He came to Switzerland in 1988 to attend the International Watchmaking School WOSTEP, 1990 he started to work in Switzerland in Parmigiani until 1999 fabricating complicated unique pieces and making restorations.
He taught for the next three years at the WOSTEP, heading the department of complicated watchmaking.
Alongside his professional work, Kari Voutilainen completed his first pocket tourbillon in 1994. After this unique piece he has made several unique bespoke pieces to customers during his free time 1994 and 2002.
He started his independent workshop at 2002; ten years later he made his in-house movement Vingt-8 with direct impulse Voutilainen escapement.
As with all entirely handmade watches, their number will remain limited; each one is crafted according to specific requirements and has its own individual and personal qualities.
Today the workshop has 21 people working; movements are fabricated entirely in house.
2014 Kari bought a dial factory, in which his dials are finished and he is also fabricating dials to other watch makers.
Read our exclusive interview with Kari here
Robert grew up immersed in the family business and, almost inevitably, ended up working in the business. His Father, Brian, a hugely well respected clock dealer and author based in the Yorkshire Dales, allowed Robert to spend his days off in the workshops of some of the best, and kindest, restorers in the north of England. At the age of twenty four Robert started his own restoration business in the Lincolnshire market town of Stamford.
Robert finally qualified as a Member of the British Horological Institute (BHI) in 2000 and spent six years as a volunteer director there, ending up as director for Education. He is currently the vice-chairman of the BHI.
Meanwhile, having made a couple of wristwatches out of imported Swiss bits for fun, Loomes decided to make a batch of cheap automatic watches. The first hundred sold in a matter of weeks and it was clear the business was changing direction. It was then that Robert decided to develop an all-British-made watch.
This was quickly developed around a stock of old Smiths movements. The staff set to on dialmaking, hand production, case finishing, and later interesting skills like enameling. We are the only English firm who can hand fire glass enamel dials in our workshops – made in exactly the same way as dials were made 250 years ago. This work went on to produce the Robin range of watches, still selling well today.
Meanwhile, Robert hired in special expertise to build the Loomes milling machine. It took two years to build but, when completed in August 2013, it is able to machine almost all the components needed for movement manufacture. The mainplate, cocks and bridges are all machined on it.
All the components are slotting into place and Loomes are about to unveil their own movement, producing a watch where every single component, even jewels, screws and springs, is made in England. It is, they believe, the only entirely English-manufactured watch.
When not playing with watches, Robert and Robina enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors. Robina rides horses and Robert is well known for using his Thames river skiff – a larger rowing boat designed to carry passengers. Moored outside the shop and called “the escapement”, it is used to escape the office and gently drift down the river and out into open countryside.
Read our exclusive interview with Robert here
Peter Speake-Marin was born Peter Neville Speake in 1968 in Essex, England, to an English mother and Welsh father. When Peter reached the end of his secondary school education, he originally had the intention of entering the world of jewellery. However, after a visit to a kindly careers teacher, Peter entered the world of watchmaking. He began his horological education at Hackney Technical College in London in 1985 and then continued his studies at WOSTEP, the prestigious Swiss watchmaking school in Neuchâtel.
Having completed the WOSTEP high-end complications course, Peter returned to England. He was eventually employed by Somlo Antiques then based in the Piccadilly arcade, London where he was tasked with establishing the watch restoration department of this prestigious antiques house.
During seven years at Somlo, Peter had the privilege of restoring antique watches made by many of the great historical masters and brands, such as pieces by Arnold, Frodsham and Nielson, original Breguets and Patek Philippes – from the dawn of watchmaking through to the 1950s.
Through this experience, Peter learnt how past masters had found their watchmaking solutions and their diverse ways of making watches, and he fell in love with this intoxicating combination of history, art and mechanics.
In 1996, he married, changing his name from Speake to Speake-Marin, before he and his wife moved to Le Locle, Switzerland where he worked for Renaud & Papi to help develop and build high-end complications as well as train young watchmakers.
In his spare time, Peter began acquiring his own machinery and constructed by hand a tourbillon pocket watch with twin power trains, which later became known as the “Foundation Watch”– the foundation stone for his future work – and helped him earn coveted membership of the prestigious Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI).
In the “Foundation Watch”, Peter laid down his style and philosophy while establishing his first independent workshop at the beginning of the millennium on the picturesque Lake Geneva between Geneva and Lausanne.
The first wristwatch to leave his workshop at the end of 2003 took its cues from the Foundation Watch. Peter named its distinctive case “The Piccadilly” after the time he spent at Somlo in Piccadilly and the major influence that this period of his career had on his watchmaking outlook.
