The Simplicity is the flagship timepiece of independent watchmaker Philippe Dufour. The watch is based on the traditional movement architecture and artistic expressions of the Vallée de Joux from 1850 to 1920, considered by many to be the golden age of traditional Swiss watchmaking. This watch features an extremely rare combination of a white gold case with rose gold hands and indices, an unusual configuration which only makes this example all the more desirable.
Philippe Dufour was born in 1948 in Le Sentier, in the Vallée de Joux, to a mother and father who were both watchmakers. At the age of fifteen, he attended the Ecole d’Horlogerie in Le Sentier, where he excelled in his studies. Upon graduation, in 1967, he joined Jaeger-LeCoultre, spending time in their after-sales department. Whilst there, he worked closely with Gabriel Locatelli, who became a mentor for the young watchmaker, educating him on “all the things you don’t learn at watchmaking school,” Dufour recalls.
In the following years, he worked for a number of different manufacturers, including Audemars Piguet, before focusing on restoring antique and vintage watches, on behalf of collectors and auction houses. In doing so, he became enamoured with the pieces which were created in the Vallée de Joux between 1800 and 1920, before any sort of industrialisation was introduced. He realised that the ébauches created here had been used throughout Switzerland, Germany, and even Britain, making this the epicentre of traditional watchmaking.
Born in the Vallée de Joux himself, Dufour was determined to bring back this long-lost style of watchmaking. As he puts it, “I never invented anything, I just took inspiration from what was done before me.” He has only produced three series models in his time as an independent watchmaker - the Grande et Petite Sonnerie, the Duality and the Simplicity.