In recent Issues, QP has devoted plenty of space to the resurgence of ambition on British watchmaking and QP58 is no exception as we recount the debut of Meridian, the Norwich-based company whose lead watchmaker, Simon Michlmayr, is one of a cohort of talented students taught by Peter Roberts that includes Stephen Forsey and Peter Speake-Marin. But focusing solely on British stories is not just parochial, however enjoyable, it is only a part of a much wider and more interesting development. The first is the openness of the Swiss industry to foreign interests, influences and people at all levels and the second is the growth of watchmaking in the rest of Europe and beyond, two phenomena that are really just different sides of the same coin - watchmaking is a "light industry" where access to talent and experience is far more important than the location of the raw machinery. That the likes Francois-Paul Journe (whose latest opus is featured in this Issue), Christophe Claret and the two Englishmen above chose to make their careers in Switzerland is, however, no accident.
This is because Switzerland remains the centre of knowledge in the business, the place where hands-on help can be quickly supplied and where ideas are traded and prosper. And the value of having specialist suppliers within half an hour's drive and a qualified labour pool on-hand can hardly be over-estimated. So while QP's guided tour of watchmaking on Europe's Northern fringe is glimpse of the future (and certainly includes some of the most interesting makers around), watchmaking is still an essentially Swiss business and, in some cases, can be even more precisely located. Any modern minute repeater or other chiming watch has a better than even chance of coming from the Vallée de Joux, some people even suggest the figure is above 75%.
Optimum Performance: F.P. Journe
Following the deaths of George Daniels (last year) and Derek Pratt (in 2009) [...]
With the slogan 'Made In England… For the World', Meridian demonstrates no a [...]
Sound Investment: Minute Repeaters
Chiming watches attract less of the limelight compared to tourbillons, being [...]
High Five: Peter Roberts
Occasionally Peter Roberts can be seen wearing the unique five-hand timepiec [...]