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GPHG - Grand prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
Interview with Romain Gauthier - The discreet prodigy

Interview with Romain Gauthier The discreet prodigy

Romain Gauthier is celebrating the tenth anniversary of his brand by the same name with a great gift: his Logical One Secret was chosen to be part of the pre-selected models for the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève, in the Artistic Crafts category. His applied creativity – which already won a prize in 2013 – draws on production expertise that he also makes available to others.

How did your brand project come to life ten years ago?
As a mechanical engineer working for a watch component producer, I already had a desire to build something. While doing my military service in 2000, I was immersed in my books for my MBA in corporate management. One day, my boss suggested that I become his right hand man and I refused, showing him the plans for my future movement. He was very fair-minded and made his production facility available to me when things were quiet. I learned to manufacture components before developing a movement and was very clear on the feasibility and cost issues in this industry, a fact that enabled me to present a comprehensive business plan to the Banque Cantonale Vaudoise. I received support at a time many watchmaking projects were struggling to convince potential partners.

What role did Philippe Dufour play in this adventure?
When I started the calculations for my movement, I had a lot of questions. For me, Philippe is an absolute reference figure in the industry. He is also one of the few watchmakers to manufacture his components. Our exchanges helped me enormously and then we gradually grew apart quite naturally, despite our geographical proximity in the Vallée de Joux! I had to go it on my own. When the first piece worked, I presented it to him even before marketing it. He raised his hat to me. Later, he also put me in touch with The Hour Glass, a key retailer in Asia.

“It’s a luxury to make watches the way we do.”

Would you have any advice for the young entrepreneur that you once were?
Do something else, my boy! I’m joking, but this industry is Star Wars, and I am a little Jedi. We attempt to do “authentic things” without having the means to talk about them, especially when faced with the juggernaut groups. You cannot be fainthearted and you have to be incredibly motivated by the desire to create. I resent certain aberrations in the profession, such as the brands that boast about the large number of components in a model. It doesn’t mean anything and is merely a means of playing on people’s naivety: such large stats merely imply an increased risk of losing precision! It was the quest for constant force that gave rise to the chain and cam concept for the Logical One. I am aware that it is a luxury to make watches the way we do.

What benefits would you derive from winning a prize for the Logical One Secret in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève?
Winning a GPHG prize is a genuine opportunity to enhance a brand’s reputation but one needs to know how to take advantage of it. In 2013, we didn’t ride the wave. A prize for the Logical One Secret would spell recognition of incredible work on the decor and at the mechanical level, whereas the first versions were regarded as straightforward “jewellery” models. Olivier Vaucher’s dial-making workshop has accomplished a highly perilous task. There were as many broken stones as those that were inlaid on the cover! Not to mention the cost… The recognition that such an award would highlight my brand’s creativity over and above pure mechanics

The discreet prodigy

 

The brand

Romain Gauthier is a firm that has been built with care and patience. Using his knowhow learned over some 20 years in his native Joux Valley, and with his manufacture named after him, Romain Gauthier embodies an innovative vision of watchmaking aesthetics based on movements that are as cutting-edge as they are meticulous.

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