In A Watch Factory…

In A Watch Factory…

September 2013. We find ourselves in room 3b, deep in the basement of an old watch factory in the Jura region of Switzerland. In this very room, 8 years ago are the seeds of the first Helicon project….

Room 3b was a long forgotten storeroom in which were stacked shelves, drawers and old cardboard boxes containing watch components dating back to the early 1960’s.

During the past 20 years, we have had the privilege of visiting watchmakers all over the World; Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany, from Hong Kong to Japan, but we are not interested in fancy showrooms. We really want to know what makes watchmakers tick! We want to understand, not only how they make their watches, but how they arrived at their place in watchmaking history, so we make it our business to search every nook and cranny and see what inspiration and lessons we can take from their history.

And now back to room 3b. Amongst all these watch components, there was a case that caught our eye. It had, in our opinion, a perfect shape, form and size. An aesthetic perfect to charm the most ardent vintage enthusiast but, with enough presence on the wrist to satisfy the modern watch enthusiast, it was, if you will excuse the pun…….timeless.

We sat and chatted with representatives of the company and expressed our desire to put this watch into modern production. Bearing in mind the now long distant days of 2013, they just could not understand what we wanted. These were the days when big was better and a vintage sized watch was well just too feminine! What man wants, they thought, is a watch that is big, masculine, as large as a man's ego should be!

Well we didn't agree. For us, a watch can be just right; for a man or a woman. Now since that time, we went on to produce designs and collaborations with other watchmakers around the globe, all of which were very successful. Many now sold out command high premiums from collectors. We learn a lot of lessons from those projects. However, the thought of the original watch design from room 3b stayed with us, and the possibilities. What if we could create this perfect watch, but incorporate the latest manufacturing and technologies to produce a watch with an amazing vintage feel.

Now fast forward to 2018 when we had the great good fortune to work with the principal of a major watch manufacturer of great skill and production know-how. Many famous watch brands relied on their skills. Together, we made a small short run of just 30 pieces of a watch which sold out virtually instantly, we didn't even have time to market that watch! It was sold to friends and by word of mouth.

Spurred on by that support and buoyed up by all the encouragement from those who purchased that project, we proposed to that watchmaker that perhaps he might consider our previous project. I am thrilled to say that he got it straight away. Now let me say, when I say watchmaker, I am talking about an extensive team of watchmaking industry professionals. Designers, technical engineers and watchmakers that are highly respected by the biggest names in the business, so when we sat around to plan this very special project all the elements came together and we were able to not only build a watch of which we had dreamt for so long, but to substantially improve its performance and specification to the latest of standards.

The comfort and reassurance of a vintage watch, with the latest horological advancements. Tempt you?

Well, why don’t you join us for our next blog to read how we took the original concept and literally broke it down into its original components.