May 23, 2024

Happy Independence Day America to all of our readers based in the USA! To celebrate, we’ve put together a list of watchmakers who – despite not being American – share the country’s ideals and values when it comes to self-governing. Each one of them has battled, with persistence and bravery, against the empires of LVMH, Richemont, and the Swatch Group, to make itself heard. They have their own vision of how things should be, and encourage freedom and creativity in their designs. We are, of course, talking about the independent brands who make only a few hundred watches, if that. Without them, the watch industry wouldn’t be as fun as it is:

F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain White Gold

1 F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain White Gold

A modern master, compared to the great of the past, François-Paul Journe has a simple dream when he began making watches: to make one entirely out of gold. His vision began to take shape in 2004, when he introduced the first 18-karat rose gold movement, but it would take the Frenchman another ten year to pair it with a gold dial. The Chronomètre Souverain fulfilled that childhood dream, and still today, best represents the Frenchman’s genius. For more, please see our full review of this watch…

Greubel Forsey Art Piece 1

2 Greubel Forsey Art Piece 1

It takes time to create something trully special. Almost three years after presenting me a “work-in-progress” prototype, the dynamic duo behind Greubel Forsey have finally unveiled the Art Piece 1 in its final state. Made in collaboration with MBE artist Willard Wigan, it features a clever lens set inside the watch’s crown which reveals an otherwise invisible collection of micro-sculptures, making this the world’s first miniature art gallery made to fit on the wrist.
For more, please see our full review of this watch…


3 HYT H3

The H3 is the world’s most complex watch according to HYT, and that means a lot coming from the independent watch brand that made hydro-mechanical watches a thing. There are no hands, nor satellite, nor any other system of time-reading that we’ve become accustomed to. Instead, HYT has created a rotating dial with 4 faces arranged along the time display tube. Each of these faces is graduated with 6 hours, thereby enabling the 24 hours of the day to be displayed. Officially it measures a whopping 62 by 41 mm, an there is little point of trying to get it under the cuff. It won’t go there, but then again, why hide this beauty. The first timepieces of this limited edition of 25 pieces will be available from September 2015. For more, please see our full review of this watch…


4 Angelus

With the U10 Tourbillon Lumière, Angelus has done something devilishly clever. The swiss watchmaker managed to reach into horology’s past and pull forth something that looks remarkably modern. Mixing vintage and modern sensibilities together should have produced something pretty garish, but in the very capable hands of Angelus, the U10 Tourbillon Lumière is a wonderfully cohesive achievement in design. Aesthetics clearly culled from the 60’s and 70’s mesh beautifully with the sleek annealed steel that incases the watch’s notable movement, producing a pleasingly unique timepiece with design elements from today, yesterday and tomorrow.
For more, please see our full review of this watch…

MCT F110

5 MCT F110

Manufacture Contemporaine Du Temps unveiled the F110 watch at Baselworld, inaugurating the Frequential Collection in the same breath. The watch drew a lot of praise for its ability to combine classic lines and modern mechanics inside a lovely cushion-shaped case holding a balance wheel at its core. Crafted from Titanium Grade 5 with DLC treatment, the F110 features hours, minutes and a power reserve function at 12 o’clock. However, the centerpiece of the watch is the balance wheel that stares down the middle of the watch, locking eyes with anyone who comes across it. The watch is powered by a new caliber, the MCT-F1.0 manual hand-winding movement developed and assembled by MCT. For more, please see our full review of this watch…