Architects in movement at Pierre Junod

April 2003

A glimpse at the very creative and very original timekeepers of Pierre Junod.

“The architects enjoy working in millimetres, even tenths of millimetres, even though they are used to working with very large dimensions,” states Pierre Junod. This individual has come up with a very interesting concept that has been ongoing since 1993. What is it exactly?

As Junod himself explains, his “basic concept is to work with architects and designers who often have no experience with watchmaking, which allows them to bring new and original ideas in forms, colours, the reading of time, as well as other different ideas that we don't usually see.” Internationally known architects and young unknown designers come and go around Pierre Junod. But whether they are at the top of their career or just beginning, all participate in this adventure with the same spirit of close collaboration. “Our idea is to produce watches that resemble as much as possible the plans of the designers. Every effort is made to respect the proportions and the colours in order to transpose their well-thought out ideas to a watch product,” explains Junod.

Not influenced by fashion
The series are small, numbered, “but not limited,” states Junod. “In fact, once in our collection, the watches remain forever and are always available. This is possible because these architects' creations are barely if at all ever influenced by fashion trends. They are situated rather in the continuity of their own work.”
The creative process, the development of prototypes, the technical steps involved in production and the creation of tooling and assembling take about one year per model. All the component parts (crystal, steel or aluminium cases, quartz movements), with the exception of the bracelets, are made in Switzerland. All watches are hand-assembled by Pierre Junod's wife, Danuta.

Product at the centre
The name of the brand, 'Pierre Junod', only appears on the casebacks and on the leather bracelets. The names of the designers only appear engraved on the casebacks. “In fact, the designers prefer to have the dials devoid of any signature in order to preserve the purity of their design and their integrity. Too often the signature is an element that uselessly burdens the graphic dimensions of the piece.”

The distribution is as original as the methods of production. Pierre Junod timepieces are mainly distributed outside the normal watch channels: museums, galleries, certain jewellers, design boutiques and interior design stores. With retail prices ranging between 250 and 500 euros, Pierre Junod watches should find a greater audience.

New items
The list of associates is already long and prestigious. We can cite notably Mario Botta, Michael Graves, Richard Meier, Shigeru Uchida, Stanley Tigerman among many others. Often these associations continue and even diversify. For example, this year, Michael Graves is presenting two new watches, as is Massimo Vignelli and the 'debutant' at 83 years of age, the famous Italian designer, Mangiarotti.

What is remarkable is that Pierre Junod is one of those rare persons to have confidence in young artists. This year, he is presenting a strongly original timekeeper designed by Sandrine Oppliger. This young interior designer created a ring watch poetically named 'Au doigt et à l'oeil'. Not only does this piece rejuvenate the abandoned ring watch, giving it a resolutely modern and creative allure, but it also provides the opportunity for Pierre Junod to open his creations to the feminine market.

Inspired by the signet ring, this watch is a definite success. Its design is simple and pure. Its clean lines are perfectly emphasized by the intelligent use of material: 18 carat gold-plated steel support and case, gold caseback, black hour markers, black hands and a dial whose design is “an allusion to a semi-precious stone called l'oeil de chat (cat's eye).” A notable detail is that the watch, equipped with a quartz movement, comes in a single size but can be placed in its support, the ring, which is available in different sizes. To all the fingers and to all the eyes.