Dominique Renaud: A Horological Grand Master Then And Now | Quill & Pad

Dominique Renaud: A Horological Grand Master Then And Now | Quill & Pad

Back in the last part of the 1980s and mid ’90s, mechanical watchmaking was starting its extraordinary rise to enter what is currently broadly known as the “mechanical renaissance.”

Big-name brands were indeed becoming keen on progressing non-quartz watchmaking, and the little authority’s market able to pay huge cash for outstanding mechanical watches started to increment in size and scope.

The Swiss watch industry is by its very nature a house industry, so during this period a large number of the significant complications were being created by outside experts with a specific penchant for intuition outside the box.

These providers included such firms as THA (Techniques Horlogères Appliquées, established by three youthful French watchmakers François-Paul Journe , Vianney Halter, and De Bethune ‘s Denis Flageollet ), Christophe Claret , and Renaud & Papi – however, similar to the entire Swiss watch industry, the lines between the brands and the providers were often very foggy and it might not have consistently been clear where one company or brand began and the other ended.

Dominique Renaud (left) and Giulio Papi working at the bench in 1988

Renaud & Papi and RPC

Dominique Renaud started working at Audemars Piguet in 1980. He got his watchmaker instruction in Besançon, however his family initially hailed from the Vallée de Joux.

“I was conceived and experienced childhood in Besançon because my parents moved there in the wake of having met at Vacheron Constantin,” Renaud clarifies his legacy, which was established in two significant centers of watchmaking. “Experiencing childhood in an environment completely loaded up with watches and watchmaking spurred me to enter the neighborhood watchmaking school and devote myself to it.”

Both Renaud and Papi had recently been standard bench watchmakers at Audemars Piguet. They struck out all alone, establishing Renaud & Papi SA in 1986 to investigate avenues of high complication, which they had not yet been ready to completely experience at Audemars Piguet despite the fact that they had been chipping away at watches as complicated as perpetual calendars.

An Audemars Piguet skeleton minute repeater created and delivered by Renaud & Papi

“I remained at Audemars Piguet for a very long time, realizing what beautiful watchmaking truly implied,” Renaud thinks back today.

At the 1987 Basel Fair, the late Rolf Schnyder, then proprietor and CEO of Ulysse Nardin , mentioned that Christophe Claret build up a selective minute repeater movement. While satisfying this request, in 1989 Claret established a company alongside the two other super talented watchmakers. This subsequent company centered on the magistrate of Renaud, Papi, and Claret was called RPC.

The organization didn’t keep going close to as long as the watches the threesome made and ended in 1992, with Claret communicating a craving for independence. He purchased up his accomplices’ offers and renamed the company Christophe Claret SA.

Dominique Renaud (left) and Giulio Papi in 1990 external Renaud & Papi in Le Locle, Switzerland

Papi and Renaud required extra financing since they had no external cash put resources into the company and expected to employ watchmakers to satisfy their own agreements. Audemars Piguet, one of their primary clients, stepped in and bought 52 percent of the company. Along these lines, the watchmakers’ past business, Audemars Piguet, made its first push toward getting its future in high complications.

The greater part of the standing of Renaud & Papi – as the company was presently known – depended on the complication that it started life making: the minute repeater. What’s more, it should come as nothing unexpected that this additionally remains Christophe Claret’s specialty.

Dominique Renaud in 1988 at the Renaud & Papi atelier in Le Locle


Around the turn of the millennium, significant changes happened among Renaud & Papi’s pioneers: Renaud sold the entirety of his offers and withdrew, refering to the need to take a break and revive (it has been said he opened an informal lodging in an extraordinary locale).

“Then came the moment when I reached the decision I required a break,” Renaud says today. “I needed to venture back to return with novel thoughts and start my very own project.”

Robert Greubel , who had shown up in 1990 and was joint COO together with Fabrice Deschanel, additionally sold his 4 percent in 1999 and left. More history was made when he and another watchmaker likewise utilized at Renaud & Papi as the main prototypist – Englishman Stephen Forsey – first worked independently prior to establishing CompliTime in 2001 and afterward Greubel Forsey in 2004.

The company authoritatively renamed Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi (APRP) in 2003 after AP obtained an entire 78 percent is situated in Le Locle and now utilizes in excess of 150 representatives under one roof.

Papi, who presently deals with the company together with Deschanel (who possesses 2 percent), comments that APRP can be likened to a “preparation ground,” and that it is planned so others can likewise look out their own independence should that be the way they want. Today, APRP depicts its primary administrations to brands as proposing thoughts, having some expertise in quality completing and enrichment, and making dependable watches.

It is maybe no coincidence that some of the watch business’ most inventive horological minds have acquired their wings at APRP prior to setting out all alone. These incorporate Peter Speake-Marin , Andreas Strehler , Bart & Tim Grönefeld, and Stepan Sarpaneva to name simply a few.

Skeletons, complications, and ringing chimes

Most watch fans are ignorant that APRP has been behind a lot of great, complicated horology purchased and sold under different names in the course of recent years or so.

Audemars Piguet Caliber 2865 minute repeater from 1990 created by Renaud & Papi

Naturally, APRP was behind Audemars Piguet’s minute rehashing oeuvres – and a whole lot more as time went on.

Richard Mille likewise makes no secret of the fact that he is so appreciative to APRP for the incredible, solid inventions that they have provided over the a long time since he established his eponymous brand.

But few realize that Renaud and Papi, alongside Robert Greubel, were the geniuses behind the tolling complication module of IWC’s Grand Complication. “One day we went to IWC to meet Günter Blümlein and Kurt Klaus,” Renaud recalls. “Then a supernatural occurrence happened: we associated well with Mr. Blümlein.”

APRP stays known specifically for its aptitude in minute repeaters.

Dominique Renaud in his workshop close to Lausanne, indeed dealing with fascinating new developments

Renaud’s comeback

After fifteen years from the universe of watches, Renaud returned 2013 and together with previous Solar Impulse project chief Luiggino Torrigiani established Dominique Renaud SA. The thought being to make a Swiss watch advancement lab to create unique and exceptionally complex movements.

“He spent years thinking and reflecting,” Torrigiani affirms. “He likewise fabricated a conviction that it’s an ideal opportunity to challenge the business with a no-restrictions style of thinking.”

In 2014, HYT declared a coordinated effort with Renaud to help make fascinating bits of horology inside the system of its hydromechanical concept.

Dominique Renaud presently teams up with HYT

But what could be even more fascinating are Renaud’s own activities yet to come. “I in reality invented something that I gauge will astonish many. This new escapement doesn’t have anything to do with what exists now. A few watchmakers may be shocked.”

A new escapement invention by Dominique Renaud will be declared soon

New watch by Dominique Renaud

First perspective on the new watch by Dominique Renaud

Watch this space for more news soon from the horological terrific expert Dominique Renaud.