As an independent, he has collaborated as a watchmaker designer and consultant with many different companies including Harry Winston, MB&F and Maîtres du Temps. Since the beginning of 2008 he has channelled his efforts exclusively into Speake-Marin.
With all Speake-Marin watches there is a tangible link to classical watchmaking but with contemporary unique style and design. Peter Speake-Marin’s timepieces are very much a representation of himself as a watchmaker, reinventing horology in his own way.
There are very few modern watchmakers and brands that have created such an original style, adhered to such an underlying philosophy of constant excellence, beauty and longevity of design and aesthetics, to create timepieces that will endure.
Read our exclusive interview with Peter here
Dr John C Taylor OBE
Dr John C Taylor OBE is a world-renowned inventor and entrepreneur perhaps best known for designing thermostat systems. After 20 years working for the family business Otter Controls, Dr Taylor left to build his own company Strix Ltd which received four Queen’s Awards. He is an eminent horologist, with a renowned collection of early English clocks and Watches.
Dr Taylor designed the Chronophage clocks, which have been exhibited in a number of museums. The one on the outer wall of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge has become a major tourist attraction.
In 2011, Dr Taylor was made an OBE for services to business and horology.
Read our exclusive Collector’s World series featuring Dr John Taylor here
David Brailsford is an accomplished entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in creating companies that thrive. He is also a renowned luxury timepiece consultant with expertise in locating and sourcing vintage pieces and selling them to select clients worldwide.
For the last few years, he has been providing a successful watch finder service, seeking out rare vintage watches and advising on their investment potential. His watch industry expertise is unparalleled, and he has developed a network of global contacts, including leading journalists, watchmakers and collectors.
His passion for watchmaking has led to founding the British luxury watch brand Garrick.
Garrick builds handcrafted timepieces in their own workshops in Norwich. David says that building an exclusive international watch brand over a period of 18 months is probably his greatest achievement. He’s learnt everything there is to know about engineering, design, PR and watchmaking.
Read our exclusive Collector’s World series featuring David Brailsford here
Paul Maudsley is the International Specialist, Director, Watches Department at Phillips. He has over 17 years of experience of watch auctions having transformed the UK watches auction market and handled over 30,000 watches in his career so far.
A collector of watches from an early age, Paul has developed a love and broad knowledge of horology across all areas of watches and wristwatches. Organising watch auctions in three continents, Paul has been responsible for sourcing some of the finest quality timepieces in the world.
With a well known passion for Rolex Sports watches, he has gained a great knowledge of the many different models and variations produced and has achieved numerous record prices for these at auction.
Read our exclusive Collector’s World series featuring Paul Maudsley here
Dr James Nye
Dr Nye has been involved in clocks since the age of fourteen, when he was put in charge of a Gents master-clock system at his school in Sussex. This sparked an abiding interest in electric timekeeping.
Following graduation from Balliol College, Oxford, James entered a career in finance and the energy sector. Retiring from commerce, he completed a PhD in financial history at King’s College, London, where he holds a visiting fellowship. His thesis included case studies of Victorian and Edwardian electric clock companies.
Throughout his career, James has assembled a wide-ranging collection of electric time artefacts enjoyed by many visiting specialists and enthusiasts over the last twenty-five years. These are now housed at The Clockworks in London, a unique combination of museum, library, workshops and meeting space.
His continuing research tends to focus on nineteenth and twentieth century horology, and his most recent major publication was A Long Time in Making (OUP, 2014), the history of the Smiths Group.
James is chairman of the council of the AHS. He is a long-standing member of the BHI, a Life Member of the NAWCC, belongs to the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Chronometrie as well as Chronometrophilia, and is also a liveryman and member of the court of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
Read our exclusive feature on Transparency in the Watch Market written by James here.
Master watchmaker, François-Paul Journe has been ‘inventing’ and ‘making’ watches for over 33 years. The full revelation of his vocation came in Paris where he completed his studies when training with his uncle, eminent antique watch and clock restorer located at the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and a first-rate clientele entrusted him with the finest collections.
It was there François-Paul Journe thrilled to the discovery of the most striking achievements in the history of watchmaking. He experienced the privilege of entering the mechanical heart of some exceptional creations that were to set his own heart beating for years to come!
He designed and crafted ‘Mysterious’ or ‘Sympathique’ clocks, and subtle mechanisms for unique creations, in pursuing the research from which authenticity and technical innovations are respecting the ethics of these great masters. In 1985, François-Paul becomes the official restorer to the maintenance and renovation of the ancient clocks of the Arts et Métiers Museum in Paris.
