Julien Coudray 1518 presents two Models: Manufactura 1528 and Competentia 1515

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Manufactura 1528
Manufactura 1528 from Julien Coudray 1518.

Le Locle, february 2013

By opting to bring together all the watchmaking trades under one roof, the Julien Coudray 1518 Manufacture is able to offer a new concept of Haute Horlogerie. Inspired by the Renaissance, when the clockmaker Julien Coudray invented the first portable watch, every watch - made either from gold or platinum - undergoes the complete design and manufacturing process in-house, starting with the components of its movement. This challenge calls for the mastery and experience of a team of experts, coordinated by Fabien Lamarche. Together they all put their passion for a challenge at the service of the firm, the better to share their passion with enthusiasts and collectors.

Founding a business takes a man and a vision. In creating the Julien Coudray 1518 Watchmaking Manufacture, Fabien Lamarche is no exception to the rule. Based on the twenty-five years he spent designing, developing and making watch prototypes for prestigious watchmaking brands, and working with one of the biggest independent watchmakers, this man forged his own philosophy: of surpassing himself. For him, a watch is a mechanical work of art, a piece made under the expert guidance of a team of passionate devotees, each of whom in their own field must try to push back the boundaries of the possible. A real driving force of the manufacture, this approach means that every watch is fully produced in-house, from the movement components to the dial and case. Julien Coudray 1518 watches are aesthetically pleasing and distinctive, reliable and precise, daring and enduring; thus they represent a move away from a world where sub-contracting, productivity and standardisation have often overtaken the original product.

The team alone is the essential factor for mastering manufacture: hence the necessity to bring in the best. Starting from 2007, and over the best part of the next 5 years, Fabien Lamarche would put together an expert, autonomous team: the forty watchmakers, genuine master craftsmen of time, now make every Julien Coudray 1518 watch, from design to assembly, as well as decoration. True to the philosophy of the firm, they also question the limits of their trades by setting themselves ever more ambitious goals, and take the time to achieve them, without ever giving up. This decision to rely on "teamwork" and this passion for a challenge are not driven simply by the quest for quality, but also by the Manufacture's desire to perpetuate its know-how, by encouraging internal transfer of this know-how from the outset. Keeping to this fundamental principle is made easier by the Manufacture's location in Le Locle, at the heart of the historic region of Swiss watchmaking, which undoubtedly packs in more micro-mechanics expertise than anywhere else in the world.

The choice of name is the assertion of a philosophy. By adopting the name "Julien Coudray 1518", the Manufacture deliberately alludes to the Renaissance, a time when ways of thinking, acting and creating were transformed. A new school of scientific thought was developing, while art was fuelled by investigation and curiosity: artists and scholars wanted both to understand nature and describe its riches. Francis 1st, a cultured monarch and Prince of the Renaissance, out of his concern to extend the influence of the Court, sponsored many artists, the most famous of whom was Leonardo da Vinci. To the same end, he invited to his Château at Blois the clockmaker Julien Coudray. In 1518, he transformed the clock into the form of a portable watch: at the behest of the King, he succeeded in inserting spring movements into the handles of two royal daggers. The portable watch was born.

Working at the service of passionate enthusiasts: like Julien Coudray, who worked for the most iconic enthusiast of the time, the Julien Coudray 1518 Watchmaking Manufacture set out to establish special ties with a circle of enthusiasts that share the same passion. A field of discoveries and innovations, watchmaking of the 21st Century is a world of adventure home to those who make the watches and those who wear them, and those constantly developing watchmaking techniques, not to mention those posing them new challenges. This distinctive concept of a manufacture calls for craftsmen who can listen, advise and create for the collectors and enthusiasts, putting themselves at their service. To this end, and insofar as everything is done in-house and therefore fully controlled, every Julien Coudray watch can be personalised, while still being entitled to rapid and high-quality After-Sales service.

There is nothing to rival precious metals for standing the test of time. Doubtless because watchmakers, more than anyone else, have a firm grasp of the passage of time and a love of precision, the Manufacture has chosen to work only with materials that will survive the centuries, and whose durability will maintain the precision of the watch. Whether for visible or invisible parts, solid gold and platinum, plus traditional grand feu enamelling, are the only materials adopted for making the movement, case and dial of watches, which therefore become inalterable. Similarly, there is no chemical coating or plating involved at any stage in the manufacturing process. True to this desire to leave an enduring mark, the Julien Coudray 1518 Manufacture makes and sets aside for every watch produced the spare parts that might prove necessary, even in the distant future.

Combining science and art, technology and aesthetics: this is the principle on which the Manufacture designs and makes every single watch. Here everything starts with the movement. Since it opted to manufacture each of the main components from a solid precious metal, the Manufacture designed and manufactured new tools and taken on the entire watchmaking process, starting with the design of the movement components worked to a microscopic level of precision. So in a Julien Coudray 1518 calibre, the arm wheel arches are no longer square: Fabien Lamarche redesigned them as a curve, an exclusive shape better suited to the qualities of endurance that they must exhibit. Similarly, the winding stem fastening system – the subject of one of the ten patents filed by the Julien Coudray 1518 Manufacture – was completely redesigned to prevent the risk of damaging the movement in the final steps of its production.

