February 12, 2020
Meet the 3 Inspired Artisans We Invited to Doha Fair
The organizers of the upcoming Doha Jewelry and Watch Exhibition describe their event as a journey into wonder. Perhaps that important little word – “wonder” – is really the essence of it.
After all, isn’t a bit of “wonder” the reason why a talented artisan will put on a loupe and sit at a tall bench for days on end – months sometimes – creating one extraordinary work of art? Isn’t that why they train for so many years? Or why they endlessly obsess over their craft?
That kind of life-long dedication is only possible because their work is creative, and fills them with a sense of wonder. It’s pure passion. And that is also what we feel when it’s finished, and we hold their exquisite work in our hands, and marvel at the artistic lines, the concept, and the micro-engineering.
That’s how the three brothers of Salon des Horlogers feel about it. They are Swiss-born, and of Pakistani heritage, and artisanal horology is at the core of their universe.
That’s also why, along with the avid watch fans of the Qatar Watch Club, they’ve decided to bring three of the best Swiss watchmaking artisans to Doha.
Their aim? To make the Doha Fair fall in love with the rare art of the Independent Watch Artisan.
It’s the ultimate union of science and art, discipline and finesse. All that is elegant finds the perfect mechanical function and expression in a unique watch – combined with the most diligent attention to detail in every cog, every escapement wheel, and every tourbillon. That is the time-honored tradition in Geneva – and what Salon des Horlogers would like to bring to the Gulf.
There’s no better way to do that than to get hands-on with the process. Skilled artisans representing Laurent Ferrier, Ludovic Ballouard and Romain Gauthier will be there, demonstrating the living art.
When you experience for yourself just how remarkable, how delicate and precise the work really is, everything that goes into it, and just how intricate these designs are – it’s as if a new dimension of appreciation opens up. Put on that loupe, and spend half an hour at the watchmaking bench, and a timepiece will never be the same again. It’s no longer just an expensive toy, or a novelty. It’s a work of art.
M. Ferrier believes in perpetuating the excellence of Swiss horology, but quickly adds that respect for tradition does not prevent innovation. In that sense, he speaks the language of Salon des Horlogers – who likewise believe in finding new, modern ways to respect the tradition, always combined with fresh innovation.
Laurent Ferrier’s creations exude the balance of a true of master. They are inspired by centuries of history, which you can sense in each piece, and they demonstrate an entire universe of finely crafted and technically avant-garde mechanisms.
The “Galet Square” Autumn dial, for example, combines the technology of a micro-rotor movement with silicon escapement, a double direct impulse on the balance, and one of the best possible hand-finishes we’ve seen. (The Doha exhibition will allow visitors to experience the magic in person.)
When done at the highest level, this technique produces clean, consistent, and highly polished convex bevels with no traces of machining marks. A convex bevel (as opposed to a flat bevel) is more difficult and more time-consuming to produce, looks more refined, and allows the light to dance off the watch from different angles.
For the more delicate watch pieces, the beveling is meticulously finished with a metal hand-file and then with a piece of pegwood and abrasive paste. Sometimes a bench-style grinding wheel or a hand-held rotary tool called a “touret” is used.
Wheel spokes are beveled, screw hands are chamfered and polished, the interior angles are hand- crafted, the micro-rotor is engraved, the steel parts are black polished, and the bridges are also chamfered. No detail on the 41mm x 41mm cushion-shaped case is left to chance.
That’s artisanal dedication at its finest.
Ludovic Ballouard “Upside Down”
(With a racing green dial and “arabic” numerals).
Ludovic Ballouard, is a French artisan based in Switzerland. As an independent watchmaker, he creates truly unique watches, always with a subtle twist.
At first glance, it’s easy to miss the technically complex movements – so that’s why we invited him to Doha, where he can explain in person.
The Upside Down uses a unique time indication system, with a jumping hour mechanism, a centrally mounted minutes hand and a small seconds indicator, positioned at 6 o’clock. The hour numerals are distributed on twelve discs surrounding the titanium dial, tucked underneath the bezel.
The quirky detail of this timepiece is that every hour there is only one disc that turns right side up corresponding to the hour of day, while the rest remain upside down.
Romain Gauthier “Logical One Byzantine”
Monsieur Romain Gauthier hails from the Vallée de Joux in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, the traditional home of watchmaking. It’s ironic that at first he had no inclination to make watches, but studied engineering instead. Later he had an epiphany moment, and decided to use his remarkable talents to create something enduring and artistic.
At Baselworld 2019, Gauthier revealed his unique ‘Logical One Byzantine’, and began pushing the boundaries of bespoke haute horlogerie.
It’s a thing of beauty, seamlessly combining engineering and art.
It features four design patents, and the invention of a new mechanism, employing a snail shaped cam connected to the mainspring via a steel chain with friction-minimizing ruby rollers. Romain Gauthier decided on using a cam rather than the traditional fuse, and incredibly, linking it to the mainspring on the same plane. That means all the winding force is transmitted in a highly efficient straight line – a incredible feat of micro-engineering.
At the Doha Fair we will be unveiling a unique piece that was created for the Middle East.