New Time Aeon Foundation Handmade Watch Project: Robert Greubel, Stephen Forsey And Felix Baumgartner With Urwerk’s Dominique Buser And Cyrano Devanthey On The Tools
by Ian Skellern
In his excellent article on the Time Aeon Le Garde Temps project, A Hero’s Journey Begins And Ends: Naissance d’Une Montre, Le Garde Temps, author Joshua Munchow poetically compares the development of this wristwatch to an epic quest.
At the time I didn’t appreciate just how true the analogy is, though I’d broaden it to be not so much a hero’s quest as a band-of-brothers journey.
And what a journey it’s turning out to be.
What is the Time Aeon Foundation?
The Time Aeon Foundation’s aims are:
- To increase the public’s awareness of the watchmaking world.
- To index and catalogue endangered crafts.
- To preserve the crafts associated with watchmaking excellence and help pass them on to new generations.
- To help protect the world’s watchmaking heritage.
- To inspire people to take up watchmaking as a profession.
- To support the training of future independent watchmakers wishing to promote watchmaking excellence.
Who is the Time Aeon Foundation?
Robert Greubel (Greubel Forsey)
Stephen Forsey (Greubel Forsey)
Philippe Dufour (independent watchmaker)
Felix Baumgartner (Urwerk)
Vianney Halter (independent watchmaker)
David Bernard (Complitime/Time Aeon)
What has the Time Aeon Foundation done before the Naissance d’une Montre project?
The last big undertaking by the Time Aeon Foundation was the Naissance d’une Montre (“birth of a watch”) project, which began in 2009 and is in its last (production) stage now. Naissance d’une Montre involved teaching French watchmaking teacher and master watchmaker Michel Boulanger how to make a fine watch using just hand tools and traditional techniques.
The story about this project was referred to in the introduction, A Hero’s Journey Begins And Ends: Naissance d’Une Montre, Le Garde Temps.
Time Aeon Foundation handmade watch project with Dominique Buser and Cyrano Devanthey
A watch should not be seen as an object, but as the end of, or perhaps just a stage in, a journey. And the path taken by the Time Aeon Foundation and Urwerk’s Buser and Devanthey has had more than its share of twists and turns – and that’s just on the way to the starting line!
The Time Aeon Foundation started discussing working on a project with Buser and Devanthey in 2016, soon after learning about the Oscillon’s l’Instant de Vérité handmade watch that the Urwerk skunkworks watchmakers were working on (see Oscillon’s l’Instant de Vérité: The Most − If Not The Only − Fully Handmade Watch Available Today (Felix Baumgartner And Time Aeon Foundation Are Involved).
At the 2017 SIHH, the Time Aeon Foundation announced a project to develop a tourbillon version of the Oscillon l’Instant de Vérité; however, on further reflection the team went back to basics and decided to start all over again from a blank sheet of paper, with a focus on the people involved in the project.
The movement, which looks very Greubel Forsey with a good dollop of DNA from the Le Garde Temps project, features Buser and Devanthey’s unusual Tensator-type constant force mainspring. I’m guessing the case may look more Urwerk.
Buser and Devanthey will build the watch in its entirety using traditional hand tools and techniques with the support of Greubel, Forsey, Baumgartner, and Urwerk designer Martin Frei.
All journeys begin with a first step, but they really take off when those steps start heading in a clear direction. I’m looking forward to learning where this trail goes.
For more information, please visit www.timeaeon.org/projects.
A Hero’s Journey Begins And Ends: Naissance d’Une Montre, Le Garde Temps
Time Aeon Foundation And Oscillon Exhibiting Traditional Hand Craft At The 2017 SIHH
Philippe Dufour Explains The Goals Of Time Aeon And Oscillon (Video)