The Chronomètre Artisans is a subscription only timepiece created by a team of talented artisans and professionals led by independent watchmaker and movement designer Simon Brette. Highlighting superlative independent artisanship, this Swiss made neo-classical mechanical wristwatch features a distinctive design and in-house chronometer movement.
With the Chronomètre Artisans, Simon Brette has created a platform for independent artisans. Here they have rediscovered and reinterpreted older fabrication and finishing techniques – and developed new ones. Representing the absolute best in their respective crafts, these craftsmen and craftswomen have contributed to a project while enjoying their work and taking pride in the results.
Simon and his partners are creating watches at the highest level of artistic expression, and the Chronomètre Artisans is the first in this collaborative effort which will build a solid foundation.
This three-hand time-only model boasts a highly original and easily recognizable design and outstanding hand-finishing.
Conceived as a classical chronometer, the Chronomètre Artisans boasts a visually pure and symmetrical construction. Equipped with the manual-winding Calibre SBCA, it has a large prominent balance wheel, held by a single straight rounded bridge crafted in non-magnetic grade 5 titanium.
The large balance wheel beats at a traditional rate of 2.5 Hz, similar to historical marine chronometers that used a large diameter/high inertia balance wheel coupled to a low beat rate. All the steel parts adjacent to the balance wheel are crafted in Phynox, a non-magnetic steel alloy.
The balance wheel of the Chronomètre Artisans is fitted with a hairspring featuring a Breguet overcoil and adjustable inertia blocks for fine adjustment of the poise, serving to slightly increase or decrease the frequency and amplitude at which the balance oscillates.
For precise time-setting, the movement features a stop-second mechanism in the form of a single flexible “S”-shaped arm, which engages via a sliding pinion to contact the balance wheel rim in order to stop it from oscillating while the time is set.
To offer an unobstructed view of the balance wheel, the third and fourth wheels are lowered to the dial side. The mirror-polished escape wheel and pallet lever feature a completely new design with counter-pivots. These are positioned to enable a watchmaker access without having to remove the balance wheel.
Exuding more contemporary tones, the three-quarter bridge is decorated with a grained texture and finished in an anthracite ruthenium tone. When fully wound, main-spring barrels, having mirror-polished concave surfaces, deliver a healthy 3-day power reserve. In a nod to chronometers from the golden era of watchmaking, the ratchet and crown wheel feature “wolf teeth” gearing.
The winding mechanism of the Chronomètre Artisans is a technical highlight that can be seen, heard and felt. It features an innovative click system that replaces the multiple components usually found in conventional movements.
The Chronomètre Artisans’ click is both more robust and reliable compared to a conventional click as it also provides a much more responsive feel when winding the movement.
A compliant monolithic mechanism integrated in the crown wheel, the winding mechanism further enhances the symmetrical aspect of the movement.
The crown wheel is one of the most complex components to produce in the Chronomètre Artisans’ movement. It comprises three different types of gear-cutting: wolf teeth in connection with the ratchet wheels, vertical teeth which engage the winding pinion, and internal teeth ensuring the paw meshes which engage in only one direction during winding.
The surfaces of the movement screws are deeply concave and mirror polished to perfection. This provides visual depth because, from a distance, the heads look domed rather than concave. These screws are fixed into solid gold chatons, providing visual contrast and emphasising the three dimensionality of the movement.
The finely hand-chamfered and polished edges of the three-quarter and individual titanium bridges have all been entirely mirror-polished, as well as the edges of the gear spokes and inner rims, the chatons, and even the pinions.
The partially open dial reveals a balanced interplay between tradition and modernity. Familiar forms seamlessly merge with completely original shapes creating a sense of volume and depth. Asymmetrical yet balanced, the dial features two distinct openings to reveal kinetic parts of the movement and highlight its complexity.
On the left side of the dial, an opening reveals the third and fourth wheels, which are supported by two parallel titanium bridges with rounded and mirror-polished surfaces. The motion of the seconds hand is accompanied by a clear view of the gearing that drives it in an endless kinetic flow.
The small flame-blued steel seconds hand is placed on the same plane as the dial, minimizing the parallax effect. This provides an optimal reading of the seconds against its frosted sapphire sub-dial, regardless of the viewing angle. To further optimize readability, contrast is enhanced through different colours and decoration techniques of the main plate, titanium bridge, and gearing.
The right side of the dial features a smaller opening in which one can admire the ingenious and lavishly finished time-setting mechanism, shifting as the system toggles between winding and time-setting positions. Ingeniously conceived, three springs make up a single mechanism, effectively carrying out multiple functions.
Often an overlooked part of the movement’s overall aesthetic, these springs are mirror-polished with chamfered edges and sharp internal angles, which are further embellished with concave mirror polished screws fixed in gold chatons.
