Welcome back to an original aBlogtoWatch feature, "My First Grail Watch." In this series, we ask prominent people in the watch industry about the first timepiece that they lusted after. Today, we're speaking with a gentleman who graduated from the Geneva Watchmaking School just as the quartz crisis was hitting it's stride. These days, you'll find Jean-Marc Wiederrecht as a driving force behind his company, Agenhor.
aBlogtoWatch (ABTW): Who are you, and what is your relationship to the watch industry?
Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (JW):I am a watchmaker graduate from the Geneva Watchmaking School in 1972. In 1996 I founded with my wife a watch movements company called AGENHOR. AGENHOR is a small factory working as a supplier for many very renowned watch brands. To have a better idea of AGENHOR’s activities please have a look here.
ABTW: When did your fascination with watches start?
JW: Rather late in my life! In 1967 I had the chance to visit a watch workshop that fascinated me completely and from this day watchmaking started to be a real passion.
ABTW: What was your first grail watch?
JW: The “Leroy 01” made for the Universal Exhibition that took place in Paris in 1900.
ABTW: Given the vintage of the watch, how did you learn about it
JW: After my visit to the watch workshop I bought many watch books; one was about "complicated and ultra-complicated watches." When I saw and read about the “Leroy 01” watch I dreamed to have it on my workbench to disassemble it and look inside.
ABTW: What drew you to this particular watch?
JW: The complexity and beauty in all details of this watch. So many hands giving 25 time indications! It was, and it is still unbelievable what the watchmakers of the early 1900’s were able to do with so few machines and of course no computers!
ABTW: Was there ever a time in your life when you could afford it- and if so, did you get it?
JW: This watch was not to sell and, of course, also unaffordable for me.
ABTW: Given that the rarity of this piece would make it hard to obtain, have you moved on to something else?
JW: Some watches are enthralling and could interest me if they would be less expensive! The real grail watch would be a watch that could give me all the time necessary to live and create more! A watch like the Hermès “Le Temps Suspendu” that could really suspend the time would be my perfect Grail Watch for which I could give all what I have and more!
ABTW: Suffice to say, you've never actually obtained this grail. Was there ever a time where it was "the one that got away"?
JW: I always knew that it would never be possible for me to get it. This watch belongs today to the Leroy private collection and may be admired easier than if I would have it!