A look inside one of the only watch manufactures in France, Pequignet.

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I can’t say I’ve ever visited a watch manufacture in France. And yet, many of the greatest watchmakers that ever lived, including the likes of Abraham-Louis Breguet, were not only of French origin but also had their ateliers or workshops in France.

Located on the French side of the Jura mountains just across the Swiss-French border and a few minutes drive from the Swiss watchmaking town of Le Locle, the municipality of Morteau is where Pequignet calls home. What’s particularly interesting is that Morteau flourished in the 18th century and was practically built around the emerging watch industry in France and of course, Switzerland.

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A brand that’s been around since the 1970s, Pequignet has only recently been on seasoned watch aficionados’ radars since the release of their in-house developed Calibre Royal movement. Indeed, with their manufacture in Morteau, Pequignet are able to carry out just about everything involved in the creation of a new timepiece and perhaps more importantly new movements, from research & development to 3D movement blueprints and assembly plans, and even prototyping and testing of proprietary movements.

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It is however important to note that Pequignet don’t actually manufacture any of the components in-house. Rather, they’ve taken the more practical road of working with expert suppliers, each catering to specific parts of the watches and movements. Already working with a large number of French subcontractors, Pequignet aims to rely less and less on Swiss parts manufacturers over the coming years.

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One thing that really stood out for me at Pequigent was the overall level of hygiene. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another watch manufacture this neat and clinical. The entire space was built with ergonomics in mind, allowing watchmakers to work under natural lighting with a positive workflow “chi”.

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Assembly and testing of both individual components as well as finished movements are all done within the walls of the Pequignet manufacture. Using state-of-the-art equipment, the brand is able to test things like the chronometric and kinetic performance of escapement and even mainsprings and barrels.

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Another aspect that left a mark on me was the after-sales service department, which is capable of repairing and replacing components on just about any watch that Pequignet has made since its foundation over 40 years ago. If they don’t have the parts in stock, they’ll have a supplier make them. Now that’s dedication to customer satisfaction! The turnaround time for services and repairs- including the in-house Calibre Royal equipped watches is quite swift, usually requiring less than a month to have the watch returned to its owner (provided that it’s a current model with spare parts on hand).

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I’d like to tell you more about the Calibre Royal, which holds 8 patents and is technically quite advanced for a base” movement, as well as some of the finished watches I saw, but there’s so much to say that I’ll leave that for another upcoming post.

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For now, you can find more information on http://en.pequignet.com