Emile Eveno Unveiled

I will never forget when I was in the room of the Ulysse Nardin factory in Le Locle, Switzerland where the highly complicated watches are made.  Hard at work were two older men with gray hair wearing lab coats.  They held miniscule tools in their hands and had loupes attached to their eyes.  Next to them was a girl who looked to be no older than 25 years old.

As we walked away from watching them work, a guy in the group I was with asked how the younger girl was qualified to work on such highly complicated pieces; it was fairly evident that she did not have as many years of watchmaking experience as the two other people in the room.  The response we got was, “That girl just has it.”

Apparently the girl was so talented and well known throughout the industry that other brands had approached her and tried to get her to come work for them.  Just like with anything else, practice helps and is needed when it comes to watchmaking, however, some people are simply blessed with a greater skill set than others.  That was the case with this girl from Ulysse Nardin.  It was just natural for her to manufacture highly complicated minute repeaters.

I was reminded of this girl from Ulysse Nardin when I came across an interview of a young female watchmaker, named Emilie Eveno, who works for Agenhor.  The art of watchmaking is truly amazing and sometimes underappreciated.  I always find it interesting to hear about how watchmakers get into their work and what they think of it.

Emile compares a movement mechanism to a lung, as it can function by itself for a long, extended period of time.  Like the girl from Ulysse Nardin, Emile is most fascinated by minute repeaters, as the complication requires an inordinate amount of skill.  I found the interview quite interesting and recommend you give it a read here.

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Watchmaker at Work

Yesterday morning, I was fortunate enough to visit the workshop of Matthew Carbaugh, an authorized watchmaker for many of the world’s finest watch brands. I had always heard amazing things about Matt, but seeing him in action confirmed his reputation and then some. Watching him work on a Breitling was like witnessing an orthopedic surgeon performing an operation. It was incredible!

Matt got into watchmaking because of his uncle, who is also a watchmaker. His original plan was to go to Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and study ceramics. As a detail-oriented guy, Matt had always been fascinated by the way things were constructed.  His uncle, who is authorized to work on all sorts of watches, including complicated Patek Philippe models, convinced him to give watches a try. The rest is history!

When I met with Matt yesterday, he showed me a blue dial stainless steel Colt Automatic that needed an overhaul.  He proceeded to flip the watch over and get right after it!  Matt literally dissected the timepiece until it was each individual part remaining.  As you can see from the pictures, there are over fifty parts that help make the Colt Auto run properly within COSC (Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) specs of -4/+6 seconds a day.

While he was taking the Breitling movement apart, Matt was telling me about how he was going to make the completely scratched bracelet look brand new again.  The process includes taking apart the entire bracelet and polishing each link individually.  After seeing Matt do his thing, I have an even greater appreciation for the art that is watchmaking.  Not too shabby, huh?