Transmission of horological art know-how

Alchemists’ particular savoir-faire results from an exceptional adventure of sharing and transmitting a horological heritage.

“I appreciate this idea from an old buddhist saying: 'When the student is ready, the Master will appear' and positive things usually happen when you keep a positive mindset."

Hervé Schlüchter

Transmission, sharing a universal heritage

The adventure starts with two watchmakers, Hervé Schlüchter and Philippe Dufour, who, above a deeply rooted passion for a magical craft, are bound to each other through values they hold dear. Hard work and humility are the cornerstones of this particular bound from which results a unique know-how, forged along decades of experiences.

Those shared values convinced Philippe Dufour to take Hervé on as his apprentice when Hervé presented Alchemists’ concept. He now guides Hervé in the teaching and mastery of this savoir-faire.

Picture of Hervé Schlüchter working in Villa Jolimont's old workshop
Closeup view of Philippe Dufour examining the Cu29 timepiece
Picture of Philippe Dufour transmitting traditional watchmaking skills to Hervé Schlüchter

“Respect of People, Respect of Things and the Love of a work well done, these are the values transmitted to me by Philippe Dufour."

Hervé Schlüchter

A demanding apprenticeship

Pretend to realize timepieces according to traditional horological arts’ strictest traditions, dear to Philippe Dufour, requires hard work, a deep personal investment but also a great dose of humility and an ability to question oneself.

It entails the lucidity of knowing that no matter how many years of experience one has, one cannot be omniscient and therefore, there will always be something to learn. Those moments of sharing also quench the thirst for learning, deeply anchored in Philippe and Hervé.

“Any work worthy to be done, deserves to be well done.”

Philippe Dufour

This particular bound is an immense honor for Hervé and proves to be an invaluable gift for the Alchemists, who are humbly engaged into safeguarding these traditional gestures.

The importance of preserving a horological heritage

Alchemists chose to give a particular importance to human genius. A genius found through centuries of creations and the work of watchmakers who truly marked history. Alchemists gathers a small team of individuals, lifted by the same vocation: preservation of these traditional savoir-faire. This vocation materializes in their work environment, allowing the watchmakers to fully live their passion, gifting each component an authentic, artisanal added value.

The Alchemists are strongly guided by the goal of humbly contributing to the preservation of a horological heritage, belonging to Haute Horlogerie‘s history, as well as perpetuating its know-how and teachings through their timepieces. This will is deeply anchored in their vocation, provoking moments of invaluable human interactions but also representing a real challenge for the watchmakers.

“The more time you invest in the finishing of a part, the more your self-confidence is tested. The slightest mistake can cost several days of work."

Louis-Bernard Farine, Alchemists Watchmaker

The transmission of know-how to future generations

Honored by this particular bound with Philippe Dufour, Hervé Schlüchter is also invested by a new responsibility: continue this chain of transmissions of know-how. Philippe with Hervé. Hervé with the younger generations. It is now his turn to transmit this traditional savoir-faire to the next generation of watchmakers, and it begins in Alchemists’ workshop.

The Alchemists’ watchmakers are humbly working every day for the preservation of this heritage. The skill level and passion required from each watchmakers of the Alchemists are particularly high. Only a small few of craftsmen in Switzerland are still able to hand finish and assemble each of his creations by him- or herself.

Each movement is assembled twice, nothing is left to chance.

There is no decoration workshop nor watchmakers dedicated solely to timing at Alchemists: each watchmaker receives all the “blank” components constituting the timepiece on his workbench. He assembles the movement a first time to verify than everything functions perfectly as it should, allowing him to perform the mechanical preparation by hand, following traditional methods – the pivots are traditionally rolled on a lathe roller and the polishing of the pinions’ leaves is made with wooden wheels mounted on a specific machine, among other techniques. Then, the movement is entirely disassembled. Each individual component is then very meticulously hand-finished and hand-decorated before the movement is ready to be assembled again, and fine-tuned for the final control. In the end, each movement is assembled twice, nothing is left to chance.

Each creation of the Alchemists will be the child of a single individual watchmaker, from its assembly and adjusting to its most detailed hand finishing.

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