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Manufacture Royale Wants You To Think For Yourself. Are You Ready?

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Kanye West, Banksy… Voltaire? It might sound crazy but these three probably have a lot more in common than you think. As radical free thinkers who openly challenge accepted norms, each, in their own way, has had a huge influence on shaping our modern-day society. Plus, they have all successfully crossed over into different fields.

For example, did you know that in addition to being a French Enlightenment writer and philosopher, who advocated freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state, Voltaire was also a gifted entrepreneur who, among other things, founded a successful watchmaking workshop near Geneva in the late 18th century? I’m guessing not.

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Manufacture Royale des Montres de Ferney’ was established in 1770 and its timepieces quickly earned a reputation for incorporating the most challenging complications, including striking mechanisms such as repeaters. Four thousand watches, all made by acclaimed master watchmakers, came out of the Manufacture’s workshop, destined for the kings and queens and elite of Europe. The watches were easily recognisable thanks to their bold designs and gold cases, embellished with elaborate engravings or set with gems.

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Imbued with Voltaire’s spirit of creative freedom, the Manufacture Royale brand was revived in 2010 with the stated mission of demonstrating a new approach to the art of horology. Translated into layman’s terms, this effectively means the brand refuses to march to the beat of someone else’s drum, instead creating complicated watches on its own terms, with its own sense of flair. Much like Voltaire’s watchmakers did 250 years earlier.

Under the watchful eyes of family members David Gouten and Alexis Gouten, each a well-known and well-respected veteran of the luxury watch industry in his own right, the Manufacture Royale name has quickly become synonymous with innovation and quality.

It’s a family affair with (L-R) David Gouten & Alexis Gouten.
It’s a family affair with (L-R) David Gouten & Alexis Gouten.

At the same time, the brand, and its timepieces, stay true to the remarkable nonconformist personalities of this tight-knit family, who have spent decades honing their craft. Working closely together, each member contributes their expertise to imagine timepieces infused with a new spirit, inspired by the values and ideas of Voltaire.

Operating from state-of-the-art facilities in Vallorbe, in the heart of the Swiss Jura, Manufacture Royale’s timepieces offer a unique blend of traditional ideals combined with the latest technological advancements. All its movements are developed and made in house by master watchmakers, with a dedicated in-house research & development department allowing the company to explore its own, original interpretation of high-end watchmaking.

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As a result, Manufacture Royale has once again become known for its complicated and daring timepieces that eschew the traditional notions of watch design and aesthetics. Distinctive on or off the wrist, these timepieces are for those who are supremely confident in who they are and the place they occupy in the world.

If you want to play it safe, get a Rolex. If, however, you want to stand out from the crowd and make an enlightened statement, then Manufacture Royale just might be the brand for you.

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Header image via GrooveVolt, last image via timezone.com