Spero Lucem is a Swiss luxury watch and accessory brand founded by Yvan Arpa, the watch making expert, visionary and entrepreneur who lead and propelled some well known Swiss watch brands such as Romain Jerome, Artya and Black Belt Watch. Inspiration of this new watch brand is the City of Geneva, the world capital of horology industry. The brand is already creating waves in the industry with some world firsts such as Tourbillon Minute Repeater with crazy hands, Functional watch gear trains at the heart of a writing instrument and the Functional watch gear trains embedded in a knife.
Inspiration: Geneva, the ultimate reference
The smallest of the world’s great capitals is renowned well beyond Swiss borders. As an historical crossroads and an ideal location for exhibitions, Geneva now shines more brightly than ever thanks to its role as the watch industry’s global epicenter. It has taken until 2013 for a brand, Spero Lucem, to decide to inscribe Geneva and its fundamentals within its genetic heritage. This Fine Watchmaking label is reaching well beyond merely placing a prestigious name on a dial. It is not merely laying claim to a geographically circumscribed form of excellence or to a favourable terminology.
For Spero Lucem, Geneva is its very reason for being, its point of reference and its home. Everything about it is inspired by the city, including its own name taken from Geneva’s famous motto “Post Tenebras Lux” which appears on its municipal coat-of-arms as well as on various public monuments. In actual fact, the motto in full should read “Post Tenebras Spero Lucem”. It is a Latin translation of a biblical phrase from the Old Testament Book of Job (Chapter XVII, verse 12). “Noctem verturunt in diem, et rursum POST TENEBRAS SPERO LUCEM”. It means “They have turned night into day, and I hope for the light after darkness”. According to the meaning of the full passage, it can also be translated “After calamity, I aspire to happiness”.
In Geneva, the age-old values of craftsmanship have been raised to the rank of an existential quest. The original values of artistic crafts and their precious traditional practices have been meticulously perpetuated while simultaneously cultivating legitimate curiosity for scientific and industrial innovation.
These values owe a great deal to the traditions of hospitality and tolerance that were reinvigorated almost 500 years ago by a major historical episode: the Reformation, which was officially adopted in Geneva in 1536. This spiritual movement, embodied by Jean Calvin (1509-1564) and imbued with a renewed sense of sacredness, represented a clean break with the politico-religious powers of the time. It overturned the structure of authority and instated a whole new order. Geneva thus welcomed those fleeing from persecution, including countless talents and artisans who brought their skills and expertise with them.
To this day, the City still owes its prosperity to this patchwork of cultures and to this spirit of openness towards the world; some refer to Geneva’s economic fabric as “an economy of assemblages”, a term especially well suited to watchmaking – and a philosophy forever ingrained in the signature values of the Spero Lucem watch brand.
By banishing luxury and ostentation, the Reformation fostered the development of watchmaking. Goldsmiths were obliged to find new avenues through which to express their skills and the asylum granted to a number of artisans and craftspeople persecuted in France for their religious beliefs contributed to the recognition of the various watchmaking trades. The first known exponent of this craft who appears in official records as of 1574 was a watchmaker from Burgundy named Charles Cusin.
Spero Lucem is a brand whose vocation is to pay tribute to Geneva and its fundamentals. More than just an anthem of praise to the Calvinist city, its enigmatic and historical name reflects a tradition and a history that remain an integral part of daily life. These are fundamentals to which Swiss watchmaking in its purest original sense owes a substantial part of its identity. Spero Lucem is thus shaping its creative interpretations in complete harmony with Geneva’s watchmaking traditions, through developing its innovative, finely crafted movements as well as its astonishing ‘non-watch’ alternatives.
While the name Spero Lucem is inspired by Geneva’s coat-of-arms and its original meaning, its logo faithfully reproduces several of its extremely meaningful details in black and gold. To the great satisfaction of devotees and purists, it is the very emblem of Geneva that represented the starting point for the Spero Lucem logo: the tail of the imperial eagle enthroned on the official insignia opposite the famous keys, against a Swiss-red background.
The eagle with its parabolic force is a call to victory and to taking flight towards the much hoped-for light. It embodies the positive attitude of creative thrusts, the mastery of take-offs and soaring flight, playing with hot and cold air currents. Meanwhile, the key of which the unlocking end points skyward, speaks of pastoral jurisdiction and of opening doors in an era when the City was surrounded by imposing fortifications. It illustrates the access to knowledge long held captive and exclusively reserved for the elite. A closer look reveals that the head of this key comprises a cross brimming with metaphors: encounters, exchanges of knowledge and skills, crossroads of differences, free passage… and Swissness.
The imperial eagle and the Geneva key, both faithful representations of the City of Calvin, harbour values that are far more intense than any other kind of symbols, derived from obscure historical events or filled with crusaders’ battles and other bellicose episodes. Spero Lucem instead opts for luminous values based on a combination of humanity and iron-clad determination. The protective, majestic eagle and the liberating, inspirational key together herald Spero Lucem’s grand entrance on the Fine Watchmaking stage; its inventiveness in the field of horological complications; its mastery of the most accomplished mechanisms; as well as its innovative spirit giving rise to unprecedented blends of technical developments.
Spero Lucem hallmark
Surrounded by the stylised flamboyance of the feathers adorning Geneva’s imperial eagle and framing the outline of a redesigned emblem bearing the letters SL and the famous pastoral key, the Spero Lucem hallmark gives a sense of relief and depth to the chosen surfaces of specific components.
