It’s no mystery: I’m a tremendous admirer of both Philippe Dufour, the horological craftsman, and Dufour, the person.
I love his work and all that it addresses (see Why Philippe Dufour Matters. What’s more, It’s Not A Secret ).
Part of significance, obviously, is leaving an inheritance; through one’s own works, however in the abilities and motivation gave to the individuals who follow. Dufour has done this straightforwardly through the Naissance d’un Montre project with Greubel Forsey (see Le Garde Temps Project With Greubel Forsey And Philippe Dufour: Where It’s At And Where To Next ).
And he has likewise given counsel to a considerable lot of his partners on prickly difficulties and assisted with rousing Kari Voutilainen, among others, to dispatch their own free watchmaking brands.
But who, on the off chance that anyone, will history view as the lineal beneficiary to the Dufour tradition?
Having considered it for a long time, I’ve arrived at what from the outset may appear to be a strange end: Romain Gauthier.
Why I may be wrong
I would already be able to hear some of you yelling at the screen: “Hello, stand by a moment: Gauthier isn’t so much as a watchmaker!”
Yes, that is valid: Romain Gauthier isn’t a watchmaker; he prepared as a miniature mechanical architect. Furthermore, he spent his initial vocation working, and afterward managing the utilization of, computer-guided processing machines used to make watch components, as opposed to reestablishing vintage watches or satisfying an apprenticeship with a prominent expert watchmaker at one of the major maisons.
There are different contrasts too: the second significant piece of Gauthier’s preparation was in administration as a MBA understudy, while Dufour will openly concede that he is no businessman.
And while Dufour’s choice of an individual style for his watches was situated in years spent dismantling and reestablishing exemplary watches and evaluating the engineering and plan decisions made by their makers, Gauthier’s plan approach depends on proficient use of stuff proportions and direct exchange of force in the movement.
But in the event that we look a little more profound, the basic similitudes start to emerge.
Why I am right
He’s a protégé: When Gauthier imagined going into business and making his own watch, while doing his MBA he went to Dufour for exhortation. Following three years of mystery advancement, he “shocked” Dufour with his first watch, the HM, and accumulated more significant guidance.
Dufour additionally made key presentations inside the business and was very sharp, for example, to arrange a joint lunch get-together among Gauthier and our authority bunch during our 2010 visit to the Vallée de Joux.
The Vallée de Joux: There are numerous styles and customs of watchmaking, obviously, including the development plan components and beautification strategies utilized in the Vallée. Dufour and Gauthier are based inside a stone’s toss of one another in Le Sentier, and it shows.
Vallée de Joux highlights, for example, the utilization of “finger” spans are more clear in Gauthier’s first watch, the HM, than in the later Logical One. Yet, finishing draws near, including the utilization of perfectly slanted, sharp inside points, are in proof no matter how you look at it (see Why Do Ultra-High-End Watches Cost So Much? Hand-Finishing At Romain Gauthier Sheds Some Light ).
Speaking of finishing: Dufour is, obviously, the recognized expert of the craftsmanship, and when Gauthier showed him the model of the HM, he gave fundamentally significant guidance on the best way to improve the finishing work to the most elevated standards.
At a similar time, Gauthier has followed his own feelings on the utilization of hand-finishing and machine procedures. For example, he firmly accepts that it is imperative to bestow the mirror finish on the chain of the Logical One utilizing mechanical methods, as hand-finishing would bring about dimensional inconsistencies that would debilitate the chain.
Clear and basic style: With Dufour, it’s the Simplicity, the most rich execution of a three-gave watch I know. With Gauthier it’s the “little s” straightforwardness in that he looks for the cleanest specialized methodology for a given task.
For occurrence, in the Logical One Gauthier exhibits the timekeeping components on the correct side and the consistent power system on the left, considering the most immediate exchange of force. This is a way of thinking likewise reflected in the utilization of a solitary level chain and snail for the steady force and the catch driven, flat winding mechanism.
And while the dial and case styles of Gauthier’s pieces are maybe a smidgen more lavish than Dufour’s, they do mirror an elegance missing in much present day watch design.
Self-marking: Obvious, maybe, however vital: Dufour was among the early pioneers in the rejuvenation of valid, self-marked autonomous watchmaking. Gauthier dove in right off the bat with the foundation of his own image and business.
