for the first time. Bulat stainless steel was not chosen by chance. Its intricate patterned structure recalls the relief of the lunar surface.


The Joker watch by Konstantin Chaykin is a kinematic piece of pop-art. The dial of the watch is made in the form of an always changing, spectacular and provocative Joker’s face with expressively rotating eyes, a crazy “devilish” smile and a sticking-out red tongue. The “face” of the Joker watch is highly emotional and unpredictable. Its facial expression depends on the current time and the moon-phase. Especially for the Joker watch, Konstantin Chaykin developed the module with double-disk time indication (hour and minute disks are the Joker’s eyes) and the moon-phase indicator is the Joker’s smile.

The Moscow Easter clock movement of an incredible level of complexity is assembled from 2506 parts. It activates the indicators located on 4 dials, and a total of 26 complicated functions are implemented in the clock. In the history of watchmaking in Russia, there are no other watches that are comparable in complexity to the Moscow Computus clock. It took more than two years to think through the concept, design it, assemble the movement and manufacture the clock with the case decorated with semiprecious and decorative stones.


Philippe Dufour was born in 1948 in Le Sentier, Vallée de Joux, where he still lives today. He went to school locally and, in a town of watchmakers, went into watchmaking himself at the technical college. He obtained, with distinction, his “Certificat d’horloger-rhabilleur”. He was employed locally but, very soon, his desire for

presented a new model which he called “Simplicity”.

broader experience saw him working with watchmakers

As the name implies and in keeping with Dufour’s phi-

in London, Frankfurt and the Virgin Islands.

losophy, this is a simple and straightforward timepiece:

Back home, he worked with several of the world-famous

it has no complications.

manufacturers in the Vallée de Joux. Then, in 1978, he set up on his own. He specialised in repairing old and valuable watches. This is one of the most exacting watch making disciplines and also one of the most stimulating. In 1983 he completed the first of his own major creations, the “Grande and Petite Sonnerie minute repeater” pocket watch, of which he produced five further examples. This was followed by the wristwatch version, which won the gold medal for technical innovation at the Worldwide watch making and Jewellery fair in Basel in 1992.

Independent and perfectionist, Philippe Dufour perpetuates the creative spirit of the Vallée de Joux, centre of fine watchmaking in Switzerland. He combines his love of invention, with an unswerving loyalty to the most demanding traditional watchmaking methods. Modest about his own work, he nevertheless has strong views. In discussing his relationship with potential clients, his favourite word is “transparent”. “I want a transparent relationship with those who acquire my watches. I want to be able to say that this is a movement that they

In 1996, also at the Basel fair, he announced the first

won’t find anywhere else. I am proud to put my name on

wristwatch with double escapement: “Duality”. Then,

a watch, but I will do so only when it is my work inside”.

in 2000 the master craftsman of the Vallée de Joux


A wrist watch – from the outside, traditional in every respect. This is apparent to everyone. However, it may reveal more to those who care to take a closer look. Maybe it will tell the more perceptive observers where it breaks with all known traditions.


The H11 can be seen as the counterpart of the H1. For, whereas the core of the H1 is virtually extrapolated over the dial, the H11 hides its inner life, only to reveal on the reverse a compact microcosm clustered around the central balance. Only to the wearer himself shall this microcosm be accessible. Once he takes off the

It is hard to say which aspect is more alluring: the impulsive play of the central balance with its entourage of busy wheels or the soothing promenade of the unique hands on the elegant dial. The H11 shows us two faces of time – the measured time and

H11 to let his mind sink into the play of the central balance he will become aware of the events taking place at the lower level.

the passage of time – and does so surpassing every other Haldimann watch in clarity and beauty. In order to accentuate the equivalence of the said two faces of time the H11 holds a dis-

There the escapement wheel, second wheel, minute wheel and hour wheel spin to the beat of the escapement.

creet feature: the main plate and the dial possess the exact same frosted gilt finish.


First in the world of watchmaking, one of F.P. Journe’s specificities is to produce his movements in 18k rose gold, in order to make them even more precious. Signed with the “Invenit et Fecit” label (invented and made), they recall the importance of a home-made calibre, entirely invented, built, and assembled in the Geneva workshops of the Manufacture.


The in-house movement of the Vingt-8 was designed, built, fabricated, finished and assembled in its entirety in Voutilainen workshops. The movement has a very large balance wheel manufactured in-house, allowing perfect regulation of the watch within strict tolerances. To equip such an exceptional timepiece, a very rare and unique balance-spring system has been used. The exterior of the spring uses a typical Phillips overcoil, while the internal curve uses the little known Grossmann curve. The escapement makes the movement very special; this is the first watch to have two escapement wheels in such a configuration. The escapement wheels give a direct impulse to the balance through the impulse roller/jewel. This escapement is extremely efficient and requires much less energy than traditional lever escapements, offering benefits in terms of longevity and stability in day-to-day use.


Observatoire is a very limited series of wristwatches using remarkable Peseux base calibers. Each movement has been adjusted and tested before finished with hand anglage and perlage. A very rare and unique system of balance spring has also been used: the exterior of the spring uses a typical Breguet overcoil, whilst the internal curve uses the little known Grosman curve. The Observatoire wristwatch marks the first use of this curve in the 21st century, underlining the fact that many of the older watchmaking techniques still have their place of honor in the present day.

One of the greatest contemporary lacquer artists is Mr Tatsuo Kitamura living in Wajima town in Japan. Mr. T. Kitamura, creates lacquer art that stands at the pinnacle of Japanese tradition, bringing a craft that has existed for hundreds of years into the present, exemplifying the passion to preserve the soul, spirit and identity of traditional Japanese culture as expressed in the Edo period. Top of that, another half of the landscape is created by Mrs. Anita Porchet, one of the greatest contemporary enamel makers. The beautiful vineyard with rich colors is made with email cloisonnĂŠ techniques.


Profile for WATCHPRINT.COM

AHCI - The Independent Spirit, Time Makers since 1985  

The Academy of Independent Creators in Watchmaking (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants, AHCI) is celebrating its 35th anniversary...

AHCI - The Independent Spirit, Time Makers since 1985  

The Academy of Independent Creators in Watchmaking (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants, AHCI) is celebrating its 35th anniversary...

Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded