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Watchmaking gods? Lunch with Philippe Dufour and Stephen Forsey.

by Peter Chong on September 16, 2015

Gods you say. Well you cannot get to be more revered than Philippe Dufour and Stephen Forsey. Both giants in the watchmaking field. Both were at lunch today. We thought this to be of interest to our readers, that we re-scheduled an article to Saturday to bring this to you just hours after the lunch in Singapore. Thanks to Sincere Fine Watches who organized this event with Christie’s support of the Naissance d’une Montre project.

 

The author flanked by the watchmaking gods: Philippe Dufour and Stephen Forsey. We just could not get our act together to take a decent photograph. But the camaraderie of these old friends can be seen in the fun in their eyes, and the thrill of just being.

The author flanked by the watchmaking gods: Philippe Dufour and Stephen Forsey.
We just could not get our act together to take a decent photograph. But the camaraderie of these old friends can be seen in the fun in their eyes, and the thrill of just being. Photographed at Flutes Restaurant, Singapore. 16 September 2015.

 

The Naissance d’une Montre (French for Birth of a watch) is a wonderful project launched in 2011 with the intention to recapture the “lost” crafts of watchmaking. The project started as a warning cry from Grandmaster Philippe Dufour that because of the increasing industrialisation of the watch industry, knowledge of artisanal craftsmanship is disappearing. Greubel Forsey answered the call, and formed Naissance d’une Montre in collaboration with Philippe Dufour to ensure that some of the skills are passed over to the next generation. They selected a watchmaker, Michel Boulanger, already a teacher at the Paris Watchmaking School to be their first student. Michel went under the tutalage of Philippe, and completed his Journeyman watch, totally by hand using only traditional watchmaking tools.

Stephen Forsey remarked that the watch is almost totally hand made, and perhaps the last time anyone attempted to do a piece like this was George Daniels in his atelier in Isle of Man. A tradition now carried on by Roger Smith. We reviewed the Roger Smith Series 2 earlier. Click here for that review.

The watch is now being presented for auction in favour of the project by Christie’s through the 2016 spring sale in Hong Kong. The watches will then go into a very limited edition production of only 11 pieces.

Why 11? Indeed many of the Greubel Forsey watches, like the Invention Piece no 3 which we reviewed recently (click here), are also limited to an edition size of 11 in each metal. Stephen explains. He revealed that in binary the number 11 is the number 3 in our decimal based system. 1, 10, 11. The number three being the trinity in reference to Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey and the GF team. And reapplied for the Naissance d’une Montre project to refer to Greubel, Forsey and Dufour.

 

 

The Naissance d’une Montre watch. The fruit of Michel Boulanger's efforts.

The Naissance d’une Montre watch. The fruit of Michel Boulanger’s efforts.

 

A review with more live photographs of this magnificent watch will be carried on our pages at Deployant soon. Watch out for the review with our hands on commentary and analysis.

 

We also took the opportunity to take a photograph of the Greubel Forsey Quantième Perpétuel à Équation GF07 on Stephen’s wrist.  Note iPhone 5s photograph in existing light conditions.

 

Greubel Forsey Quantième Perpétuel à Équation GF07 prototype.

Greubel Forsey Quantième Perpétuel à Équation GF07 prototype.

 

And to take this double wrist shot…

 

Double wrist shot. Two Dufour Simplicity makes a Complication?

Double wrist shot. Two Dufour Simplicity makes a Complication? The upper Simplicity in white gold, guilloche dial, 34mm case is on the wrist of Philippe Dufour himself. And the lower one with a lacquer metal dial, roman numerals, in 37mm rose gold case belongs to the author.

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