As an established master watchmaker, David Candaux never ceases deepening his knowledge through the restoration of old watches and clocks. To understand an old horological masterpiece and repair it, one must know the context in which it was designed and understand the period in which it was produced. It is also necessary to master the tools, methods and materials used in its production. The geniuses of historic watchmaking masters from the past supply David insights and stimulation today that he weaves into his own contemporary creations. His respect for, and knowledge of, these watchmaking values time and tradition have secured, remain a continual source of inspiration in his daily work, and shape his vision for the future of mechanical watchmaking.
It was in 1740 that Samuel Oliver Meylan left La Vallée de Joux to apprentice under the guidance of a master watchmaker, Mathieu Blaudet, based in Rolle – at that time a center of watchmaking activity on the outskirts of Geneva. In 1743 he would return home to La Vallée de Joux, establishing himself as its first watchmaker. 1740 is therefore the landmark year in which the seed for establishing watchmaking was planted in the region’s consciousness through the dedication and patience of a solitary young visionary.
In a parallel to those first watchmakers who established themselves in the Vallée de Joux, David Candaux founded a home and atelier in an ancient farmhouse. The building was christened with the name La Grand Pièce in 1850. This was the former home of the Capt family, one of the great watchmaking dynasties of the Vallée du Joux.
Years after its initial founding in 1845 under the name Nicole and Capt, a new company, Capt & Co., was founded in 1875 in Le Solillat for fine watchmaking production. The director of this new company, Jules-Cesar Capt, was responsible for the production of such projects as the realization of La Merveilleuse, the most complicated pocketwatch of its day, which was only completed in 1878, several years after its production had begun.
Reflections of the Past through technologies of the Future
The 1740 encapsulates David Candaux’s talent, ideas and sensitivity. Representing a total of 3 patents and 8 design registrations, it takes its name from the year that Samuel Oliver Meylan left La Vallée de Joux to apprentice under the guidance of a master watchmaker. This timepiece’s identity is coupled with the maxim “The Heart and Spirit” which has become a personal invocation for David Candaux; he understands it as the key to creating freely and with passion. If a timepiece is indeed meant to convey pleasure, it must have the power to bring us emotion. In this vein, research, reflection and hard work are essential. In essence, if the heart and spirit work in harmony, they can trigger a unique emotion and a little bit of magic.
A feeling that leads to an idea, or a dream, an intuitive meditative moment or an action taken – many impulses can lead to the conceptualization of a new timepiece. This is a time of no physical limits; pencil and paper are the only dictates required. For me as a watchmaker at this stage, everything is possible and achievable, and I strive to contemplate possibilities.
The realization of ideas always requires a degree of courage and willpower to succeed, in order to facilitate the physical reality of a timepiece. The road to solutions may not be simple, and going in new directions can be challenging. Thus, it requires spirit and faith to transform ideas into tangible outcomes. Only when one succeeds in bringing together the heart and the mind this way, can it become possible to create a timepiece that releases emotions with a higher value, than the mere physical material at hand.
The Legacy Of The Valley Resonates In The Le Solliat Atelier
David Candaux was born and raised in the Vallée de Joux, a region renowned for its excellence in the traditional Swiss luxury and high-end watchmaking industry. Following the customs of the valley, he began his watchmaking studies under the tutelage of his father at a very early age.
When creating his own brand, David Candaux incorporated two symbols to form his logo: the bear and the beehive. The bear has long been a part of Le Solliat coat of arms. The beehive represents both solitary work as well as teamwork, all for a common goal, much like a watchmaker. This is represented by the single honeycomb hexagonal cell.
As the son and grandson of master watchmakers, David Candaux was raised totally immersed in the world of fine watchmaking. The valley woodlands, permeated with a natural environment of calm stillness, and surrounded by mountains, provided an ideal backdrop for a young man’s study of intricate mechanical wonders. Over 20 years later, following a brilliant career with several world-renowned watchmakers, he consolidated his expertise and knowhow to launch his vision of 21st century mechanical watchmaking.
The Vallée du Joux is not only known for the extreme high quality of the timepieces it produces, the valley has through centuries become synonymous with the word precision itself. It is through this respect for precision that the valley was able to become the birthplace of the world’s most complex timepieces, and the driving force behind major developments of chronograph, tourbillon and escapement designs, ultra-flat movements and more. To accomplish this, the Combiers, the people of this area, are naturally raised with respect for the significance of precision in everything they create. It goes without saying that this love of precision is also found as a central pillar of the Le Soillat Atelier where David Candaux creates his masterpieces.