Amid the madness of the press releases flying all over the place in view of the impending SIHH next week, we take a short break to look at a new independent watchmaker. Sylvain Pinaud who is introducing a monopoussoir chronograph which is almost completely hand made.
Sylvian Pinaud is the son of a watchmaker and learnt his trade in tradeschool and from restoring watches at Dominique Mouret. He also worked on many projects as a prototype technician for large watch brands. He decided to go independent as he was growing frustrated at the lack of watchmaking skills and he entered a contest – Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France. He managed to win the contest with his submission of the monopoussoir chronograph.
The watch was created from a base movement – the ETA 6497, but only the gears and the escapement is preserved. As the 6497 is not a chronograph, Sylvain had to fabricate the chronograph works on his own. He also made the bridges, the mainplate, the winding system and balance wheel which were completely rebuilt and manufactured to fully integrate the chronograph. In the prototype, a few parts were manufactured by CNC, but the vast majority were handmade and with conventional machines. Tempering, bluing, decoration and polishing, all this is entirely done in the traditional way.
The chronograph works is very traditional, using a horizontal clutch with column wheel, and is fully visible through a large aperture on the dial at 6 o’clock.
Sylvain’s idea is to allow light into the entire watch case, and he did this by raising the sapphire crystal and using a peripheral crystal. The case is machined from a block of grade 5 titanium and is finished to play on contrasting finishes of brushed and polished bevels. The caseback is sober, revealing only the balance wheel and the bridge. Sylvain was aiming for it to look like a marine chronometer.
The piece in the photographs, supplied by Sylvain is not signed as this was the requirement for the contest. But the manufactured chronographs will carry the wordings “Sylvain Pinaud Horloger”, “monopoussoir chronograph” as well as the number of the piece and the year will appear on the caseback. The dial will be signed with just “Sylvain Pinaud”.
As mentioned, the chronograph works are laid out in a large opening on the dial so that the workings can be viewed.
The movement looks well finished, with all steel parts mirror polished and bevelled by hand. Wheels are also bevelled and circular graining applied. The main plate is in anthracite grey and the upper bridge is finished with straight graining. The watch is customizable.
• 45H power reserve with manual winding • 2.5 Hz variable inertia balance • Single pusher column-wheel chronograph with horizontal clutch • Counter 45 Minutes semi instantaneous • Case and buckle in grade 5 titanium (Also available in 18K gold) • Diameter: 42mm Height: 12.5mm including glass • Water resistance 3 ATM (30 meters) • Bespoke black Calfskin strap
All photographs supplied by Sylvain.