His MBA project? The foundation of a watchmaking endeavor named “Romain Gauthier.”
Application of innovation: When you hear Dufour recount his story, one of the most striking components is the focal job that innovation played in his prosperity. He was one of the most punctual clients of computer-helped plan (CAD) in watchmaking, and furthermore applies computer-guided machining (CNC), sparkle disintegration, and other “cutting edge” fabricating techniques.
Gauthier has gone above and beyond: night and end of the week admittance to CAM (computer-supported assembling) offices was a basic empowering influence of his initial achievement. His watches are an entrancing mix of fine handwork and machining – at times in territories one wouldn’t expect, as in the use of completely uniform striping to the surfaces of certain plates and bridges.
A center around timekeeping: The Duality, with its twin escapements connected by a differential, is flawless declaration to Dufour’s confidence in the significance of incredible timekeeping. I can likewise affirm that he appreciated hearing that over the time of a month of constant use, my Simplicity acquired an excellent complete of seven seconds!
With its chain-and-snail consistent force framework, Gauthier’s Logical One carries another new methodology with exceptional outcomes: going from a completely twisted to completely depleted origin, its time misfortune because of isochronism is a miniscule four seconds.
“Secret” bling: Yes, bling! Romain Gauthier has his own Logical One Secret cleared with jewels; Philippe Dufour has the “Number 201” Simplicity in a white gold precious stone pavé case and buckle.
A particular house style: If you had a chance to investigate a Dufour watch front and back, even without the brand stamping it would be obvious that it is a Dufour. I accept that the equivalent is valid for Gauthier: there is an unmistakable and reasonable style and a bunch of viewable signs that recognize his work and give an establishment to future extensions.
Who else is in the running?
Even in the event that we leave aside the incredible watchmakers who are not free movers, there are numerous awesome craftspeople out there today. The aim isn’t to affront any of them here!
I’ve avoided with regard to the “challenge” the individuals who may all the more effectively be viewed as Dufour’s counterparts, yet who very probably don’t see themselves as the “following” anyone: parents like Kari Voutilainen , François-Paul Journe, and Vianney Halter .
Stephen Forsey and Robert Greubel have their own special imaginativeness and are, obviously, effectively in dynamic cooperation with Dufour. They surely place timekeeping execution up front, yet their tasteful to me is significantly less an expansion of the Vallée de Joux style than is Gauthier’s.
Roger Smith should be content to be the “following George Daniels”; an exceptionally high honor in fact, by the way!
The extraordinary development creators like Jean-Marc Wiederrecht at Agenhor and rising star David Candaux just as stylish plan stars including Eric Giroud, merit our regard, yet they haven’t understood complete tasks under their own image names (not yet, anyway).
The Grönefeld siblings? Peter Speake-Marin ? Konstantin Chaykin or Aaron Becsei ? All fantastic, however they don’t leave me thinking “Dufour” in the way that Gauthier does.
Ludovic Ballouard ? Completely his own man, given to fun, and somehow or another maybe a profoundly talented “relative” of Alain Silberstein instead of Dufour.
One dull pony: the youthful Geneva watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi and his image AkriviA . Rexhepi brings a solid background from his time at Patek Philippe; his plans, while very contemporary, expand on exemplary ideas; and his commitment to fine finishing is very exceptional. His work has just been selected for one Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève grant, and I expect that we will see an extraordinary arrangement to come from him in the coming years.
Perhaps the best articulations of my musings here are embodied in the engraving at the highest point of Gauthier’s site, just beneath his name: “The Evolution of Tradition.”
Philippe Dufour drew on practice and made the plan codes of the Vallée de Joux part of his very own style. In any case, he likewise stretched out into new territories and embraced “current” methods significantly sooner than numerous others. Gauthier began from that equivalent custom and fused the direction of Dufour himself.
For me, at any rate, he is en route to communicating the customs of the Vallée de Joux in manners that are completely applicable today and give a solid establishment to the future.
For more data, if it’s not too much trouble, visit www.romaingauthier.com.
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For what reason Do Ultra-High-End Watches Cost So Much? Hand-Finishing At Romain Gauthier Sheds Some Light
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