Increasing demand emanating from Switzerland led him to develop a Manufacture dedicated to building complicated movements and innovative calibres for various prestigious Swiss watch brands. He thereby placed his historical and technical knowledge as a watchmaking design-engineer in the service of industry. François-Paul draws on his historical knowledge and expertise to face the most daring horological challenges with passion, conceiving entirely new and innovative calibres with a timeless consistency.
At the crossroad between Arts and Haute Horology, benchmark among the most prestigious watch companies, the independent F.P.Journe Manufacture is a world in itself, embodying excellence, know-how and innovation, in the respect of the haute horology tradition from which François-Paul Journe is the guardian. F.P.Journe produces its movements in 18K rose Gold, a first in the watch world and unique signature of the brand. Signed with the label Invenit et Fecit- (invented and made), they guarantee an exclusive in-house calibre, entirely invented, constructed, and assembled in the Geneva workshops.
Read our exclusive interview with François-Paul here.
Christine Hutter completed her apprenticeship as a watchmaker in 1989, finishing ‘top of the class’ amongst her peers in Bavaria. She was then recruited by Wempe, Germany’s largest luxury watch retailer. Following this she moved to Maurice Lacroix and then to Glashütte – initially to Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb and finally to power brand A. Lange & Söhne. It was there that she acquired in-depth experience in marketing and communications, and created new distribution channels.
Over time, she had a growing desire to establish her own watch manufacture. Christine discovered the rich heritage of ‘Moritz Grossmann’, a brand that had lain dormant for 120-years and with the help of her family, she acquired the rights to the highly respected Glashütte marque. The brand was named after Karl Moritz Grossmann, the 19th-century watchmaker who founded the German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte.
After a few months, she rented an old shop premises in Glashütte, that is the centre of German watchmaking and set about crafting their own superb timepieces. The inspiration for their watches comes from the rich history of 19th century watchmaking and is summed up well by the Latin term ‘manu factum’ meaning ‘made by hand’ which remains at the heart of the Moritz Grossmann ateliers.
The new Manufacture based in Glashütte, opened in June 2013. All employees are encouraged to apply their personal talents to the horological masterpiece that bears the prestigious Moritz Grossmann Glashütte brand name.
Read our exclusive interview with Christine here.
Looking at Maximilian Büsser’s life and career to date, it becomes evident that MB&F is a natural progression for his innate entrepreneurial spirit.
Graduating in Lausanne with a Master’s degree in Micro-Technology Engineering, Max’s love for high-end horology was strongly imprinted by his first employer, Jaeger-LeCoultre. He spent seven years in their senior management team during an exciting period of change and growth.
Max was appointed managing director of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces in 1998 – he was just 31. During his seven years there he transformed the company into a well-respected haute horlogerie brand. Working with talented independent watchmakers on the innovative and revolutionary Opus series of timepieces gave him greatest satisfaction and planted the seed for developing that concept further still.
In 2005 the desire to allow his creativity and energy full reign saw Max resign from Harry Winston to form his creative ideal: MB&F. With his new company, Maximilian Büsser has full creative liberty to indulge in his passion for working with the most talented independent horological professionals – pushing the limits of horology into a new dimension.
Read our exclusive interview with Max here.
It is not just people who we consider as ‘Friends’, but organisations too! So we are delighted to announce that the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) head-quartered in Columbia, Pennsylvania, United States of America are now officially our ‘Friends’.
Founded in 1943, the NAWCC has since grown into a wide-ranging collectors organisation with members in the USA and 50 other countries. Members participate in over 150 local and special interest chapters in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The NAWCC operates the National Watch and Clock Museum, our world-reknowned Library and Research Center, and an extensive publishing program. The NAWCC also hosts an annual convention, sponsors an annual symposium, and numerous regional meetings throughout the year.
Stephen Forsey grew up in St Albans, England, where he was inspired by his father’s passion for mechanics and engineering. From 1987 to 1992 he specialised in antique clock restoration and became head of Watch Restoration at Asprey’s in London. Between 1988 to 1990 Forsey attended two five-month courses at the WOSTEP watchmaking school in Neuchâtel and in 1992 joined Robert Greubel’s team at Renaud & Papi SA (now Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi SA), developing complicated watch movements.
In 1999, he left to work independently and in 2001 he co-founded CompliTime with Robert Greubel. They began working on a new generation of tourbillon specifically designed to improve the timekeeping of the mechanical watch. Four years later they unveiled “Greubel Forsey” and stunned horological aficionados with their innovative Double Tourbillon 30°, a timepiece clearly demonstrating their twin goals of innovation and excellence.
Robert and Stephen continue to build on their deep traditional knowledge gained with four decades of combined experience in high-end complicated timepieces, by inventing and developing technically valid horological complications to rigorous aesthetic principles.
Read our exclusive interview with Stephen here.