Independent watchmakers to keep an eye out for 2024

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

We did a roundup article on up and coming independents to watch out for way back in 2020. It is time for us to revisit that list, and see who remains on our watch list, who dropped out, and who are newly added.

Independent watchmakers to keep an eye out for 2024

In the 2020 article, we outlined six independent watchmakers who we think deserve for us to keep an eye out for. The article, from the onset have excluded independents who have already achieved considerable success, with waitlists in 2020 that is still yet to be fulfilled even in 2024. On this list, we have the grandfather of the grandmasters Philippe Dufour, a name that is only too familiar with most of our readers. But also other everyday names in these neck of the woods are the likes of F.P. JourneKari VoutilainenRexhep Rexhepi, the Grönefeld brothers, Hajime AsaokaGreubel Forsey, Vincent Calabreseand Vianney Halter. All independent watchmakers operating at the very high end of haute horlogerie, and all familiar characters on this site.

For the 2024 list, we repeat two names in our 2020 list, removed two and added three new ones. Without further ado, here we go.

Raúl Pagès

We kick off with Raúl Pagès. The most recent independent watchmaker to hit the headlines, so to speak. With his recent win at the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize, he has risen to the top. And is perhaps no longer as unknown as before. For his win, Raúl will receive a one year of personalised mentorship by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, and a financial grant. We have known Raúl for more than a decade now, and are in full admiration of his work ethic, his dedication to perfection and his single minded focus on achieving excellence. His winning work was his recently introduced Pagès Régulateur à détente RP1. He has a watch which he released earlier: the Soberly Onyx, as well as a mechanised turtle, which served as his first mechanism as an independent.

We look forward to seeing new work from the LV mentorship and cash injection will bring to his novelties to come. But we already envisage his order books will soon be filled up, if it has not yet been booked for full for the next several years. He stays on this list.

Sylvian Pinaud

Sylvian was on our 2020 list, and remains. We remain bullish on this independent watchmaker. His work ethic, his attention to detail, his passion remains as strong as ever. We last met him face to face in 2023, at Watches & Wonders. But we kept in correspondence with him all year long. We remain impressed.

Since the last feature in 2020, he has released a new watch. The Origine is an exceptional timepiece. This piece won him the Revelation Prize at the GPHG in 2022.

The design takes the same architectural and aesthetic cues of Greubel Forsey, including the level finishing gives off the vibes of the haute de gamme of high end watchmaking. At a much more reasonable pricing level. As yet, his deliveries are so few in numbers, that we have yet to see one pop up in an auction. Our gut feel tells us that when a piece should come up, it will have a hammer price at a huge premium over the retail. And that is when the crowd collector will sit up and take notice. This will drive secondary prices and demand up. A matter of when, rather than if. Mark our words.

Yosuke Sekiguchi

A new entry to this list. This Japanese/Swiss maker is a marvel. We met him in person at La Reserve during the Watches & Wonders 2023 week. He charmed and impressed us with his diligence (a typical Japanese trait), and his knowledge of traditional Swiss watchmaking techniques. He desired to use the most traditional techniques to create the most classical Swiss watch tampered with a Japanese soul is a hallmark evident in his work. So far, he has only released the Primevère as his entry watch.

The watch which we examined in Mar 2023 was a prototype, but is a jewel in its own right. The design is superbly classical. The finishing is exquisitely executed. The architecture and layout is magnificently beautiful, and the execution of the finishes applied is of the highest level.

He gets on this list, as though we find the level of work to be superb and very high level, he has not yet gained the respect of the collectors. But in typical Japanese style, he is not in a hurry. But will take his time to execute perfection.

Andreas Strehler

Another new entry to the list. Andreas is not a newbie in the world of independent watchmaking. He cut his teeth way back circa 1998 with his Tischkalender – the first watch with a mechanical memory – a new interpretation of Abraham Louis Breguet’s Sympathique, for which he has a patent. He also have several notable creations, including the early works appearing in H. Moser (particularly the spectacular Perpetual), the Harry Winston Opus project (Opus 7), most precise phase of the moon indication ever built in a wristwatch and Guinness world record holder (1 day error in 2 million years Sauterelle à lune perpétuelle), and the Trans Axial Tourbillon presented in 2019.

But the more important reason why we have Andreas as an entry on this list is his latest foray. Released in 2023, he released the Sirna on a new brand he founded. This was to offer series production watches. No customisations, no special requests which are always available on his high end, Andreas Strehler branded creations. In exchange, the watch is available in a very attractive price of CHF 20k. On the Strehler branded (as opposed to those signed Andreas Strehler) watches, it is a series production, all done in-house in his facility in Sirnach. Currently only available as a three handed watch with a magnificent laser engraved guilloché dial. The movement is designed and fully created in-house. We will have a report of his manufacture soon. Watch this space.

Jämes-César Pellaton

We feel we should mention Jämes-César Pellaton and the creator Michel Dawalbili’s Chronomètre Royal de Marine. The watch is extremely impressive. A true masterpiece creation. And one which is not frequently discussed among the watch cognoscenti. But we hesitate for two reasons. Their entire collection comprise of two series closely related to each other. So essentially one watch in wrist watch or pocket watch in various metals.

But also mainly because the price tag is high enough to warrant it to be a contender with the offerings by the big boys. The Chronomètre Royal de Marine carries a retail price of more than CHF 300k. Should we have them on this list? We do love the watches though.

Shane Tulloch

Dropping off the list is Shane Tulloch. His remarkable TC-01 First Edition is an exceptional watch. But alas, the company has succumbed as a victim to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shane had chosen to sell the watches directly, and with the travel and movement restrictions enforced by the authorities during the pandemic, could not promote his watches. Being an unknown then, he remained unknown. And Shane sadly wound up the company in 2020.

Petermann Bédat

Also dropping off is Petermann Bédat. Not because they have dropped the ball, but rather the opposite. They have graduated to the big boys class. We have been and still are big fans of Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat. Ever since we first met them in 2019 when of the we saw their first protoype of the Seconde Morte. We subsequently visited them at their atelier in Renes, and continued our amazement with their work ethos and skills. We followed up with a comprehensive review and Watchscape of the commercial release of the Seconde Morte. And the Second Series. As well as their new (as of Mar 2023) Ref. 2941 Monopusher Split-Seconds Chronograph.

We emphasise once again that their exclusion from the list is not because of lack of faith or interest in their work. But rather we judge that Gaël Petermann & Florian Bédat have arrived. Their Ref. 2941 being a witness to that. It is pitched at about a quarter million Swiss Francs, and sports an impressively long waiting list despite.

Concluding thoughts

No, we did not forget Simon Brette. He is in the periphery of our vision, and we still keep track of his work. We recently were in touch with him, and will likely drop in to visit his atelier later this year. But we have temporarily suspended him from the list as his production capacity is over flooded. And currently the waitlist for one of his Chronomètre Artisans Subscription Edition currently several years long.

Nor have we forgotten the McGonigle brothers. We have left them off because they are currently reorganising. And some parts of the family remain in Switzerland, some have returned to Ireland and at least one brother currently helming the Cambodian School.

And of course, the name which kicked off our 2020 list – Ch. Frodsham. They are still in our radar, but again, production numbers are so small that it is hard to get on the list to buy one.



  1. “ he has rose to the top”

    No, Peter, not English. A bit unforgivable, this.

    “Simon Brett”

    No, not his name.