'I first learned about the founding of the AHCI from a small article in a horological newsletter published in 1985 by the German watch journalist Christian Pfeiffer Belli,' recalls Lederer.
'The idea behind the Academy was to support arranging exhibitions for independent makers in order to reduce costs and provide a platform - so I wrote to Vincent Calabrese and Svend Andersen, enclosing a few photographs of my work. Two weeks later I received a reply, and I was in as one of the first five members.'
The initial AHCI exhibition took place at the Museum of Le Locle, but, by 1987, the Academy had secured a spot at the considerably more global Basel watch fair.
'There were eight of us and we had a very basic installation on the third floor, tucked away right at the end of the building - demonstrating the fact that the organisers of the fair had very little interest in us independents! But we made a bit of a fuss and eventually a few panels were placed around the building to tell people where we were, and gradually the visitors came.'
That first appearance at Basel certainly put the AHCI on the map, but another event took place in the same year that had an even greater effect on the Academie's profile - the arrival of George Daniels as a member of the group. Already a leader of the crusade to re-assert the relevance of mechanical watchmaking, Daniels was also a hugely respected figure among the small but important community of high-end, international collectors.
'We created a special exhibition dedicated to George's work at the next Basel fair and his presence was very significant in furthering the AHCI's reputation and making it better known,' says Lederer.
'Gradually, we watchmakers went from being regarded as dusty old relics of little importance to being the people who could give mechanical watchmaking a future.'
No one believed in that more than Calabrese himself. Born in Naples in 1944, he had moved to Switzerland at the age of 17 and found work with various watch companies that enabled him to build on an almost intrinsic understanding of horology that, in 1977, led him to create his celebrated baguette movement.
Not only did it fly in the face of the quartz invasion, it completely re-wrote the rule book in terms of what a mechanical movement had to look like - causing a level of interest that pointed towards the potential of a clockwork revival. Numerous brands were keen to adopt it, but Calabrese selected Corum, which developed it into the now famous 'Golden Bridge' with which it has become synonymous.