Origins of the brand
Located in the Eaux-Vives district, a stone’s throw from Lake Geneva and the famous Jet d’eau, another symbol of the city’s international renown, the Spero Lucem brand has been created through a rare convergence of horological competencies and a shared love of fine craftsmanship.
It all began with a Geneva-based manufacturer Yvan Arpa, CEO of Spero Lucem, decided to kick off the adventure of this benchmark brand by acquiring a precious facility brimming with expertise and equipped with machines operated by passionate enthusiasts. The Spero Lucem story thus began with the acquisition of SC2 SA, located on the Rue du Clos in Geneva, a small but well-reputed Geneva-based watch manufacturer specialising in the development and production of prototypes and acknowledged for its mastery in the field of high-end watch exteriors and gemsetting.
Building on 25 years of experience, SC2 produces creative, technical and aesthetic treasures for a prestigious customer base composed of world-famous Swiss Fine Watchmaking brands. It is grounded on a bedrock of expertise in the art of gemsetting and on a thorough knowledge of precious stones, teamed with modern technologies.
SC2 gives shape to concepts by meticulous machining of prototypes providing a concrete expression that may lead to production in small and medium-sized series. Entirely at ease in the field of watch exteriors, it also produces various small parts for mechanical watch movements such as plates, bridges and oscillating weights. It painstakingly machines all shapes and sizes of watchcases, dials, hands, bracelets and buckles. In the field of jewellery, it has come to specialise in exceptional creations, in gemsetting delivering high added value, and particularly in invisible setting.
About Yvan Arpa, CEO, Spero Lucem
He secretly dreamed of orchestrating a sincere tribute to his city. Known for having – much as in the time of the Reformation – overturned certain conventions to the point of being occasionally perceived as a watchmaking revolutionary, Yvan Arpa is far more than just an exceptional creative force and a high-network individual skilled in attracting media coverage. Above all else, he remains deeply awed by the purest watchmaking skills.
The territory of a traditional Geneva-based brand, built on references firmly founded on signature classicism, opens up whole new vistas for this maverick, multifaceted personality. A talented designer, prolific creative and one-man think tank, Yvan Arpa fell deeply in love with this domain where no one expected to find him.
At a time when research and development are constantly generating new techniques and when technological progress regularly sparks innovative processes, the Spero Lucem brand created by Yvan Arpa offers him a whole new role. One that involve expressing his thirst for authenticity and his respect for benchmark historical watchmaking, and doing so in a judicious and refined manner.
About Caiyun Song
Naturally influenced by an inbred culture of secrecy, the discreet Caiyun Song belongs to one of China’s most influential families. A fervent watch collector, a passion she shares with her husband, she displays a remarkable understanding of luxury and of horological excellence. She naturally sees Spero Lucem – a brand paying tribute to this city of which the history is inextricably bound up with the birth and the practice of the Fine Watchmaking that so deeply fascinates her – as a crowning achievement. And also as part of a duty to preserve and pass on a heritage capable of transcending the finest collection.
About MHC, Manufacture Hautes Complications
Experts with golden fingers capable of mastering the supreme horological complication, the minute repeater, are few. Spero Lucem has chosen one of them, the great-grandson of a watchmaker named Louis Marc Golay LeCoultre (1869-1929), to oversee the development of its exceptional calibres. For 25 years, after earning his Swiss Federal Certificate of Capacity as a Watchmaker-Repairer, Pierre-Laurent Favre exercised his talents in developing stellar horological complications within Geneva’s most prestigious watch Manufacture, Patek Philippe. From 2003 onwards, he developed their Fine Watchmaking department. In 2010, he founded an entity entirely dedicated to the finest expression of horological arts in the Eaux-Vives district of Geneva. Known as a top-rate “motorist” (a watch industry term for movement makers often supplying prestigious brands), he is particularly acclaimed for the reliability of his products, whether tourbillons or other complex mechanisms. Pierre-Laurent Favre is now dedicating his natural curiosity and his passionate inventiveness to supporting the watchmakers of Spero Lucem.
Yvan Arpa created for Spero Lucem a world première stemming from an unusual alliance between major, well mastered and reliable complications – the tourbillon and the minute repeater – along with a playful innovation of which the apparent visual simplicity is matched by the additional complexity of the mechanism. Perfectly mirroring the visual identity stemming from the key featured in Geneva’s coat-of-arms, Spero Lucem was born from the convergence of brilliant and complementary career paths. A union of cutting-edge knowledge stemming from all sectors required for the development, production, fine-tuning and international marketing of exceptional timepieces destined for the ages.
– La Cllémence – Tourbillon Minute-Repeater with Crazy Hands
– La Jonction – “Tourbillon Jumping hours Retrograde minutes”
– Avenue du Mail – Geneva Imperial Eagle Pen
– Boulevard des Tranchées – Letter Opener Knife
– Lux Fuit – Jewellery Line
Declaring unswerving allegiance to Geneva, the Spero Lucem brand embodies the quintessence of benchmark Swiss horology, imbued with excellence, innovation and audacity. Dedicated to the original values of these skills so closely bound up with the city that inspired its name, the brand lays claim to an ultimate level of finishing; a rare degree of mastery in the field of horological complications; a philosophy based on a return to fundamentals; as well as several world firsts.
Spero Lucem, a unique and concrete tribute to the history of Geneva, is established in a truly authentic location in the Eaux-Vives district, 300 metres from the famous Jet d’eau, another symbol of the “City of assemblies” aspiring towards the light… Spero Lucem.
11 Rue d’Italie