Watchmaker Dominique Loiseau Joins Girard-Perregaux: Why This is Important

by Meehna Goldsmith on March 17, 2012

in Exclusive Watch Reviews, Girard-Perregaux, Meehna Goldsmith - Bio, Watch News

Loiseau Joins Girard-Perregaux

13th January 2012

Written by Meehna Goldsmith

Girard-Perregaux ups its game by bringing Dominique Loiseau into the fold. Sure, GP has produced some classics, most notably the Tourbillon with 3 gold bridges, based on the original pocket watch called Esmerelda, and while the company has put out some cool complications like the Opera Three, which sounds passing hours with tunes that can be personally determined, they could certainly benefit from the Loieau’s talent. They have a full manufacture under their belt and solid movements but could definitely use a little shake-up and reinvigoration on the creative and design side. GP explains that they brought Loiseau on board to “strengthen the brand’s “think tank”’ and provide a fresh perspective as well as develop new complications and movements.

It seems to be a trend of brands seeking out talented independents to join their companies. Other recent examples include Matthias Buttet at Hublot and Laurent Besse at Corum. Brands usually hide their talented watchmakers behind the scenes, taking all the credit for those fancy technical achievements that bring the headlines. Now some of the unsung heroes get their chance to shine and are also considered a selling point. Brands now say, “Look who we’ve got working for us!”

Loiseau’s got major street cred in the Swiss watch world. He created the Montrers de Sables, six complicated pocket watches with a floating, mobile tourbillon cage in the center and decorated with a sand dune theme; the Rose des Temps clock, a table clock built for Omega in 1984 that was the most complicated of its time (don’t know if it still is); and, Renaissance and Capriccio pocket watches, which I couldn’t get much info on. Suffice it to say, you can bet they were uber complex too.

Loiseau also masterminded the Blancpain 1735, a timepiece composed of 740 parts that includes a minute repeater, quarter repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar and split-seconds chronograph. If that’s not enough, Loiseau restores collectors’ timepieces and teaches at the International Museum of Watchmaking. As you can see, he’s an all-around talent.

Most recently Loiseau built the 1f4, purported by him to be the most complicated automatic watch in the industry and holder of 8 patents for the movement. At first glance, 1f4 might look like a coded numbering system that has meaning only to Loiseau’s atelier. It’s actually named after the famed Henry Edward Bird chess opening, a standard flank first move.

Loiseau makes the connection between chess and watchmaking by saying that both rely upon sound strategies determined by the first move. During a game one inevitably encounters difficulties that necessitate creative, flexibility and the use of orchestrated tactics. As Loiseau elaborates, “In other words, creating and developing the complex movements of a Grande Sonnerie Complication can be paralleled to chess: a mastermind’s game!

Certainly Girard-Perregaux orchestrate a winning move by persuading Loiseau to collaborate with them.

Article content provided by Meehna Goldsmith you can also follow Meehna on Twitter @thewatchlady

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