Millennium Post

‘Watches are personal statements'

‘Watches are personal statements
Antoine Simonin has over 50 years experience in the watchmaking profession and has held leading positions in after-sales services as well as in the management of watchmaking schools. Since 1976, Simonin has been the Director of WOSTEP – (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program) in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He was in the Capital as a part of the jury of the Watch World Awards. We caught up with him for a quick interview.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you start from?

I started my career at 16 years age in the watchmaking school in Bienne- please find attached profile for further details

How did you come about to be interested in watches and watchmaking?

I like working with my fingers and mechanical items. I love miniaturization, cleaning and watchmaking has all this combination. The history of watchmaking is part of the general history of mankind.

What is your philosphy when you make a watch?
The only time I made 2 watches (by hand) was in the watchmaking school. This is the best and ultimate action to learn this wonderful profession. My professional life has been mostly repairing, restoring and teaching watchmaking (giving my experience and knowledge to watchmakers all over the world).

What’s your take on the utility of a watch and the luxury of one?
Today a watch is a product of emotion and “status”, we do not need anymore a watch as it was necessary in the 1900-1950 as you find the time everywhere (computer, railways clocks and handies etc.) It is a sign of the personality of the holders having either a Rolex or a Swatch!
Which are your favourite brands?
All the brands that are of high quality and not necessary in gold or platinum (precious metal)
What watch do you yourself wear?

I have several brands as Omega, Longines, Gerard-Perregaux and my first is a minute repeater(wrist) from around 1890 that has been restored and recased without any brand, signed A. Simonin.

Why should a person buy a watch that costs thousands rather than ones that costs hundreds - though ideally both serve the same purpose?
This is very personal. There are people that wish to have a timekeeper that is unique, various complication and again shows their personality or status.

What do you think is the Indian philosophy behind watches?
The Indian philosophy behind watches is first the brand. It must be reliable and be able to bring an after-sale service. Some like shiny things!

Which brands do you think work best in India?
I think it is Rolex, Omega, Rado and lately Hublot.

Tell us about your India experience. How has Delhi treated you? Tell us five things you like and dislike about Delhi?
Delhi is a nice city more specific New Delhi, very clean and I had a wonderful experience of visiting historical places. I have a deep respect of one of the world most human person: Mahatma Gandhi. Delhi is very different from Mumbai as you can feel that it is the Capital and has an historical and international touch. I cannot give negative points of Delhi as I have been during my stay with cultivated and wonderful people and this matter of fact is that I’m a positive person in general!
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