Real watch maker (who epitomizes watch makers), makes real independent hand-made watch (that epitomizes indy hand-made watches). That is Jean-Baptiste Viot and his “Paris” (In Paris) watch. It is a pretty fantastic creation and I would first like to thank Francois-Xavier Overstake of the French watch blog Equation du Temps for permission to show you these images of the J-B Viot In Paris watch that he took. Aside from the highest image, all photography credit goes to him for the below images. Lucky him to be in France to get a hold of all that he does.
The pictured watch from 2008 is a prototype. I believe that by now J-B Viot offers a retail version of the In Paris watch, of course all made by him and highly limited. He has a few interesting philosophies as a watch maker that make him a very practical person. Although his designs are pretty avant garde, he reject use of experimental materials and techniques that can leave watches fragile or unfixable by other watch makers.
This all makes sense as Viot himself is in the business of watch restoration. You see a lot of classic machine techniques and materials. While I am not yet so much a movement buff to understand what makes a movement style “French” the movement in the A Paris watch is supposed to reflect the style of French watch makers. Suffice it to say that Viot makes all his own movements by hand in his shop. The watch is in a 38mm wide case that can be customized in terms of materials. Viot uses German silver, brass, gold, and steel for the movement. These same metals are also used in the case, and the style depends on what the customer wants.
Style of the watch and the movement are unlike anything I’ve come across before. J-B Viot does a great job of using different materials to highlight and bring out the various elements of the dial. A chapter ring with hour and minute indicators make it easier to tell the time via the long and thin arrow tipped hands. the watch also have a subsidiary seconds dial. Almost Jules Verne-esque in style (also French), the skeletonized design of the dial and watch is both classic and modern – with a satisfying “timeless quality to it.” It maintains that unceasing interest we feel when looking at clockwork creations. Those blued steel plates of the dial are just really are great aren’t they? I also like how a little blue rod is used as the balance cock.
Lastly is the image of J-B Viot’s as of then uncompleted Double Pendulum clock. A large piece unique project of his that takes me to an Alice and Wonderland world. Like a mix between and old style mirror and armoire, the large clock is an incredible feat of hand-made engineering and craftsmanship. I look forward to seeing a J-B Viot a Paris watch myself eventually. Until then it is (almost) good enough to have pictures. Price for the watch is apparently 26,000 euros.
Once again, most images here are the property of Francois-Xavier Overstake, and used on permission.