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Dear fellow fans of watchmaking....
I have been on this forum for a while now, maybe even 3 years, without ever participating in discussions... I felt that I had something to say now, I hope that it won't offend anyone.
Being a watchmaker myself, I highly admire the world of haute horlogerie. Actually I have lived for 4 years in the famous VALLEE DE JOUX, where I attended the Watchmaking School in Le Sentier. The region is the home of JLC, AP, DANIEL ROTH, GERALD GENTA, BLANCPAIN, BREGUET, FREDERIC PIGUET, ETA... Today, I must admit that I am extremely passionate about watches, sometimes I wonder how far will my watch illness go...
During my apprenticeship I have had the opportunity to work part-time for Frederic Piguet. It was an amazing experience for a watchmaking student, because many movements were assembled for different brands... It became very ususal to see the same caliber over and over again with different inscriptions: Blancpain, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet.... I was however very disappointed to see that mouvements made for some of the finest "manufacturers" had a simple flat balance spring (not a BREGUET coil one), and that sometimes the tolerances for regulating would go up to a difference of 25 seconds in different positions.
At the same time, it was very interesting that company would more be concerned by the finish on the screws than by the precision and reliability of the mouvement?
Last year, I finished my watchmaking school, after a very hard final exam, on which 30% of students fail almost every year. The time for me was to move on, leave the peaceful Vallee de Joux, and go to Geneva, to attend the COMPLETE ROLEX TRAINING with 11 other watchmakers from all around the world.
All my ideas, and definitions of the word MANUFACTURE has changed ever since. I have been impressed in various ways by JLC, and AP, but for the first time I have seen a company that englobes it all, because Rolex:
-MELTS ITS OWN GOLD!
-MAKES ITS OWN HAIRSPRINGS
-HAS THE MOST RELIABLE IN HOUSE CHRONOGRAPH MOUVEMENT IN THE WORLD (Revolutionary 4130)
-USED THE REGULATING BALANCE SCREWS ON MVTS FOR MORE THAN 40 years now... (everybody switches now to this system without the "raquette")
-USED THE BALANCE BRIDGE that everyone copies now, just look on the AP 2005 catalogue front cover)
-PRODUCES THE Cal 3135 for almost two decades now, and the competition is still behind.
-DOES NOT make limited series, or craziest complications to increase respect and popularity.
-250 Engineers and Doctors of Science work only in the RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT division!
-In 2005 only 248 watches (or something like that) came back with quality issues out of 800,000.
-And the most important fact is the humanitarian profile of the company itself, that through its non-profit structure truly shows an example of social responsibility on a world wide level.
I am a big fan of various brands myself... JLC, AP, Patek, Breguet.... Each one of them is different, and has its own appeal.... Watchmakers such as Mr Philippe Dufour make us all believe in a renaissance of the whole industry.
Hovewer, at the same time I do not understand why such a famous brand that has given so much to the modern watch, is not recognized on this exceptional forum. And we see several names on the actual purists list which are not as near manufacturers as those mentioned above....
Maybe it is because Rolex is often compared to Mercedes, you love it, or you hate it...Or is it because they do not change the designs every year, so apparently there is nothing to talk about?
Let's face it, most of the companies absolutely HATE ROLEX, and try to diminush its qualities... But, does it mean that true watchmaking fans should be blind folded too?