10 episodes

These are The Watch Files, where we tell the stories of the events that changed the horology industry. Featuring Serge Maillard of Europa Star and Stephen Foskett of Grail Watch.

The Watch Files The Watch Files

    • Arts

These are The Watch Files, where we tell the stories of the events that changed the horology industry. Featuring Serge Maillard of Europa Star and Stephen Foskett of Grail Watch.

    i1 Innovations in Watch Component Colors with Positive Coating

    i1 Innovations in Watch Component Colors with Positive Coating

    As we discussed last time, Porsche Design's innovative use of materials and coatings set their watches apart in a crowded industry. In this special episode, Serge Maillard and Stephen Foskett discuss the future of watch movement and case materials with Lucien Steinmann of Positive Coating, the company driving an explosion of colorful PVD and ALD coatings. Watches like the rainbow-coated Zenith Defy 21 Felipe Pantone Edition leverage these techniques to startling effect, and this materials science will enable a world of color, from heritage to modern models.

    The Watch Files turns from history to the future in this special series, focused on the innovators who are driving the horology industry to the future. 

    Reference Materials:


    Positive Coating 
    IWC, Porsche Design, and Titanium Watches 
    Zenith Defy 21 Felipe Pantone Edition 

    • 44 min
    08 Porsche Design and the Titanium Watch

    08 Porsche Design and the Titanium Watch

    On April 25, 1981, attendees at the European Watch, Clock, and Jewellery Fair in Basel got their hands on something completely new. IWC introduced the Porsche Design Titan chronograph, the first titanium watch available for sale. The revolutionary material caught the watchmaking world off guard, and the Titan helped IWC and their partner Jaeger-LeCoultre survive the quartz crisis. This is the story of the watches created by legendary designer Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and the radical utilitarian watch designs he created with IWC. It's also a story of how materials and design can spark customer enthusiasm and sales.

    This episode is divided into three 15 minute segments: 


    Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and Porsche Design 
    IWC, Porsche Design, and Titanium 
    Materials as a Watch Design Element

    • 45 min
    07 Eugène Meylan Should Be Remembered For Glycine's Automatic Watch

    07 Eugène Meylan Should Be Remembered For Glycine's Automatic Watch

    On June 9, 1931, watchmaker Eugène Meylan registered a new company, Automatic EMSA, to exploit his latest innovation, a central-rotor automatic winding mechanism that could be paired with nearly any small round movement. This would catapult Glycine, the company Meylan founded as a young man, to prominence with the first mass-market automatic watch. But the story of Meylan's life is much more compelling and tragic, and reveals a great deal about the history of watchmaking in the first half of the 20th century. Today we are celebrating the accomplishments of Eugène Meylan and considering his life, which was tragically cut short in 1955.

    This episode is divided into three 15 minute segments:


    Promising young watchmaker Eugène Meylan founds La Glycine but is soon forced out
    Meylan's self-winding mechanism makes Glycine's Automatic the envy of the industry
    The tragic story of Meylan's life and untimely death

    More Information:


    Glycintennial.com
    Eugène Meylan, Glycine, and the Fight Over the First Automatic Watch
    Ranfft Pink Pages: Glycine Eugene Meylan

    • 44 min
    x1 Breitling's Montbrillant Watch Manufactory

    x1 Breitling's Montbrillant Watch Manufactory

    In this special "extra" episode of The Watch Files, Stephen Foskett tells the story of the Breitling Montbrillant Watch Manufactory in La Chaux-de-Fonds. If you're a Breitling fan, you're probably aware of the name, Montbrillant, which has been used on historic models and featured in advertising for a century. But you might be surprised to learn what the name really refers to, and the complicated history of the Montbrillant Watch Manufactory Breitling operated in La Chaux-de-Fonds for 85 years. This is the audio of a special Watch Files video, which can be seen on YouTube: "What Does “Montbrillant” Mean to Breitling?"

    Join Serge Maillard, Publisher & CEO of Europa Star, and Stephen Foskett, Publisher of Grail Watch, as we tell the stories of the events that changed the horology industry.

    More Information:


    What Does “Montbrillant” Mean to Breitling?, Grail Watch YouTube
    What Does “Montbrillant” Mean to Breitling?, Grail Watch Blog

    • 10 min
    06 The Forgotten History of Jaquet-Droz, An Experiment in Cooperation

    06 The Forgotten History of Jaquet-Droz, An Experiment in Cooperation

    On April 4, 1960, 70 independent Swiss watchmakers joined forces to form a remarkable new cooperative. Intent on standing their ground against the consolidation of watchmakers into corporations, the Coopérative de Fabricants Suisses d'Horlogerie would launch a shared watch brand three years later, using the name of famous watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz. The Coopérative grew rapidly, accounting for over 15% of Swiss watchmaking exports in 1968 and boasting a catalog of over 2,000 different models. Yet this unique experiment, and the famous brand they used, is entirely forgotten.

    Join Serge Maillard, Publisher & CEO of Europa Star, and Stephen Foskett, Publisher of Grail Watch, as we tell the stories of the events that changed the horology industry.

    More Information:


    The Forgotten History of Jaquet-Droz, Switzerland’s Shared Watch Brand, Grail Watch, 2021
    La Concentration Dans le Secteur Horloger, Europa Star 4, 1960
    Interview with Dr. Charles-Edouard Virchaux, President of the Cooperative of Swiss Watch Manufacturers, Europa Star Eastern Jeweler 85, 1964
    Scope of the Technical Control Center of the Swiss Manufacturers' Cooperative at Bienne, Europa Star Eastern Jeweler 89, 1965
    Jaquet-Droz Sales Centre Opens at Bienne, Europa Star Eastern Jeweler 91, 1965
    The Cooperative of Swiss Manufacturers Publishes Report for 1965, Europa Star Eastern Jeweler 94, 1966
    1966 a Prosperous Year for Jaquet-Droz, Europa Star Eastern Jeweler 100, 1967
    Jaquet-Droz Strike their Balance, Europa Star Eastern Jeweler 111, 1969
    Jaquet-Droz Six Years' Presence on Watch Markets, Europa Star Eastern Jeweler 133, 1973
    Jaquet-Droz: A Great Name Becomes a Great Brand, Europa Star 199, 1993

    • 45 min
    05 How the Bulova Accutron Disrupted the Swiss Watch Industry

    05 How the Bulova Accutron Disrupted the Swiss Watch Industry

    On October 25, 1960, American company Bulova introduced the most advanced watch ever made. The Accutron used a tuning fork oscillating 60 times faster than a normal watch thanks to electronic components and a battery. This space-age watch shifted the balance of watchmaking power to America, but it was the brainchild of a Swiss engineer who soon returned home. Max Hetzel's work disrupted the entire industry and kicked off the race to build a quartz watch.

    Join Serge Maillard, Publisher & CEO of Europa Star, and Stephen Foskett, Publisher of Grail Watch, as we tell the stories of the events that changed the horology industry.

    More Information:


    Bulova Accutron at Grail Watch Reference
    The Accutron Watch Page
    Engineering Time: Inventing the Electronic Wristwatch, Carlene Stephens and Maggie Dennis, British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 33

    • 55 min

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