The Rene Addor Calibre Papillon, 11 day Movement © Ian Skellern
While La Locle may not be the most attractive town in the Swiss Jura, it is a World Heritage Site and along with La Chauxde Fonds is the spiritual home of Swiss Watch making. Last week the Horological Museum in La Locle held the awards ceremony in a six month contest to measure the accuracy of watch movements from around the world.
The first competitions were held at the end of the 19th Century and carried on through until the 1970s when the dire situation of the Swiss watch industry at that time, due to the quartz watch, caused it to be cancelled. Manufacturers send in examples of their watch movements and over a period of several months they are subject to a series of tests to measure their accuracy under a number of different environmental and physical conditions.
There are two main categories, those watches from large manufacturers such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Zentih etc and those from independents. The two categories are separated because if you are a large manufacturer produce thousands and thousands of watches just by the law of averages you will produce one that is almost perfect, while a small independent needs to spend many, many hours refining and refining to get it right.
The first place Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Tourbillon (on the left) with the second-place Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon © Ian Skellern
The surprise perhaps was the number of ETA movements that had been entered, not perhaps a surprise given the number of movements the Swatch subsidiary sells each year to other manufacturers and the lengths some watchmakers go to in order to improve the basic movements.
Well the big winners were:
Independent: Rene Addor Calibre Papillon, 11 day Movement
Brand: Jaeger La Coulture Calibre 978 Master Tourbillon
The Rene Addor is a nice silver face classical watch with a subsidiary seconds atthe 9 o’clock , though personally I prefer the look of the rectangular Artisan d’Horlogerie d’Art Voutilainen with it’s “Doctor’s” dial. It’s a shame that there were only three entries in the independent category let’s hope that if they repeat the contest in 2011 that they attract a bigger entry.
As a big fan of Jaeger-Le Coultre I have always liked the Master Tourbillon, if not it’s price, but given a no-limit budget I would go for the Greubel-Forsey.
Emmanuelle Vuille, CEO of Greubel-Forsey, stated “if you promote yourself as crafters of precision movements, then you are obliged to prove it”, and so entered the competition. This is a viewpoint that a few more manufacturers would do well to take on board.
Category: Watch News