Philippe Dufour was born in Le Sentier, in the Vallée
de Joux, where he lives today.
Behind the exploits is a calm man who says he learns every day.
He learnt, alone, to use the computer to design his watches, and
believes firmly in the harmony between innovation and tradition.
Modest about his own work, he nevertheless has strong views. In
discussing his relationship with potential clients, his favourite
word is "transparent". "I want a transparent relationship with those
who acquire my watches. I want to be able to say that this is a
movement that they won't find anywhere else. I am proud to put my
name on a watch, but I will do so only when it is my work inside".
While the computer reveals his drive to innovate, the workshop is
imbued with his respect for tradition. Some of the tools date from
the beginning of the century. Many have been recuperated from other
watchmakers. Philippe Dufour is extremely proud of these acquisitions.
"When a watchmaker disappears, he takes with him his special skills
and technical secrets, and little by little we lose our culture.
I'm simply trying to slow that process".
Philippe Dufour builds his movement blanks in German silver, as
the old watchmakers did. "It's a fine material" he says affectionately.
Like the old masters he attaches great importance to the shape and
layout of the bars and bridges. These are executed with an attention
to detail that most of his contemporaries have abandoned. He calls
his approach respecting the "ethic" of the traditional movement.
In his own words "The true high end of the range is a matter of
what you can't see".
He works in his checked shirt and jeans and smokes his pipe. But
when the moment comes for the final assembly and adjustment, the
atmosphere changes. He dons his white coat and gloves and sits at
his main workbench, looking out over the fields. The assembly takes
days but "I don't see the time pass, it's always exciting.The final
"click" when I close the case for the last time, is a great moment".