[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]t is a widely held notion that too many cooks spoil the proverbial broth. This sentiment was shared by several watchmakers whom Steven Holtzman encountered in the early days of his brand, Maitres du Temps (French for “masters of time”), which specialises in timepieces created by two or more master watchmakers.

The list of watchmakers who have worked on Maitres du Temps watches reads like a who’s who of horology: Roger Dubuis, Daniel Roth, Christophe Claret, and so on. Recounts Holtzman, who recently partnered Sincere Fine Watches to bring his brand to our shores: “Before our first watch, some couldn’t see why you needed three people to cook one dinner.”

Maitres du Temps’ exceptional horological entrees are proof that a few heads can indeed surpass one. Its last offering, the Chapter Three Reveal, is a dual time-zone model featuring the efforts of award-winning watchmakers Kari Voutilainen and Andreas Strehler. The former designed the movement and oversaw its finishing, while Strehler worked on integrating the case and movement, including the watch’s key feature: windows at 12 and six o’clock that open to reveal rollers – a Maitres du Temps signature – displaying day/night indication and a second time zone, respectively.

“Before people buy from a brand, they want to understand it. Hopefully, the more knowledge we give our customers, the more we’ll help them to make a decision.”

Steven Holtzman, Founder, Maitres du Temps

While Holtzman describes the Voutilainen-Strehler collaboration as his favourite to date (“there was a lot of give and take”), he admits that bringing together some of the most respected brains (and hands) in the business has its challenges. Not that Holtzman lacks for experience in the watch department; in 1982, he joined his father’s Gruen Watch Company. He later started his own company specialising in the distribution of high-end watches.

He notes: “Watchmakers tend to be very introverted, and some of them have strong personalities. You need to give and take, and that can be tricky. I’m the tiebreaker –somebody has to say turn left or right.”

His role, however, goes way beyond that of mere mediation. Explains Holtzman: “I define what the watch will look like, what complications it will have, and its price point. Then I have these outstanding watchmakers work on the mechanical side – and we make the watches in our atelier in La Chaux de Fonds (in Switzerland).”

THE BIG REVEAL: The Chapter Three Midnight Blue White Gold has two dial panels that, at the push of the button in the centre of the crown, slide open to show a day/night indicator and second time zone.

Now that Maitres du Temps has marked its 10-year milestone, Holtzman no longer has to explain the collaborative process that, like its unique roller displays, distinguishes his watches. His main task is to build the brand so that it stands for watchmaking excellence in itself, and not just a convergence zone for the industry’s biggest names.

Says Holtzman: “We’re focusing on building our atelier and our brand. Before people buy from a brand, they want to understand it. Hopefully, the more knowledge we give our customers, the more we’ll help them to make a decision.”