Le Garde Temps, la Naissance d’une Montre”Preserving, perpetuating and sharing traditional watchmaking expertise
Preserving, perpetuating and sharing traditional watchmaking expertise for future generations: such is the challenge that Philippe Dufour, Stephen Forsey and Robert Greubel set for themselves when they decided to join together in the adventure of an unprecedented project, “Le Garde Temps, la Naissance d’une Montre”.
Since Philippe Dufour, Stephen Forsey and Robert Greubel all share the same passion and vision of watchmaking, their paths were destined to cross. Realizing that the practice and knowledge of many watchmaking techniques, and hand craftsmanship in general, was declining, inexorably sinking into oblivion and, systematically being replaced by industrial methods, they decided to take action by initiating a project involving the complete creation of a wristwatch – from the first sketches to the final timepiece. This adventure will involve two key angles: firstly, making an inventory of the watchmaking techniques that deserve to be safeguarded; and secondly, passing them on to a talented young watchmaker with the aim of perpetuating them.
Michel Boulanger, a qualified watchmaker and restorer who teaches at the Paris Watchmaking School, was a natural choice for this endeavour. With the support of the three project initiators, his challenge will be to create a very few but truly hand-made Haute Horlogerie timepieces. As the heir and custodian of this expertise, Michel Boulanger will then carry the torch and pass it on to future generations.
Each completed timepiece will represent the concrete result of the transmission and acquisition of knowledge. It will be a manual-wind, three-hand tourbillon wristwatch embodying a contemporary blend of traditional and ancestral techniques.
Philippe Dufour, Stephen Forsey and Robert Greubel are expressing their desire to share their passion with the broadest possible audience through this extraordinary and totally unprecedented adventure.
Sharing this knowledge will take three different forms. Firstly, a series of 3D films will provide a close-up and detailed view of the implementation of time-honoured watchmaking techniques, and will keep track of the human adventure in an informative and lively way. These films are specifically intended to preserve existing expertise and to share the adventure with the widest possible audience. A regular blog will update on the progress, while a world tour is also planned as an optimal means of allowing watch enthusiasts to view the project at first hand. There will be a deliberate focus on visual and interactive information, since it allows the transmission of this expertise to be educational and dynamic.
This project is supported by Greubel Forsey and Time æon Foundation.
To find out more, visit the blog at www.legardetemps-nm.org