The watchmaking industry is mostly dominated by storied watch maisons whose expertise spans centuries. These are brands that have, literally, stood the test of time and wowed patrons over ages. However, a new wave of brands are breaking the glass ceiling when it comes to haute horology, and having fun while doing it.
Last week, the Delhi-based India Watch Club, a niche group of watch collectors helmed by founder Rahul Kapoor, brought in a selection of fine timepieces by four unique watchmakers to the country for the first time to test waters. Aptly titled the Independents of Time, the brands were all winners or nominees of the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horologerie de Geneve (GPHG), an independent organisation that rewards the finest creations and most important operators in the watchmaking sector. But more than that, the four watchmakers have excelled at creating timepieces that stand out in a crowd. This is what you need to know about them:
The micro-manufacturer strongly believes that the tourbillion is the highest hallmark of watchmaking and strives to make a finer version with every collection they present. Take their Lacroix for example – it houses the CP-V11 movement and is only crafted with fine metals (rose gold, platinum, white gold), and features a rubber strap. The aim here is to provide the precision of a tourbillion along with the playfulness of a sporty watch. With only four pieces in the whole collection, quality over quantity is the motto they don’t let go of.
Sweden’s most luxurious watch brand is the love child of master bladesmith Johan Gustafson and watchmaker Patrik Sjogren. They are known for the unconventional dials, which feature a marbled effect created with metals like steel and gold, inspired by the ancient Scandinavian art of melting them together. The dials feature countless shades which only reveal themselves when exposed to different lighting. What makes them interesting is each dial is almost unique and the art runs across the bezel.
Two time GPGH winner, Laurent Ferrier showcases fine craftsmanship concealed in a neo-classical look. Their key pieces are the Gallant series, which features two highlights—the annual calendar and the traveller. Both entirely developed in-house, the watches set themselves apart by ensuring excellent readability whilst packing in all the functions seamlessly.
Only 10 years old, the brand, named after its watchmaker, is all about ‘living in the moment’. To emphasise this concept in real-time, Ballouard created two watches that conveyed the message perfectly: The Upside Down Time and Half Time. In the former, Arabic numbers are inverted throughout the dial and only ‘flip’ when the hour begins, while the latter displays Roman numerals in a disjointed fashion across two tightly set discs on the dial. The time is only revealed at 12 o’clock (irrespective of the hour) when the two discs come together to form the number as a whole and the minutes are dictated in retrograde below.