Afternoon with Philippe Dufour and Olivier Muller
Please read the article here=> ahci.watchprosite.com
I had the pleasure to meet my old friend, Mr.
Muller, the ex-CEO of Laurent Ferrier, who took me to his good friend
and the one everyone knows here, Mr. Philippe Dufour. By the
Muller is to be come the Managing Director of L. Leroy (Montres Leroy)
from January - huge congrats!
Since it was
not meant to be an
interview, I will just write down some of our conversation with photos
from my memory (I have pretty good memory, so don't worry ) - as far
as I am permitted to write here .
0. The road to
Valle de Joux from Geneva
Mr. Muller kindly drove me
to the Vallee de Joux, for an hour and a half.
This is where Olivier will start
working from January. Movement company of the
Here we are!!
1. What Mr. Dufour is going
He was servicing one Simplicity, and assembling the Grande
Sonnerie. Duality waiting list is soooo long, that he did not
that they would be all delivered. And the Grande Sonnerie -
this is the
seventh one. Took order long time ago. Have been
working on it after
he finished Simplicity for 9 months, but still need a few more
he was wearing his No. 000 (prototype) 34mm Simplicity, saying "this is
the only watch I can afford among what I make",
He said that it was just
prototype (No. 000) and is not the best finished - but I could be happy
I DID ask him whether he would make more Simplicity or Duality on
special order basis. The answer was, "NO" for Simplicity and
XX people are waiting before you for Duality which I still don't have
time to execute...". So, don't bother to ask him
- Story about
Duality. He made nine of them. Then someone put it
up for auction so
soon. And it fetched more than twice the price he was
paid. So, he
stopped making Duality. He hated it so much. So,
those who think you
are on the list, you may not get Duality before this Christmas
But he also said that if he had two watchmakers working with him, he
may be able to fulfill the order. There have been several and
them were Japanese. One, now working in Tokyo as an official
of Simplicity. Another, having worked with him for two years,
year saying, "Thank you for giving me a chance. But after
I still didn't catch it.....". He was expecting so much from
(trained for two years is substantial investment) and of course he was
disappointed...... He is always looking for good watchmakers
him - anyone? Must be very tough, I can only imagine,
His favorite (other than his own),
from his vault.
2. What will be the
"It will be between Grand Sonnerie and
Simpicity" - well, too huge difference, but you got the answer,
"I will tell you later"
it's ready" - hahaha, now you got that answer, too
, he added "probably in a few years....". Let's
wait and see!
On the wall.....
Co-operation with Greubel Forsey
I saw a poster on
the wall and asked what exactly his relationship with GF is.
said that they cooperate in educating the young watchmakers about the
traditional way of making watches, which is in fact the disappearing
art.... He is not making watches with
Dufour was one of the two AHCI members who recommended Kikuno to become
the member. I brought his new creation (reported here
show him. His first words were "he is improving, looks
good.". He then
went on to say, "he has a very unique but traditional watchmaking
style, with the flavor of Japanese tradition and history, then he does
all this with his own hands, just like me". He wants to see
Basel every year.
5. Memory of
about Kikuno, he started talking about his memory of visiting Japan in
early 2000s. He visited the watchmaking school - Hiko Mizno
here a few times before), and he gave lecture there as well as heard
some other guest speakers, like Mr. Komaki (80 years old back then
already) who was the master adjuster at Seiko when it was participating
the Neuchatel Observatory Chronometer Competition. Mr. Komaki
talking about how Seiko went up the ladder quickly and Neuchatel stopped
the competition, with a bit of smile on his face.
By the way,
they re-started three years ago the observatory chronometer competition
recently, and it is open to everybody EXCEPT for Japan and China,
according to Mr. Dufour. He was critical about that attitude
that the competition without all over the world wouldn't mean
(so, as a result, there are so few participants including major brands
now). Mr. Muller added that Japan is not good at
brands are good at it, good at story telling and
Dufour continued that it was the shame that Credor is not available
outside Japan. Some of the Credor are better finished than
Seiko...... and beautifully designed and executed watches. Are
reading this, Seiko people?
All early to mid 20th century
machines. No CNC and such.
showed how he put "cotes de Geneve". And let me touch it
my finger didn't feel a thing, meaning the pattern is so shallow and
subtle that touching the surface won't let you realize they are
And now, press kit photos of brand XXX (a big
a big luxury group) - he hates the products like these are actually
sold let alone being chosen as a press kit photo. His words
surface and you wouldn't feel a thing when you touch
Very, very bad example shown
by Mr. Dufour. Do you see the inconsistency (depth, width)
and even non-aligned cotes de Geneve on the separate bridges? I
have erased the brand name, but it is a big brand in the big luxury
Then he showed how he makes pattern on the
He then showed his own
macro shot, taken by Steve G - "now this has become our
have to do this all the time. And by that, I have become the
ship" for all those big boys because they just can't." Steve
Mr. Dufour also mentioned that he was actually
glad that he
became the "black ship" because consumers have been educated, thanks to
internet forum like PuristSPro, and their expectation has been elevated
and that PuristSPro discussion level is now so much higher than
before. It's all good for the watch
industry.7. His early
pocket watch he made in mid 60s - he is now 65 years old and have been
watchmaking for 50 years, so, this pocket watch was made when he was
around 20 years old or younger?
And his first Grande Sonnerie pocket watch
version (mid 80s).
Piguet ordered five (5) of them and sold as AP pocket
collectible, I am sure!
Shows the difference from 19
ligne pocket watch to 14 ligne wrist watch - was not an easy
8. Message to PuristSPro readers?
Dufour: "I like PuristSpro as it is the biggest supporter for the
independent watch brands like us. PuristSPro is the best
Ambassador for Independents. Thank you so much for
that!".Mr. Muller: "I
appreciate PuristSPro management and members as, without PuristSPro, Laurent Ferrier
could never fly. But you should be always aware that
there may be less known Independents which
are not getting enough attention they deserve. It should be
fun to dig out such Independent
watchmakers." 9. On the way back
trying to buy Cheese Fondue from the vending machine.....in
Could be the Holiday
After all, on our way to the Fondue
Thank you again,
Mr. Dufour, Mr. Muller for a very memorable afternoon. I
would love to visit again.
And, Olivier, thank you for driving
me to Mr. Dufour and good luck with you new
Thank you for
This message has been edited by KIH on