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20th Anniversary
Chronode - Jean-François Mojon

Chronode Jean-François Mojon

Chairman of the board of directors*

He may be discreet and a man of few words – but he never stays idle. Between 2005 and 2020, Jean-François Mojon designed and delivered over one hundred watchmaking developments for tens of brands – brands that have scooped no fewer than ten Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) awards as a result. Not forgetting his very own distinction, a ‘Best Watch Designer’ prize in 2010.

It could be said that Jean-François Mojon has become his clients’ brain extension – although watchmaking was not his original vocation. He did join SMH (later to become the Swatch Group) in 1989, but back then it was to take charge of the technical and commercial development of a cutting-edge technology: LCD screens. It was not until 1995 that he acquired his first watchmaking experience, with IWC. Was this because he’d decided to become a watchmaker? “Not really! Basically, my wife and I wanted to improve our German,” he admits, with a wry grin. But as things turned out, at IWC he had “an extraordinary experience at an extraordinary time, just as they were beginning to develop their first in-house movements.”

Jean-François Mojon

Jean-François Mojon © Chronode

This adventure gave Jean-François Mojon a taste for pure development – and he had no shortage of ideas. One of the first brands to entrust him with a development was de Grisogono, for its Meccanico DG. Next came MCT, with its Sequential One. 2010 saw a move to the next level with the unveiling of the Opus X for Harry Winston. From that point on, things started to pick up speed. “Looking back, it was an incredible period. We had no references, but people from all over were approaching us for our concepts, enabling me to hire two watchmaker-constructors in the second year. After that, events moved very fast. I didn’t have to do any canvassing at all for the best part of ten years. At one point, Chronode had over 40 employees.”

Today, Chronode has found its cruising speed, with a workforce of 25. Jean-François Mojon is still fully independent. However, on 1 January 2020, he left his position as CEO to become Chairman of the Board, stepping back a little so he could devote even more energy to his quest for the concepts of the future. He’s still really excited about developments – but for now, the balance-wheel bridge on MB&F’s Legacy Machine, the fluid calibre in HYT’s H1, the vertical tourbillon in the Cyrus Klepcys, and the moon phase in Hermès’ L’heure de la lune are there to speak for him – and for posterity.

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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