FIRST LE GARdE TEmPS TImE­PIECE

Revolution (Hong Kong) - - SPLIT SECONDS -

This year, a pro­ject known as the Le Garde Temps – Nais­sance d’une mon­tre reached an im­por­tant mile­stone, with the com­ple­tion of an ex­tra­or­di­nary time­piece driven by a man­ual move­ment with a three-hand time dis­play and tour­bil­lon. What makes this piece truly ex­cep­tional, how­ever, is that it is crafted en­tirely by hand, through tra­di­tional watch­mak­ing tech­niques, us­ing only tra­di­tional tools.

The Le Garde Temps – Nais­sance d’une mon­tre is a pro­ject ini­ti­ated by Robert Greubel, Stephen forsey and Philippe du­four in 2009, in an ag­gres­sive re­sponse to the re­al­iza­tion that the in­creas­ing mech­a­niza­tion and au­to­ma­tion in watch­mak­ing is putting age-old, tra­di­tional watch­mak­ing tech­niques on the brink of ex­tinc­tion. The pro­ject in­volved se­lect­ing an ap­pren­tice, in this case french watch­mak­ing teacher michel Boulanger, who would be men­tored per­son­ally by Greubel, forsey and du­four, in time-hon­ored watch­mak­ing tech­niques prac­ticed and per­fected by the 19th cen­tury horol­ogy mas­ters like Jac­ques-frédéric Houriet and Abra­ham-Louis Breguet, us­ing only tra­di­tional tools, such as the up­right­ing tool, hand-man­drel lathe and the top­ping tool.

It took Boulanger six years of close men­tor­ing to build up this level of knowl­edge in tra­di­tional watch­mak­ing, and to com­plete the first fully func­tional watch. This piece is only the first of eleven planned for this se­ries, with all pro­ceeds from the sales for­warded to sus­tain­ing the Le Garde Temps – Nais­sance d’une mon­tre pro­ject.

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT It took Michel Boulanger six years to fin­ish the first fully work­ing, cased-up piece; The watch was made us­ing mainly tra­di­tional watch­mak­ing tools like these; First Le Garde Temps, fully hand­crafted time­piece with three hands

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