WHO IS BEHIND THE BRAND MANUFACTURE ROYALE
The French philosopher Voltaire was founder of Manufacture Royale in the year 1770, and his spirit is alive and well in the re-launch of the business centuries later.
By birth, François Marie Arouet, or Voltaire—he had his name officially changed—organized the cottage watch business under the name Manufacture Royale in the French village of Ferney, located in the foothills of the Jura Mountains near the Swiss border just outside Geneva. Votaire lived the final 20 years of his life on this sprawling estate.
Votaire attracted top watchmakers, mostly from Geneva, to his estate by providing them with whatever they needed—workshops, equipment, raw materials such as gold and silver, and even interest free loans. Like other artisans in other fields, Voltaire arranged the business so that the watchmakers competed with each other to produce the most efficient and interesting timepieces possible.
At its peak, Manufacture Royale had around 400 watchmakers producing about 4,000 timepieces a year, which may have been nearly 10-percent of that produced in Geneva. But the business was short lived and the watchmakers began returning to Geneva around 1776, for a variety of reasons. The final blow for the watchmaking enterprise came upon Voltaire’s death in 1778 in Paris.
There were several attempts to revive Manufacture Royale but to no avail until recently by Arnaud Faivre who resurrected the brand in 2010. As the owner of TEC Ebauche, Faivre was already producing high level components for luxury watch brands so it was no surprise to anyone that his first watches for Manufacture Royale were both tourbillons—one sporting a minute repeater.
Faive later sold the brand name to David and Alexis Gouten and agreed to share the TEC Ebauche factory with the pair so that they can produce the Manufacture Royale watches in-house. David and Alexis understand that the watches originally produced in Ferney bore the names Manufacture Royale de Ferney" or "Fabrique Royale de Ferney" or "Montres de Ferney."
But today, Manufacture Royale is best recognized for Opéra, the watch reminiscent of the Sydney, Australia opera house embellished with a fold out bellows to enhance the repeater’s sound. For the production of its commercial watch models, Manufacture Royale has at its disposal the entirety of the TEC Ebauche machinery available to it.
The current collections include Androgyne, an interesting name for a watch model that appears ultra masculine, 1770, after the original year of the company’s founding, and Micromegas, the science fiction novel by Voltaire of the same name.
GLEN B BOWEN, COPYRIGHT 2017
"Manufacture Royale is now live and proud to be on Watch Sprocket!
We have re-launched this sleeping 18th—century brand because of familial ties, passion, and dedication. While our history is young, our heritage is strong.
My cousin Alexis and I grew up in the watch industry. Inspired by our fathers’ and grandfather’s success stories, we became driven to create our own brand. It was clear to us that ours had to be different, robust, and focused on servicing the needs of our clients, partners, and friends.
In 2010, the revolution began with the launch of our first timepiece–the Opera–featuring a highly complicated movement and an equally complex articulating case. Our technical process continues as evidenced by the 1770 Micromegas double tourbillon–each rotating at different speeds or the more recent ADN.
To date, we have developed no less than ten in-house movements. For us, it is not about numbers; it is about creating something unique, bespoke, and tailored for true connoisseurs who will appreciate our ingenuity and, let’s be blunt, our pricing. As Alexis says, “Manufacture Royale is excellence without arrogance.”
As time passes, we will continue to ensure our independence. Our passion is freedom of expression so that watch lovers like you can discover our timepieces and cherish their conceptualization for years to come.
Thank you to all our ambassadors—clients and supporters who have already discovered Manufacture Royale. For all others, do dare to reach out to us—we hope to meet you soon and engage in some lively chats."
— David Gouten
MANUFACTURE ROYALE COLLECTION
OPERA // ANDROGYNE // ANDROGYNE ORIGNE & ROYALE // 1770 FLYING TOURBILLON // 1770 VOLTIGE // 1770 HAUTE VOLTIGE // 1770 MICROMEGAS // 1770 MICROMEGAS REVOLUTION
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