Aside from SIHH, Alex was able to arrange a tour of the Manufacture (and Maison) for me (although it was with buyers from Japanese and Russian ADs, I think). It was a quick tour and I must apologize for the sloppy photography. Actually, my camera was already running low on power (...and all those other excuses).
Anyway, we were given the tour by Michael who has been with VC for 3 years now and is actually a watchmaker working at the shop inside the Geneva Boutique...I think. He was also around at the fair for the demos. Michael was really lucky as he joined VC just before the 250th anniversary, so after only a week or so at work, he got one of those nice employee's 250th anniversary patrimony watches.
If you watch the video in the goodies section, you can see some good footage of the manufacture so I will
just post a few shots of the work that goes on in the workshops. Actually, I was told that the workshops are
now full and they hope to do some expansion in the near future.
*Warning: I didn't take any notes so my narrations should be taken with a grain (heaps) of salt.
A lady applies perlage on the base plates...
(I thought she was also doing some QC for Durex Japan, but the pink stuff are actually protection...for her fingers)
I think he is either polishing or filing/beveling some components...(No, the reporting won't get any better guys..)
You can appreciate the work being done when you see how small some of the components are. These ones
are smaller than the cuticles on my working-class finger!
Here is where the engine-turning is done. I guess the machine is the engine and the guy is the turner...
A simple pattern takes about a day to complete while more complicated patterns take several days to finish.
At the time of our visit, they were working on a prototype design...sorry can't tell you any details...
The enameler's work table. Although there were no finished samples, you can tell that the enamelers have to
try out many combinations to come up with just the right colors (not to mention having to eat a lot of jam for breakfast)...
Some familiar beauties...
They are coming up with new themes for the Tribute to Great Explorers...
Maybe an hommage to Kazumi's 24-hour journey to Geneva via London Heathrow's Terminal 5 (a bermuda triangle for luggage...fortunately mine arrived two days later)!
I was so lucky to catch a first glimpse of some familiar but oh so elusive faces!!
I was also given a tour of the Maison but since the collection on display can be seen in the video in the goodies section,
and since I know none of you can take any more of my reporting, I will just end with a picture taken at the Maison with
the very knowledgeable Expert Master Watchmaker, Mr. Rudolf Bull (he's the gentleman with the red tie)
By now I have probably blown any chances of being contacted by VC to be the next THL moderator but I hope
you enjoyed the pics as much as I enjoyed posting them. I must say being able to go around SIHH, the Maison,
and the Manufacture was a dream come true. Like a kid in Disneyland or a teenager at the Playboy Mansion (okay,
lets not get into that...).