ouis Vuitton announces Raúl Pagès as the winner of the first edition of the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives. The award was presented during a ceremony and cocktail reception attended by many of the world’s leading watchmaking experts and enthusiasts at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. The event also featured a live performance by the French musical artist Sofiane Pamart.
Based in a small village in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Raúl Pagès learned his trade as a restorer of watchmaking masterpieces before becoming an independent watchmaker in 2012. Today, he creates about four timepieces a year, crafting them entirely by hand, from design and development of the mechanism to manufacturing, assembly and finishes. His winning design, the RP1 - Régulateur à détente is a manual-winding wristwatch in stainless steel with a unique construction, featuring a caliber fitted with pivoted detent escapement. "Being honoured by the jury of the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Watchmakers is the best possible recognition of my work as an independent watchmaker," he said.
Launched by Jean Arnault, Director of Watches of the House, the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives represents watchmaking and savoir-faire of excellence. The biennial initiative is supported by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, and was conceived to celebrate creative talent, savoir-faire, and innovation to strive as the future generations of watchmakers.
The Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives is open to independent watch designers, artisans and entrepreneurs from all around the world. For its first edition, the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives drew nearly 1,000 submissions. The creations are evaluated by an international committee of watch experts, including retailers, collectors, specialised journalists, artists, artisans, designers and other watch enthusiasts. Their evaluations were based on five essential criteria: Design & Aesthetics, Creativity & Audacity, Technical Innovation, Details & Finishings, and Complexity.
The final round of judging was fulfilled by five members of the Committee of experts elected by their peers. Led by Jury President Michael Tay, group managing director of The Hour Glass, the panel included Carole Forestier-Kasapi, movements director at Tag Heuer; pre-eminent collector and author, Auro Montanari; Rexhep Rexhepi, independent Watchmaker and founder of Atelier Akrivia; and Jiaxian Su, an independent watch specialised journalist and founder of SJX Watches.
For this first edition, Raúl Pagès was awarded a graceful, spiral-shaped silver trophy inspired by the one found on a balance wheel, the essential component for precision in a timepiece. The trophy rises a metaphor for the ascension of independent watchmaking. It was engraved with the winning watchmaker’s name by a master engraver from La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton.
The trophy was presented in its Louis Vuitton trophy trunk in Monogram canvas specially handcrafted in the Maison’s historic atelier in Asnières. Perpetuating the tradition of Victory travelling in Louis Vuitton, a “V” was hand painted in black and white, a signature standing for “Victory travels in Louis Vuitton”.
As the original trophy will be on display at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, Raúl Pagès also received a replica silver trophy which was engraved live during the ceremony.
Moreover, he will receive a grant as well as one year mentorship by a dedicated team of experts (watchmakers, engineers, craftsmen) at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton tailored to the needs of their project.
This mentorship represents a unique and valuable opportunity for independent watchmakers to be mentored by experts and thus combine creativity and commercial success.