The solid red (5N) gold dial plate boasts a unique decoration exclusive to the Simon Brette Chronomètre Artisans Subscription Edition. Created by exceptionally talented artisans, this eye-catching three-dimensional mosaic texture is known as “dragon scales”.
Further adding to the sense of visual depth and lending a contemporary accent to the dial, the chapter ring with its minute markers is crafted in translucent sapphire crystal with a frosted finish ensuring high legibility with minimum glare. The raised sapphire ring is surrounded by a silvery opaline ring on which the Arabic numeral five-minute markers are pad printed.
The central hour hand is inspired by the Urban Jurgensen “observatory” hand designed by Derek Pratt, here reinterpreted with an interior angle in the pointed tip. Rounded, flame-blued and polished by hand, the upper surface of the steel hand’s open portion is mirror-polished, seemingly disappearing and reappearing as it moves with the light.
Perfectly proportioned with the other elements on the dial, the opening of the hour hand passes precisely above the seconds hand’s pinion as well as the main screw of the crown mechanism. The slender blued steel minute hand features a downward-facing curve at the tip, emphasizing the dial’s volume while making precise and effortless reading of the minutes.
Measuring 39 mm wide and 10 mm high (including the domed sapphire crystal), the case is surprisingly compact for a watch with such tremendous depth. It is made of lightweight yet durable and highly corrosion-resistant zirconium alloy. Traditional metal alloys will be used in the production series.
The slightly oversized and easily gripped crown features the same polished concave form as the movement screws, while the case spotlights satin-brushed surfaces and concave polished bevels.
The case consists of three distinct parts, but there are no visible screws so it offers a seamless and monolithic appearance. The lugs are invisibly screwed to the inner case from the inside. The bezel and case back are then screwed to the middle case.
On the left side of the case, the watch features a small, polished element shaped like a dovetail, a joint Simon often saw in his father’s carpentry work. Crafted in rose gold for the subscription series, this component serves as a tribute to his father.
This type of practical construction both accommodates the use of different materials and enables the case to be finished to the same degree as the movement and dial. The tapered lugs are unusual in that they feature two sets of holes that accommodate either curved or straight spring bars, each offering a different look and feel for the strap on the wrist.
The Simon Brette Chronomètre Artisans is delivered with two straps in textured calfskin and a folding clasp, as well as a tang buckle for personalized comfort.
The 12-piece Chronomètre Artisans Subscription Edition has already sold out. The Chronomètre Artisans production edition will be launched at the end of the year.
The artisans behind the Chronomètre Artisans
- Matthieu Allègre: Watchmaking Designer
- Yasmina Anti: Hand engraver
- Marc Bolis and Alyna Rouelle: Micromechanical machining
- Barbara Coyon: Watchmaking Decorator
- Pierre-Alain Dornier & Cie: High-precision machining
- Julien Ducommun & Cie: Manufacturing, micromechanics and machining
- Damien Genillard: Surface Finisher
- Nadine Görgl: Hairspring regulator specialist
- Alexis Greco & Cie: Watchmaking Decorator
- Nathalie Jean-Louis: Watchmaking Decorator
- Luc Monnet: Prototypist Watchmaker, Art Mechanic
- Anton Pettersson: Prototypist Watchmaker, Art Mechanic
Model: Simon Brette Chronomètre Artisans Subscription Edition
Architecture: Case-band with embedded gold brancards, screwed bezel and caseback
Diameter: 39.00 mm
Height: 10.50 mm
Total length: 45.00 mm
Distance between lugs: 20.00 mm
Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-refection treatments above and below crystal to minimise scratches.
Water resistant to 30 meters
Red gold dial
Top face circular grained
Hand polished anglage and straight grained flanks
Flame blued steel
Top face mirror polished
Rounded and hand polished anglage
Calibre SBCA Manual winding
Diameter: 33.30 mm
Casing diameter: 32.70 mm
Overall height: 7.80 mm
Height of winding stem: 3.00 mm
Diameter of winding stem: S1.20 mm
Variable inertia balance with adjustment weights
Hairspring with Breguet overcoil
Adjustable stud holder
Free sprung balance
Geneva style stud
Frequency: 18’000 a/h (2.5 Hz)
Inertia: 40 mg/cm²
Lift angle: 52°
Amplitude: 0 h flat: 310°; 24 h flat: 280°
2 barrels in parallel
Two-position winding stem (winding and setting)
Time setting in position 2
Escapement anchor ‘coudée’, 15 dents
Manual winding: 45 rotations of crown
Power reserve: 72 hours (±5 hours)
Central hours and minutes
Small seconds at 9:15 o’clock
Mainplate and bridges featuring hand finished graining and anglage
Concave screw heads mirror polished and set in gold chatons
Pins and screws with mirror polished convex heads
Wheels with flat teeth, hand polished anglage and hand polished faces
Steel components mirror polished
Number of pieces
Movement without dial: 194
Cased with strap: 226