news



Manufacture Vuillemin, France’s last mechanical movement clock maker

Español Pусский
April 2017


This isn’t your grandfather’s old clock. Manufacture Vuillemin uses traditional techniques to produce clocks with a modern and artistic appeal.

Manufacture Vuillemin, France's last mechanical movement clock maker

To my knowledge, Manufacture Vuillemin is France’s only mechanical movement clock maker in operation today. The company also holds the ‘Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant’ (Living Heritage Company) in France. All of this essentially makes the Manufacture France’s flag carrier in terms of clock making.

The manufacture is mostly known for its mechanical grandfather clocks, specifically those known as ‘iron cage’ clocks, which have been a specialty of the French region where the company is based. These movements demand a unique manufacturing process, in particular to produce the chime that iron cages are known for.

But Manufacture Vuillemin also uses its half century of know-how to design and produce more contemporary pieces.

Manufacture Vuillemin, France's last mechanical movement clock maker

The Kairos clock, for example, is maybe the most modernist of the collection. Its palladium plated mechanics are encased in a red thermolacquered cage, adding a futuristic look to the traditional grandfather clock design.

I also like their standing clocks, which double as sculptures and look like proper works of art. They come in two customizable collections, the Clipperton and the Délos.

Manufacture Vuillemin, France's last mechanical movement clock maker

The Délos, for instance, stands at a height of 191 cm and is made from French walnut accented by stainless steel. It provides 8 days out autonomy and also includes an automatic night-time shutdown feature to make sure things are quiet while you snooze.

The company relies on traditional techniques to make these timekeepers. Technicians and watchmakers use raw materials – like brass and steel – which are then stamped, folded, cut and polished to create the clock mechanisms. In fact, they make no less than 96% of the movements in-house.

Manufacture Vuillemin, France's last mechanical movement clock maker

Representing French clock making for over 50 years, this brand appears to have adjusted stylistically and taken the good old grandfather clock concept well into the 21st century.