One of the innovators behind Greubel Forsey on the role of independence and skills transference in fine watchmaking
Debonair chats to Christian Lattmann, CEO of Jaquet Droz, as the brand known for its rarefied timepieces that incorporate moving parts celebrates its 280th anniversary
Eduan R. Maggo
I became interested in the watch industry because… I was born next to Omega, and during my childhood the parents of several friends worked at Omega Timing. They travelled all over the world to time competitions, and that sparked the dream.
As CEO of Jaquet Droz my most unbelievable find has been… the talent and creativity of the teams at Montres Jaquet Droz SA. To succeed in differentiating ourselves though creativity is a challenge, and always surprising our customers and sharing our passion is a real obsession.
The timepiece I currently feel most connected to is… I love my Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Moon, it has everything — style, character and technicality.
The first watch I ever received was… a Longines Lindbergh that I still have today and that I’ll offer to my children one day.
I think the watch industry and high-end luxury is… men and women who join their passion and their know-how to make the most beautiful watches.
The greatest development I have seen from my brand, historical or modern is… All the genius of Jaquet Droz is in the automata. We are one of the few brands that perpetuate this art, and our latest creation, the Tropical Bird Repeater, is exceptional.
An object from outside the industry that has an important effect on my work is… my iPhone. It is not original, but it’s true.
On my desk you’ll always find… a calculator.
My favourite aspect of my role is… to federate the teams around the same objective, to make the most beautiful timepieces and to make them known.
The last gift I received from someone in the industry was… the drawing of our next novelty — it’s exceptional!
I think the Middle East market is… the ultimate in luxury.
Watch journalism is important because… they are influencers, and when you have a good product, with substance, you have to make it known. For this quality, specialised press is essential.
If you had a time machine, is there a period of watchmaking you would change, and how? No, because even making mistakes is important for improvement. This is called experience.
You have a dinner party and can invite any masters of the watchmaking industry past or present, who would you invite? I appreciate François Junod, a master in automaton who works the same way as Pierre Jaquet-Droz did. We collaborate with him, for example on the Charming Bird piece.
How do you unwind outside of work? I like spending time with my children and my wife.
The advent of digitisation in the industry… is inevitable.
If I didn’t work in the watch industry I would… work in a startup that develops android automatons, or I would be a musician.
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Zenith’s CEO looks back on a challenging start at the 154-year-old watchmaker. As the brand launches its 2019 novelties and 50th anniversary celebrations of the El Primero movement, he discusses how he plans to align the brand with a modern audience