The shortlist of five finalists has just been announced for the first ever Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives, an award that seeks to recognise and reward notable independent watchmakers.
Selected from the 20 semi-finalists by the award’s committee of experts, a line-up of over 40 notables that included Benjamin Clymer of Hodinkee, author Nick Foulkes, Kari Voutilainen, and collector Mike Shanlikian, the five finalist watches and their makers will be judged by a jury of five who will ultimately decide the winner at a meeting on February 6, 2024.
The five finalists are:
- Tischkalender Sympathique – Andreas Strehler
- RP1 – Régulateur à détente – Raúl Pagès
- L’Abeille Mécanique – John-Mikaël Flaux
- Reference 2941 – Petermann Bédat
- Chronometre Artisans – Simon Brette
And the winner will be selected from these five by the jury of Carole Forstier Kasapi, head of movement development at TAG Heuer; collector and author Auro Montanari; retailer Michael Tay of The Hour Glass; watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi; and our founder Jiaxian Su. These five members were voted into their role by the committee of experts for this role.
The eventual winner will receive a year-long mentorship at La Fabrique du Temps in order to further develop his creations, as well as a prize of €150,000.
More about the finalists
All five of these pieces are deserving of recognition and only go to highlight the vibrant market for independent creations we currently have. One of the most complex offerings amongst the finalists is Andreas Strehler’s Tischkalender Sympathique, an evolution of the Breguet’s Sympathique. Although now almost 25 years old, Mr Strehler’s clock remains one of his most impressive creations and an achievement few have rivalled.
The clock features perpetual calendar with the day in the lefthand dial, while the date, month and year are down in the middle dial, and to the right is a removable pocket watch. The clock winds and sets the pocket watch, like a historical Sympathique, but once the watch is removed the calendar stops but maintains a mechanical memory of how long the pocket watch has been removed. Once the watch is returned to the clock, its calendar automatically corrects itself, and the watch can only be removed once again after the clock has finished the setting process.
Also a desktop object like the clock, the highly singular L’Abeille Mécanique by John-Mikaël Flaux is more mechanical sculpture than practical timekeeper. It’s has the clockwork inside the body of a rotating bee with a stinger that indicates the time – a fantastic display of traditional skills paired with creativity and imagination.
The more conventional entries include the Reference 2941 from Petermann Bédat with its exceptional finishing and dial-side rattrapante mechanism, along with the Raul Pagès RP1 that brings a brilliantly executed detent escapement to the fore, along with its unusual regulator display.
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