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Guardians of Watchmaking Tradition

The future of haute horlogerie lies in the preservation of the skills of the past.

Visually, the timepiece on this page may look pretty nifty (despite being shown here in its undecorated state) but, in a realm of wonderful watchmaking creations, this tourbillon watch isn’t terribly unique.

But make no mistake: For connoisseurs of fine watchmaking, this could be the most important ticker in recent history. And its full significance will only get clearer as time goes by.

Called “Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre”, or “Guarding Time – The Birth of the Watch”, it is the result of a patronage project spearheaded by three great names in the industry – Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey of their namesake brand Greubel Forsey, and the legendary Philippe Dufour.

(RELATED: Stephen Forsey and Philippe Dufour shares with The Peak about “Le Garde Temps”)

Made fully by hand, down to the tiniest details like the cutting of the screws to the polishing of the rachet wheels, the watch is a modern-day textbook of artisanal watchmaking in the pre-industrial era.

And it’s created by one hand-picked man, a promising teacher named Michel Boulanger from the Paris Watchmaking School. He will, in the future, pass on the skills learnt from his three-year tutelage to students.

Through this noble undertaking, the founders hope to arrest the loss of traditional industry know-how due to the widespread use of computer-controlled milling machines.

This first watch, which is in a late stage of production, is slated to be auctioned some time in 2016, but the rest of the 11-piece run are for sale in the region of $600,000 each, with part of the proceeds going towards a fund for skills preservation. A fine investment for the future, for sure.

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