The Music That Inspires the Watchmakers
Music and watchmaking have a deep bond. Consider the “ticking” of traditional timepieces, the minute repeater complication (a function in addition to the timekeeping) that strikes the time on demand, and the melodies played by many pocket watches.
Some watchmakers, however, claim that music plays an important role in their workshops as well – as inspiration, distraction, and sometimes just for fun.
Below, six industry professionals talk about what’s on their playlists.
Watchmaker in Urwerk, Geneva
The Rolling Stones have played an important role at Urwerk since its founding in 1997, bringing together Martin Frei, who designs the wildly futuristic watches, and Mr. Baumgartner, who makes them.
For example, Mr. Baumgartner wrote in an email in 2002, “We had finished designing our new watch, the UR-103, but barely had enough money to put it into production.
“We had to make a decision. Urwerk was clinically dead. It made no sense to continue, ”added the 46-year-old watchmaker. “We took a break, turned on the music, the famous ‘Time Is On My Side’, at maximum volume. We looked at each other and we knew. We have found faith. We had to go all the way.
Watchmaker at De Bethune, in L’Auberson, Switzerland
Mr. Flageollet’s exposure to music began long before 2002, when he co-founded De Bethune, a brand dedicated to the combination of watchmaking heritage and new technologies.
He was 7 years old in 1969 when Woodstock caught the world’s attention. “I didn’t understand what was going on but I heard so much about it that I knew it was something important,” Mr Flageollet, now 59, wrote in an email . “My elders introduced me to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who and their music has never left me.”
Later, he adds: “I discovered the Montreux Jazz Festival, which introduced me to many artists with very different styles such as Leonard Cohen, Miles Davis, Prince, David Bowie.
Watch designer at Kross Studio, in Gland, Switzerland
Not all creative types in the watch world, however, have a leaning towards rock. Recently, the founder and managing director of Kross Studio listened to the music for the 1996 movie “Space Jam”.
The reason: he creates a tourbillon watch housed in a sculptural wooden and aluminum basketball – a tribute to LeBron James, star of the new film “Space Jam: A New Legacy”.
This is just one of the projects Kross has undertaken since Mr. Tedeschi, formerly at Hublot, founded the company a year ago and signed partnerships with Warner Bros. (who produced and released both “Space Jam” films) and Lucasfilms (its visual effects division worked on “A New Legacy”) to create themed collectible sets that sell for between five and six action figures.
“I played the soundtrack over and over again,” he said, referring to the original film.
As for his own tastes, Mr. Tedeschi, 36, has an iTunes library of more than 30,000 lists: “I love French music from the 80s, George Clinton, the singers of Motown, this type of music is the basis of my musical culture. My dad played Otis Redding a lot while I was growing up.
Watch analyst at Zenith, in Le Locle, Switzerland
Ms. Mougin, 44, repairs some of Zenith’s most complicated watches.
“When I set the hammers on my minute repeater,” she wrote, referring to the horological complication that strikes the hours, quarters and minutes on demand, “I have to listen to the ‘music’ played by the gongs of this watch. My mind is silent and I am totally focused, only the music played by my watch pierces this silence.
And when she begins a restoration, she writes, “My mind should be clear, not cluttered with worries or questions. That’s when I mentally evoke ‘The Funeral’ by Ennio Morricone. Admittedly, it is quite sad, but so powerful. It helps me reconnect with the basics.
She will also imagine the New Orleans classic “Iko Iko”; “She is from elsewhere”, sung by Pierre Bachelet; and “Ca va ça va”, performed by Claudio Capéo.
Watchmaker in Voutilainen, in St.-Sulpice, Switzerland
A variety of music entertains Mr. Voutilainen, 59, and his 10-member workshop team. They tune into local radio stations in the Val de Travers in Switzerland that could broadcast “jazz, classical and popular music,” the independent watchmaker said. “It’s background music, creating a relaxing atmosphere.”
And when it’s not so relaxing? “It’s a common decision when it’s time to change stations,” said Voutilainen.
Personally, “I listen to everything, classical, jazz, Louis Armstrong. I’m not picky, ”he said, adding that he also likes“ Italian pop music, like Zucchero. I also like the Canadian singer Garou; you can hear the passion when he sings.
Watch designer at Through the Looking Glass, in Confignon, Switzerland
Different music corresponds to different projects, wrote Mr. Giroud, 59, in an email. “In the search for ideas or concept, I will listen to soft and introspective music”, like the piano concertos of Debussy or Nils Frahm, he writes. “When I draw, I listen to more rhythmic and almost disturbing music in order to get out of my comfort zone (Nick Drake, Isaac Hayes, etc.)”
And create drawings in 2D or 3D? “Tracks arranged by Claus Ogerman, for example, or Kruder & Dorfmeister,” he said, referring to the German arranger and composer and modern Austrian remix specialists.
Music is so important in his creations that “every year I make a compilation of the music that had accompanied me during the year in the form of a CD which serves as a greeting card,” he writes.
Just this creative watchmaker’s way of spreading music inspiration.
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