The first watch created by Le Garde Temps – Naissance d’une Montre project, has been sold to an unnamed buyer for delivery in 2016.
The project is the brainchild of three renowned watchmakers, Greubel Forsey, Philippe Dufour, and Michel Boulanger.
Back in 2007, they challenged themselves to create a multiple complication mechanical watch without the aid of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines in order to ensure that these centuries-old skills were not lost forever.
CNC machines are capable of near perfect repeatability and precision, making the manufacture of complicated movements and cases far easier than it was for the pioneers of watchmaking.
Due to increasing mechanisation and a massive recourse to automation in the world of watchmaking, an entire heritage of ancestral procedures and techniques was on the verge of disappearing. They therefore decided to act by combining their efforts to select a pupil and then transmit their expertise to him.
The pupil chosen by the group was Michel Boulanger, a French watchmaking teacher at the Diderot vocational training college in Paris.
Every month since 2001, Boulander has travelled to La Chauxde-Fonds to work with and learn from Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey, Philippe Dufour and other specialists practising at the Greubel Forsey Atelier.
To fund the work, the aim is to create 11 complete watches. Watch number one of 11 sold this week for CHF450,000, according to a report on Hodinkee.
The successful sale of the watches will not only pay for Boulanger’s ongoing education, it is hoped that it can multiply so that an increasing number of horologists acquire the skills.