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It’s hard not to use the word ‘legend’ when talking about Laurent Ferrier. The man behind the eponymous brand and the former technical director at Patek Philippe certainly knows a thing or two about watches. His racing career also looks quite astonishing and includes the 3-rd place at 24 Hours of Le Mans. You know, that very year when Paul Newman has finished the second. So when we’ve finally got the chance to ask Mr. Ferrier about his love of classical designs, the decades in watchmaking and the impact of the latest technical revolution, we didn’t hesitate moment. 

– Laurent Ferrier is a full-blown brand rather than a master-watchmaker and some apprentices, right?

– That’s correct. Our team consists of 10 people. At the workshop we design movements and external parts, we finish parts, we assemble, regulate, test and control according ISO standards before we ship the pieces everywhere in the world.

– The majority of independents tend to gain collector’s attention by making something aggressively unusual. Yet, you’ve managed to make it with very classical and dressy pieces. How did you know, it was the right bet when starting the brand? 

– Since I have an extensive experience in the field of fine watchmaking, I could imagine that there was a customer base for the kind of pieces I created. So it was not really a bet, more an assumption that some customer would like to wear such a time piece. 

– Is it true that your friend and investor Mr. Francois Servanin has encouraged you to start your own brand long ago? If yes, what took you so long? 

– Mr. Servanin told me a long time ago that we will eventually make a watch brand together. At that time, it was a more a joke than a real project. It became reality when he had money to fund a new venture. 

– What three timepieces do you consider the milestones of your career so far? 

– The Galet Classic with a tourbillon and double hair spring is certainly the key milestone in my career. The Galet Square because this cushion shape is very special. The school piece that every single watchmaker has to make while at school inspired the School Piece line that particularly fits our latest movement: the Annual calendar. 

– What’s your current favorite complication? 

– The annual calendar is my favorite complication not only for the function but also for the aesthetics that allows to design a very interesting dial not too busy and very pure. The dual time is also something I like when I travel. 

– What’s the most useless one? 

– The most useless for me is the one that gives me the exact date of Easter in 2059. But I am not sure it actually exists. 

– What’s the secret of Patek Philippe’s staying pretty much the most respected and successful top-tier watch brand? 

– The secret is 180 years of exceptional work. 

– Racing-themed watches are quite big right now, have you ever needed to use a watch on a track in your days of professional racing? 

– When I was a race driver, I had a Heuer Autavia but while driving, I didn’t use it. 

– It seems like every journalist is shocked to know that a watchmaker can be a prominent racing pilot. Why do you think that image of a typical Swiss watchmaker was formed the way it was? 

– The mythical image of the Swiss watchmaker is the image of someone very ingenious and pragmatic. Especially when they became more industry oriented. But all the watchmakers are passion driven so I don’t see why a watchmaker wouldn’t be a race driver. When driving, we have to be calm and accurate which are two values that watchmakers share. I surely communicated my passion and legacy. 

– Can you give any advise for starting-up watchmakers? 

– When I was studying at the Geneva watchmaking school, we were not involved in complications. When I started my career in a prototyping department, I experience all the challenges of a new project starting from scratch. The most difficult was to ensure reliability and performance when this is brand new project. So my advice to starting-up watchmakers: be passionate enough to overcome all the challenges. 

– What was the most exciting period during your career in terms of evolving technology and new materials? 

– To go from 2D on the drawing table to a computer, not to mention the 3D software. That was fantastic! As for new materials, I think we have to live in our time and accept what technologies and new materials can bring. The silicon, for instance, allows us to make pieces that we could have produced otherwise. 

– What are the three most outlooked, yet very important conditions of making a good watch? 

– The general balance, the comfort and the quality of execution. From what I see in the industry, there are some pieces, I am not sure are comfortable to wear. 

– Your last-year’s collaboration with Urwerk can easily be called among the biggest surprises in haute horlogerie world. How was it developed, are you satisfied with it and can we dream about something similar in the future? 

– I had a lot of pleasure developing a timepiece with Felix and Martin. The mechanical aspect of the piece allowed me to work on a sort of automobile shape. I don’t have any similar plans for the future but all doors are open. 

– Why people are still obsessed with mechanical watches?

– There is a kind of magic with mechanical watches. If you take a mechanical watch out of a drawer in 20 years it still works. Which is not the case with a quartz watch or a phone by the way. There is something about eternity and sustainability that still fascinate people.