Imagine three of the world’s greatest watchmakers collaborating to develop just one timepiece. In 2008 Mr. Christophe Claret, Mr. Roger Dubuis, and Mr. Peter Speake-Marin together wrote the first chapter of a brand new story called Maîtres du Temps. And the watch, appropriately named Chapter One, was simply astounding. Picture the world’s most exclusive atelier with watchmaking’s finest artisans working together to concoct alchemy unprecedented in the history of horology.
Maîtres du Temps is a highly exclusive watch brand in which master watchmakers blend their vast and diverse experience in a collaborative effort to create exclusive and unparalleled masterpieces.
The driving force behind Maîtres du Temps is Mr. Steven Holtzman, a man with nearly three decades of experience in the watch industry. Mr. Holtzman is the catalyst bringing master watchmakers together, and Maîtres du Temps provides a canvas for their art. Mr. Holtzman realizes his vision by extracting and distilling the very best each master watchmaker has to offer. Each chapter in the Maîtres du Temps story is a symbiosis of experience, influence, art, craft, and technique, all harmoniously encapsulated in a single watch. The philosophy of Maîtres du Temps is symbolized by a tree, with each branch representing a fresh opportunity to work with new masters, another collaboration, a future project. And as the branches intertwine and the tree bears fruit, so a new timepiece is brought to life.
Chapter One is imbued with the intoxicating fusion of Mr. Claret’s undisputed mastery of high-end complications, Mr. Dubuis’ rich lifetime of experience in haute horlogerie, and Mr. Speake-Marin’s unique ability to bridge the very best of both traditional and modern watchmaking.
The first piece from Maîtres du Temps is, befitting the great men behind it, a world-first combination of complications with tourbillon, mono-pusher chronograph, retrograde date, retrograde GMT, and two idiosyncratic rolling bars at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock, indicating the day of the week and phase of the moon, respectively. As each new chapter of the story unfolds, a new combination of established or emerging masters will unite to create the next Maîtres du Temps masterpiece.
Maîtres du Temps Founder: Steven Holtzman
Maîtres du Temps is not so much a new watch company as it is an entirely new horological concept. Founded by Mr. Steven Holtzman, the idea behind Maîtres du Temps is to bring together groups of the most talented master watchmakers to develop exclusive timepieces. Mr. Steven Holtzman began his career in horology over twenty-five years ago with the sale and distribution of watches in the U.S. In 1997, he created Helvetia Time Corporation (HTC) to distribute high-quality Swiss watch brands—including Roger Dubuis—throughout North and Central America. HTC acquired the distinction of becoming one of the few high-end, independent watch distributors in North America. In 2004, Mr. Holtzman was instrumental in initiating the distribution of Jean Dunand in the Americas and Macau. In 2008, Mr. Holtzman realized his most ambitious project to date: his own brand, Maîtres du Temps. With Maîtres du Temps, Mr. Holtzman acts as a catalyst for today’s greatest master watchmakers to collaborate on the most innovative projects imaginable.
What Mr. Holtzman had in mind was developing teams of outstanding watchmakers who would work together to develop and craft incredible timepieces. Each master watchmaker brings his own ideas, his own style, and his own approach, and by providing the opportunity for them to work together, Maîtres du Temps harnesses and maximizes their incredible talent.
Master Watchmaker : Mr. Christophe Claret
Vision and realization occasionally go hand in hand; more often than not, however, the journey is fraught with insurmountable difficulties. Ensuring that what is seen in the mind’s eye becomes something that can be worn on the wrist is the business of Mr. Christophe Claret. His fascination with wristwatches began at an early age, and when only sixteen, he enrolled at the prestigious Geneva School of Watchmaking. An extensive background in restoration followed, providing Mr. Claret with exposure to the finest in traditional horological craftsmanship.
Beyond his training, Mr. Claret has the essential skills to realize designs that not only have never been conceived, but that previously would have been impossible to execute. Beginning in 1987, when he obtained his first contract for minute-repeater movements, Mr. Claret has steadily built what is possibly the world’s most sophisticated manufactory of complicated movements.No challenge seems beyond him, from tourbillons of every conceivable variety to unusual automatic winding mechanisms via striking watches whose sophistication is without rival. His exceptional movements are as remarkable for their precision and reliability as they are for their complexity.
Mr. Claret’s manufactory at Le Soleil d’Or in Le Locle boasts a vast array of equipment that runs the gamut from a full complement of the most noble of traditional watchmaking tools to the latest computer-guided laser cutters. He has become both the first choice and the last resort for horological visionaries, whose dreams can be made real only by the deftest of magicians. In the creation of Chapter One by Maîtres du Temps, Mr. Claret played the role of both creator and developer.
Master Watchmaker : Mr. Roger Dubuis
Mr. Roger Dubuis is a watchmaker in whom tradition runs deep. He was drawn at an early age to the magical world of watches and clocks when, as a schoolboy, he rang the noon bells and wound \ the weights in the clock tower of his local church. By the age of twelve, his fascination with the beauty and ingenuity of watchmaking made him a fixture at a local watchmaker’s atelier. Mr. Dubuis then went on to the prestigious Geneva School of Watchmaking. From past masters there, he acquired the incredible range of skills necessary to create and repair the most complex of timepieces.
Equipped with rare talent, passion, and a superb horological education, Mr. Dubuis enjoyed a distinguished career that included fourteen years in the high complications department of Patek Philippe before teaming up to construct the world’s first perpetual calendar bi-retrograde movement. At Patek Philippe, his own watchmaking atelier, and with the brand that bears his name, Mr. Dubuis continued to hone his vision of seamlessly bound complexity and artistry—a vision indispensable to the creation of Maîtres du Temps’ Chapter One. Through Maîtres du Temps, Mr. Dubuis has shared his precious knowledge in collaboration with other great masters to create unique complications, entirely modern in inspiration yet expressing the most traditional values in craftsmanship. Mr. Dubuis embodies the rich depth of a lifetime’s experience in watchmaking, and Maîtres du Temps showcases the full extent of his talent.
Master Watchmaker: Mr. Peter Speake-Marin
For English watchmaker Mr. Peter Speake-Marin, the preferred route has always been the road less traveled. From the outset, his iconoclastic personality has expressed itself not only in his chosen profession and passion for horology, but also in the way he has pursued that path. Mr. Speake-Marin followed his talent to study horology in the mid-1980s. Mr. Speake-Marin’s talents were rapidly recognized, and he was soon given an opportunity by a prominent London antique watch dealer to establish his watch repair and restoration department. This was an invaluable experience that afforded Mr. Speake-Marin exposure to many different brands of vintage complications of the highest calibre. “There I fell in love with watchmaking,” he has said of his years working with these exquisite examples of the watchmaker’s art.
To satisfy his desire for adventure and to broaden his experience, he left England for Switzerland, where he had studied in earlier years. His first stop was the workshop of renowned complications specialists Renaud & Papi. He then dedicated himself to mastering the methods through which today’s increasingly audacious new horological complications are conceived. At the same time, he began work on his own masterpiece—a unique tourbillon pocket watch designed, constructed, and assembled entirely by hand.
In order for horological artistry to flourish, Mr. Speake-Marin believes watchmakers must be aware of the past and conscious of the wealth of new possibilities offered by the future. For Mr. Speake-Marin, Chapter One by Maîtres du Temps is the perfect medium through which to express his experience of the historical tradition of fine watchmaking and to convey his belief in its future.
Official website: http://www.maitresdutemps.com