Swiss watches with strokes of bespoke brilliance

Andersen Genève specialises in hand-engraving and miniature paintings

Vita Vinum depicting 12 steps of the winemaking process
Vita Vinum depicting 12 steps of the winemaking process

Swiss brand Andersen Genève was founded in the 1970s on the back of a single bespoke order. Svend Andersen had been a watchmaker at Patek Philippe for nearly a decade when a German collector approached him to create a bespoke timepiece. Since then, his atelier has undertaken some 100 unique commissions for clients drawn to the house’s expertise in decorative finishes. 

Montre à Tact Arc de Triomphe in white gold
Montre à Tact Arc de Triomphe in white gold
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Bespoke orders (from $50,000) tend to be based around Andersen Genève’s underlying collections, such as the recent Vita Vinum watches depicting 12 winemaking scenes – from harvesting and crushing to pressing and fermentation. Oenophiles can further customise the caseback with, say, images of their favourite vineyard in Bordeaux or Napa

Tempus Terrae with 24 time zones
Tempus Terrae with 24 time zones
Montre à Tact Poker inspired by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s 1909 painting A Bold Bluff
Montre à Tact Poker inspired by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s 1909 painting A Bold Bluff

The Montre à Tact line, meanwhile, is essentially a blank horological canvas, its large dial set with a small window displaying the time that sits between the lugs. The dial can be set with an unusual stone – aventurine and jade are popular choices – or hand-engraved or painted with any image or text. For one client, a scene of dogs playing poker was meticulously and characterfully depicted, the time humorously shown via chips and playing cards. The minute details included a tiny letter A etched on a cigar. 

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“If you miniaturise everything, the design will look a mess,” says Andersen Genève CEO Pierre-Alexandre Aeschlimann. “Our artists know what to take out and what to keep, but you have to let them take their time.” This can be anywhere between six months and a year, depending on the complication of both the decoration and movement. The intricate Worldtime watches, for example, take longest, and include a bespoke version of the 24-time-zone Tempus Terrae that replaced the US cities with Canadian ones and made the movement visible through a glass caseback.

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