As a third generation watch-maker in your family, what has been the approach you have taken?
My dream as a small boy was always to build my own watch one day. I have seen my grandfather, my grandmother and my father always around working on watches. I grew up seeing them making them with their own hands.
Of course, a lot of years has passed, and I went through different watchmakers and learned new technology and possibilities of how to manufacture today. This was not the same as I experienced as a small boy. Therefore, some years ago, I decided to go my own way and built my own watch; by hand, the old traditional way like my grandfather did. That is why my movement is called 1740, this is when the first pocket watch was built in the Valle de Joux, by hand of course.
Your watches not only stand out in watchmaking expertise but also aesthetics and the materials you use. Tell us more about your vision / philosophy and the WOW factor all your watches show.
Sure, first of all, the most important for a watchmaker is to create the movement. So, all inspiration, my soul and my heart goes towards the development and making such..
Then, of course it comes the design, which is a very important part. I must combine the wonderful movement together with the watch’s design.
It is important for me that you can see what is going on inside the movement. Therefore, in my 2 current models you can observe the main parts of the movement very detailed; for example, the Flying Biplane tourbillon. To see this, I consider is for everyone an experience and a WOW factor.
Also, the sound of the movement is important to me. You need to feel and hear the heart of the watch. It is a part of your everyday. If you look at the back of my timepieces, you will see it is an open case back, which again, it is important to me so that you can see the decoration of the watch; totally handmade and treated with different kind of woods just like back then. This special hand treatment is called LES COTES DE SOLLIAT.
When designing a particular watch, do you already have in mind a profile of your customer?
I never really think about the customer in particular as I never know who my customer will be. I wish always to build a watch for everyone.
In the international context of the past two years and now during this pandemic, luxury and especially the way it is perceived, will significantly change. People are increasingly seeking value.
In the last 2 years and with the current Pandemic, I feel that independent brands and watchmakers increased their importance. People have recognized the value of handmade timepieces and the limitation of it versus big brands which produce thousands over thousands. Definitely, people seek more value, want to be distinguished from the mass, and want something special not everyone can have.
Watchmaking has always been a world for collectors / connoisseurs. What is your view?
Collectors are of course very important as it is their passion and they live their passion. Saying that, they are more educated and therefore appreciate the real watchmaking much more.
Also, a watch became a status symbol and it is the man’s most important jewelry these days. Today, we have the collectors as always, and then we have the customers which want something outstanding on their wrist. Then, some of these customers become collectors and so on. Due to the fast-moving networks of the media, people are more aware what is going on and this is why I think more people are interested in a handmade timepiece today; in something unique.
You have been paying very close attention to social media with top quality imagery and presentation of your watches. Is there a risk of losing desirability and / or exclusivity since social media has made luxury so democratic?
Social media is a big part of our world and even as a traditional watchmaker I can´t ignore that. I think it is an important platform to exchange news. I do not recognize any risk, totally the opposite. People appreciate that I can show them my ideas, what is next, and so on. We live in a fast-moving world; people want to be a part of it and being informed.
What is your view on traditional watch fairs and in general about trade fairs?
This is a topic we have to see from different angles. For bigger cooperation and brands, I don’t think it is necessary to bring a big gathering together. This companies are so well distributed and known that I consider they can do different things. For smaller brands and watchmakers like me with a very small production, I think it is still very important as we do not have a worldwide retail network where people can see and feel our timepieces. So, for us this is our unique chance to present to the world.
How do you sell your watches? Are you present at major retailers?
My production is by far too small as with 20 to 25 pieces a year it is very exclusive and limited. Therefore, I´m not really able to deliver to a retailer network.
Basically, we sell our timepieces directly to our clients.
Are you potentially considering cross sector collaborations, such as capsule collections? (Ex. fashion, jewellery, accessories etc)
We receive always certain requests, but because of our limited production, our watches are very exclusive.
What I personally like to do, and we have already done in the past is to work with artists, painters, etc. I consider this high level of watchmaking is an art. Therefore, I consider these to be the perfect fit. Last year for Art Basel Miami we did the first time an exposition at Gary Naders Gallery together with Jorg Hysek. Gary Nader immediately said: “Your watches are a Picasso on the wrist.”
For centuries the Vallee de Joux, widely recognized as the birthplace of Swiss horology, has produced some of the world’s most acclaimed independent watchmakers. Located in the Jura Mountains just 30 miles north of Geneva, it’s harsh winters and stunning natural landscape provide a tranquil setting for craftsmen practicing a rare art form. Countless hours are spent assembling complications behind the wooden desks of an 18th century farmhouse dubbed “La Grand Piece,” the home and atelier of master watchmaker David Candaux.
As a third-generation master watchmaker, David Candaux spent his early years fully immersed in a culture founded upon traditional craftsmanship. After decades of honing his skills through a brilliant career with several renowned watch brands, David is prepared for his next chapter. Through the David Candaux Master-Piece Collection 1740, he brings forth knowledge passed on through generations, skills acquired over a spectacular career, and a valley watchmaker vision of a 21st century Haute Horlogerie.
MASTERPIECE COLLECTION 1740
The Master-Piece Collection 1740 combines contemporary design with traditional watchmaking practices to usher in a new era of handmade luxury timepieces. The streamlined case elegantly protects the handmade complication consisting of 287 individual components.
More from LEADERS
In conversation with Salvatore Pisani, GM Splendid Venice and President Confindustria Turismo Venezia
Most of your career has been with luxury properties in Italy. Why luxury and why Italy? Luxury because it’s hardwired into …
Iconic Italian luxury brand Acqua di Parma expands further into lifestyle – CEO Laura Burdese (Exclusive Interview)
Acqua di Parma is one of Italy's iconic brands. Tell us more about the heritage brand and its Italian DNA? Acqua …
Led by Jose Silva, Jumeirah Hotels, world’s luxury hotel group with the most comprehensive pandemic measures (EXCLUSIVE)
Led by visionary luxury hotelier Jose Silva, CEO Jumeirah Group, has been not only tackling the challenges but also identifying …