The Les Ambassadeurs boutique in Lucerne is a popular meeting point for watch enthusiasts. Set just a stone’s throw away from the famous Chapel Bridge, the boutique offers exceptional watches in a truly unique Swiss setting. Max Igor Müller, Branch Manager of the Lucerne boutique, greets us with a skilfully curated selection: “I have selected models for every taste, also including some surprising pieces. It is always a pleasure to present models to our customers that either contain new watchmaking techniques or originate from brands with which they are as yet unfamiliar.”
The name Montblanc usually brings to mind elegant ball- point pens or leather goods. “But today Montblanc is much more than that. Thanks to their takeover of Minerva approximately five years ago, the brand now has to be taken seriously in terms of its watchmaking expertise. It is our responsibility also of course to tell our cus- tomers the history of the various houses.” This model will appeal due to its automatic movement with 50 hours’ power reserve, a unique “exo” tourbillon and a chronograph activated by a monopusher. “I appreciate watches with beautiful symmetry and I find this model especially accomplished in this respect.”
This brand also has an exciting history. “Ulysse Nardin was famous above all for his ship’s chronometers and pocket watches for mariners. The company also supplied the United States Naval Obser- vatory until before the Second World War.” Later on, things became quieter around the brand before it was taken over by Rolf Schnyder in 1983. “I also had the opportunity to get to know him personally – he was an impressive personality. This model has an enamel dial that is shown off especially beauti- fully here.” It also has a power reserve of 60 hours and a tourbillon. “The price is very attractive for a watch with compli- cations of this kind.”
Niche brands have to be especially distinctive. The Swiss manufacturer Armin Strom has succeeded in doing so with its patented resonance system. “This complication allows an unbelievable level of accuracy. The watch functions with two movements, where the lower movement powers the entire mechanism and the upper is respon- sible for the resonance.” Although the emphasis here is on displaying the time precisely, this model also offers decorative elements, such as a“Grand Feu” enamel dial and an elegant stainless steel case with a diameter of 42 millimetres.
This jewel for ladies contains many fascinating elements: an aventurine dial, enhanced by a rainbow lunette, and a magnificent tourbillon. “Everything has been worked out down to the finest detail. You really notice the craftsmanship required to make this. And with a selection of colours like this you can wear this watch on any occasion.” Other things to note: The high-quality bracelet is made by Hermès. The watch is fitted with the company’s PF517 movement and is regarded as one of the finest tourbillon movements in the world.
Voyage into space
Anyone who would like to wear a spaceship on their wrist is bound to like this model from Urwerk. “The watch may look rather imposing, but its fits the wrist perfectly. I find that the red gold combined with the black case is especially attractive here. The watch can also be supplied with an extremely beautiful ‘tortoise’ motif.” Of course, the model also has the time display with a satellite complication, which has become one of Urwerk’s trademarks.
There are only two examples of this model in the entire world. “We are very proud to be able to offer such pieces. And we will be happy to show what makes a watch like this so special to any watch enthusiast who comes to Les Ambassadeurs. It is part of our job to share the passion of this expertise.” Almost the entire case consists of sapphire glass, which represents a real challenge for the watchmakers of the Bovet factory. “The polishing alone takes dozens of hours to match each part perfectly with one another. The case of the watch is designed at a 9-degree angle so that you can still see it clearly when it’s placed horizontally.”
Mastery of gravity
This young brand based in La Chaux-de-Fonds is a benchmark in terms of perfection of and respect for the traditional watchmaker’s art. The back of this model is engraved with the label “Exécution Spéciale” – this is how unique pieces are identified at Greubel Forsey. This remarkable watch is fitted with a tourbillon with a 25-degree angle. “This is the ideal position for overcoming gravity, irrespective of the angle of the watch. Despite its extreme complexity, this model is extremely durable and can be worn every day. Its three-dimensional visual effect gives the watch a certain depth that you can totally lose yourself in.”
This model is both a technical masterpiece and a declaration of love to the poetry of the heavens: the Astronomia from Jacob & Co arouses huge attention again and again. Its unique feature? A tourbillon mounted on a carousel on which the whole construction turns. “The entire watchmaking world assumed that this concept was actually unrealisable. But Jacob Arabo, the founder of the American brand, remained stubborn and has shown that nothing is impossible.” The model presented here is limited to 101 pieces. “It is a genuine miracle for lovers of exceptional design.”