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Duality

by J.Edwards

I had the good pleasure of dining with a fellow watchmaker tonight and, as one might expect, much of our conversation over the evening centered around watches. Those we admired. Those we had fixed. Difficult clients we have had. Our dream watch. That sort of thing. Later on into the evening, while flipping through Guido Mocafico’s Movement, my friend’s face lit up when we happened upon an image of F.P. Journe’s ‘Chronometre A Resonance’ – a watch movement with two balance wheels. At first, I thought that he was intrigued by the purpose of the mechanism and its immaculate execution, but that wasn’t it. I could tell he was digging for something, at the back of his mind. A name. He had worked on a piece like this before, but it wasn’t Journe’s. He was thinking of something even more immaculate. “Dufour,” he said, “Philippe Dufour! That was it.”

I almost fell off my chair.

He had serviced Philippe Dufour’s ‘Duality’ several years ago for a very selective client. I don’t ever expect to have the pleasure of servicing a Dufour timepiece in my lifetime, but if the day ever comes, I will greet it with open arms. Dufour is one of the most respected and revered independent watchmakers alive today. I know from pictures that the level of fit and finish of his watches is unparalleled. My friend assured me, it’s true. “They’re perfect,” he told me, “They look like they’re made by a machine, but you know that no machine could ever have made them so perfectly.” Working on the Duality was ethereal.

I can only imagine.

If you have never heard of Philippe Dufour before, I encourage you to get acquainted. Timepiece, a short film by UK-based Animal Monday, is well worth watching and Elizabeth Doerr’s recently published book, Twelve Faces of Time, both offer a unique and intimate look into his life and work. Another excellent book that offers some more insight into Dufour’s work is Michael Clerizo’s Masters of Contemporary Watchmaking, which we have profiled previously here on the blog.

3 Comments

  1. Posted April 1, 2010 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Jon,
    Hello mate, never say never in the world of watchmaking. Recently, I have been studying why watches get passed into service miles away from their official service centers- the blunt truth there is, logistics.
    An example, a fellow buys a hyper expensive watch, and goes to live in a city in the far north- he is compelled to do so due to his work. (Phillippe Dufour watch let’s say)
    The nearest agent, is thousands of miles away, and Insurance is impossible- so, it waits in a drawer, until such time as the person himself will collect the same, and travel with it for the repairs purpose.
    This is an extreme case, but, I know of several gentlemen, who travel the globe, and cannot be in one place more than a week!
    Actually, I get 5-6 months on a perpetual calendar, which gives me enough time to research the parts needed, and then to outsource them. (Cannot give names…lol)
    Anyway, being an Independent, is very difficult- but, you will never know what walks in the door one of these days.
    Keep pegging away..and you will find the world of watchmakers is pretty small, someone out there is watching, and word of mouth, when it gets around, you will be faced with more and more unspeakable names showing up at your door.
    So, the question I am about to ask is- why close the door when you can open them? To be able to receive, open mindedness in one’s self, especially about complicated watches is paramount to a watchmaker, this open mind, is vital and necessary for you to graduate to other things, better repairs and better watches that is
    Prem C.
    ps. sorry for the long winded discourse, just wanted to add a few notes of my own, long since you last posted mate, keep it up!

  2. J.Peter
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I look forward to the day when my situation presents me with some of these amazing watches to work on. Alas, I am very young. I’m sure my time will come, and your’s too J. Edwards :)

  3. Posted April 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind remarks.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your perspective, Prem. I certainly would never say never, either. As I said, I don’t expect to see a Dufour cross my bench, but if one ever does I will gadly accept. Who knows, with the higher number of Simplicities on the market, that day may come.

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