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For centuries, the concept of the wristwatch has evolved and adapted to fit the needs of the environment in which it existed. From the delicate wristlets of royalty to the rugged deep divers of 1960’s, watches are as much about expression as they are about function. In modern times, this sentiment has never been more true. Coming across as somewhat contrarian in the digital age, mechanical watches are an extension of personality. They possess the capacity to speak volumes about who we are and what type of person we wish to be. Without waxing too philosophically, wristwatches, for many, are a highly personal memento that bears the weight of sentiment and individualism. Despite the diversity found within the horological market, there are times when the desire for expression transcends the factory configuration. It is in these times where Artisans de Genève helps make dreams a reality.

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Artisans de Genève is a watch workshop located in Geneva, Switzerland. They have spent the past fifteen years making a name for themselves in the niche market of watch customization. This entirely independent operation functions solely as its own unique entity. There is no tie binding them to any individual watch manufacturer or producer. Artisans de Genève does not produce or sell watches. What they provide, is a highly skill-driven and collaborative service of taking a client’s vision, along with their watch, and translating it to a wearable work of art.

Effectively a group of craftsmen, Artisans de Genève is comprised of meticulous and detail-oriented artisans who are solely focused on achieving the desired result. From skeletonized Rolex Submariners to authentically tropicalized Daytonas, the team strives to push the limits of what has been done before in order to achieve their client’s dream. Focusing on haute horology, the team customizes timepieces from brands like Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Rolex. There are unlimited possibilities available to any client willing to conjure up and share an idea of what they imagine their ultimate timepiece to be. Customers provide vision and a timepiece, and through the shared passion and dedication of the team at Artisans de Genève, they find a way to make the abstract tangible.

The streamlined process of having a watch customized by Artisans de Genève is a time-tested trifecta consisting of the design phase, prototyping phase, and ultimately the creation/achievement of the personalization. The design process involves a thinktank where the client’s ideas are pragmatically discussed and translated in order to move forward in a direction that makes sense from an idealistic as well as practical standpoint. For example, if an era-appropriate bezel appearance is sought after, the artisans may consider the use of Bakelite, a now uncommon material frequently seen among timepieces of the 1970’s. This would also afford the opportunity to implement color, which is another specialization. A remarkable facet of the work performed at Artisans de Genève, is that the client does not need to have all the answers, or even a fully realized concept. The craftsmen and watchmakers can assist in realizing a personalization based off of inspiration as general as a geographic location or a bygone era.  Multiple interpretations are presented to the client prior to moving to phase two.

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It is worth noting that every component of the timepiece is fair game for customization. The bezel, pushers, crowns, movements, dials, subdials, hands…the list goes on. In the prototyping phase, the craftsmen will begin to physically build out and test practical aspects of the final result. This process can take several weeks, and serves as assurance that the personalization will match the expectations of the client. All of the work performed adheres strictly to industry standards and with a deep respect for the history and heritage of the respective watchmaking house.  One such example of prototyping was the effort put into authentically creating a tropical patina on the subdials of a Rolex Daytona reference 116520. This required extensive research on natural oxidation as well as sunlight exposure timeframes in order to achieve a consistent desired result. The client, in this case, was then given examples of two different patina shades based off the amount of time the subdials spent baking in the Bahamian sun. Needless to say, the prototyping phase is a synergistic process where experimentation and research reign supreme.

At this point in the journey, the end result is nigh. Once the design and ultimate aesthetic appearance are approved by the client, it is time to move forward with final modifications. Every adjustment is implemented with painstaking attention to detail. Quality control is consistent and unrelenting in order to ensure that the watch meets not only the standards of the client and industry, but the personal standards of each and every individual at Artisans de Genève. Once the timepiece is complete, it is presented to the client. Due to the nature of the service, the modifications to the timepiece will void the factory warranty. For this reason, Artisans de Genève includes a 5-year international warrant on all timepieces that come through their workshop.

As an extension of personality, watches are a physical reflection of how an individual sees themselves, as well as how they want to be seen by others. Workshops like Artisans de Genève simply provide a means to match the outward appearance of a watch with the intrinsic nature of the owner. Due to demand, projects are accepted on a capacity-related basis. Once a request is submitted, feasibility is assessed by the team and one of the Customer Service Officers will reach out as the Sherpa on the journey ahead. All business is communicated only online at the Artisans de Genève website.

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