Manufacture Royale: A Ray of Light in Swiss Watchmaking.

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Sometimes we feel that we have seen it all, especially in Watchmaking. Well you are wrong. In Switzerland you can discover true marvels, small treasures in the serious business of Watchmaking. When it comes to Luxury watches, Manufacture Royale is like a ray of light providing bright, luxurious watches aligned with a strong heritage. Thank you very much Mr Voltaire!

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It was all about Voltaire and his free spirit

François-Marie Arouet, also known as Voltaire (his writer name), was a French writer, historian and famous philosopher of the 18th century. He believed in freedom of religion, freedom of speech and separation of church and state. Definitely not an easy position to maintain, especially in France. Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken advocate of civil liberties, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time.

The 18th century is marked by an extreme liberation of arts. This was due to the weakness of Royal power at that time. Painters, sculptors and even architects wave on a new flow of freedom, sometimes covered by the usage of classic codes revamped. Philosophers like Diderot or Voltaire, protectors of Arts, helped to establish the “free thinking” in Europe and a new way for Men to reconsider what surround them as well as their own existence. Welcome to a new era that was considered as one of the most progressivist decade of the classic period. It was also called the Era of Enlightenment.

While returning from a journey in Prussia, Voltaire got banned from Paris by king Louis XV himself. So instead of returning home, he decided to go to Geneva, which seemed to be an interesting idea at that time. He bought a large estate (Les Délices) in 1755 and after a few tensions with Genevan (who banned theatrical performances and publications), he decided to purchase a larger property at Ferney 3 years later. This is on the French side of the Swiss border. In the following year he published Candide ou l’Optimisme. One of my preferred books ever. In 1764 he published one of his masterpieces the “Dictionnaire Philosophique”. His life in Savoy inspired Voltaire for many things and one of the most outstanding one is the foundation of Manufacture Royale, a watchmaking brand and manufacturer.

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And Manufacture Royale was born

In 1770, philosopher Voltaire supports the establishment of watchmaking workshops in Ferney-Voltaire near Geneva and Manufacture Royale is established. It is then an important producer of timepieces and the famous Jean-Antoine Lépine, clockmaker to the king, is one of its watchmakers. Manufacture Royale also made objets d’art such as table watches. The Manufacture gently disappeared from the news but was revived recently in 2010. In its modern era, Manufacture Royale produces modern watches with great Haute Horlogerie complications, manufactured in-house. The first models were tourbillon watches and a minute repeater. It was followed by the Androgine, 1770 and voltige collections.

What remains from Voltaire foundations? Manufacture Royale has followed in his footsteps and has learned to cultivate Voltaire’s free spirit. Manufacture Royale opened a modern workshop in Vallorbe in the heart of the Swiss Jura, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking. Combining tradition with modernity, manufacture royale perpetrates traditional values of swiss watchmaking while integrating the latest industrial advancements. Always pushing the limits of innovation, the manufacture has in-house research & development, and production departments that creates high complicated mechanical movements.

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For David Gouten, co-founder of the rebirth of Manufacture Royale, the company’s mantra is Excellence without arrogance. The brand has 4 pillars from which all creation is born:

  • Heritage
  • Technic
  • Family business
  • Value for Money

According to Alexis Gouten, the other co-founder of the company, Manufacture Royale has a great partnership with a “sister company” called Tec Ebauches. Thanks to this partnership, Manufacture Royale has access to more than 25 industrial machines allowing all technical challenges become reality. It brings flexibility and agility in order to create distinctive products.

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Manufacture Royale dedicates its creations to a small an very exclusive audience, most of them true admirers of the brand. The Swiss manufacturer continues its legacy by providing bold, contemporary and technically accomplished watches.

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The current collections are:

  • Opera
  • Androgyne
  • Androgyne Origine & Royale
  • 1770 Flying Tourbillon
  • 1770 Voltige
  • 1770 Haute Voltige
  • 1770 Micromegas
  • 1770 Micromegas Revolution

What is different about a Manufacture Royale watch? Well first is the design. Manufacture Royale dedicates a lot of time in crafting all their watches look and construction. For example, the Opera watch has a distinctive case that becomes a resonance chamber for the Minute Repeater.

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But Manufacture Royale is not only about Design. It is also about Watchmaking complications that you can only find in their brand. For example they have a watch model called 1770 Micromegas with a double Tourbillon. One cage turning in 6 seconds and the other in 60 seconds. The system works in harmony thanks to a clever patented system of torques stabilizers.

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You can see more about Manufacture Royale by visiting the official website:
http://www.manufacture-royale.com

What can we say more? When Arts and technology meet at this level of execution, only greatness can be found. Manufacture Royale has a strong and bold style with the subtle elegance that makes a true high end watchmaking creation.

Feel free.

Arsène Wargas

Info sourced by the author for LuxuryActivist.com. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only. 

Arsene Wargas

Arsène is a young yet very passionate Parisian author. He is passionate about luxury watches and joined Luxury Activist team since 2015. While working in PR and marketing he loves to share his passion for luxury Swiss watch-making. He contributes in a regular base with articles around watch brands, history and new launches. Follow Arsène on his social networks.