In the field of decoration, the patterns are inspired by the Renaissance style and the elaborate works of architecture and the decorative arts, with in-depth research a vital part of the manufacturing process. The enamel indexes of the Manufactura 1528 watch underwent a battery of tests – including the development of specific techniques – so that the eye beholds an immaculate surface, slightly domed and perfectly polished. Along the same lines, the plique-à-jour enamelled dial of the Competentia 1515 watch was the subject of a host of investigations, to produce a genuine stained-glass window offering a glimpse of the decorations on the movement components.


The first Julien Coudray 1518 models

Each model was produced in a strictly limited series; including some personalized unique pieces. It bore a name preceded by a date, the last two digits of which represented the number of pieces produced for each version: yellow gold, red gold, white gold and platinum. It was delivered in a leather case, accompanied by two documents, a "Background book" and a "Book of origin", plus a travel case and a cleaning cloth.


Manufactura 1528

This model aims to reinvent a classic: a "three-hands" manual winding watch indicating the hour, minute and seconds. These are supplemented by an uncommon function: a service indicator. In a discreet window at 12 o'clock, the enameled gold oil drop symbol will appear after four years in operation, when the watch must be serviced. The fully redesigned movement is equipped with an exclusive escapement – developed, made and set in-house – whose frequency (28,800 vibrations/hour) makes for high precision. Each of the main movement parts has been machined from solid gold (of three different grades: yellow gold, red gold and palladium white gold) and from solid Pt 950 platinum, a material never previously worked in this way in the field of watchmaking. These components were then decorated by hand, as were the bridges visible via the sapphire case-back, the finely hand-engraved pattern on which was inspired by the repertoire of the Renaissance decorative arts. The pattern on the dial is a modern interpretation of Renaissance church bell tower clocks. It was made from grand feu enamel, on a champlevé gold base with enamel backing, a technique requiring the enamel powder to be melted at over 800°C.


Technical Specifications: A limited series of 28 pieces per version, available in solid 18 carat gold, 2N yellow gold, 5N red gold, Pd 125 white gold or Pt 950 platinum.

Movement: Calibre JC 1528, diameter 13 ¼’’, made from solid 18 ct gold (2N yellow gold: 31 g; 5N red gold, Pd 125 white gold: 30 g) or solid Pt 950 platinum (41 g), with all components hand decorated, back hand-engraved with a decoration inspired by the Renaissance style Manual winding, power reserve of more than 55 hours, 34 jewels Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/h, 4 Hz Original escapement with gold balance

Case: Solid 18 ct gold or Pt 950 platinum, made from the same metal as the movement Dimensions: 39.00 mm / 9.85 mm Sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating, Sapphire case-back Water resistance: 50 m (5 Atm)

Dial: 13-part dial made from enamelled solid gold Traditional grand feu enamel

Strap: Alligator on both faces, hand-stitched and beaded 18 mm ardillon buckle made from solid 18 ct gold or Pt 950 platinum, with engraved pictogram

Functions: Hour, minute, seconds 4-year service indicator


Competentia 1515

This model, whose movement is made entirely from solid gold or platinum, is equipped with a power reserve indicator, a service indicator, a day/night indicator and a one-minute tourbillon. Despite the complication level, this calibre does not exceed 5 millimetres in height, to ensure that the watch remains comfortable to wear, though adorned with a dial comprising eleven enamel parts. This model also has a service indicator where an enamelled gold oil drop symbol appears after four years in operation, when the timepiece must be serviced. The decoration of the central disc of this dial employs the subtle technique of plique-à-jour enamelling, so as to show glimpses of all the refinements of the movement decoration. To achieve this effect, transparent enamel is delicately laid onto a gold structure, before being fired in a furnace at over 800°C. The peripheral indexes, a modern vision of 16th Century clocks, are made from enamel and gold.


Technical Specifications: A limited series of 15 pieces per version, available in solid 18 carat gold, 2N yellow gold, 5N red gold, Pd 125 white gold or Pt 950 platinum.

Movement: Calibre JC 1515, diameter 15’’, made from solid 18 ct gold (2N yellow gold: 37 g; 5N red gold, Pd 125 white gold: 35 g) or solid Pt 950 platinum (52 g), with all components hand-decorated, back hand-engraved with a decoration inspired by the "Jardin à la Française" style Manual winding, power reserve of more than 55 hours, with gold indicator 60 jewels Day/Night indicator on case-back side Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/h, 4 Hz One-minute tourbillon rotation Original escapement with gold balance

Dial: 11-part dial made from enameled solid gold Indexes made from “grand feu” enameled gold Dial base made from "plique-à-jour" enameled gold

Case: Solid 18 ct gold or Pt 950 platinum, made from the same metal as the movement Dimensions: 42.00 mm / 9.82 mm Sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating, Sapphire case-back Water resistance: 50 m (5 Atm)

Strap: Alligator on both faces, hand-stitched and beaded 18 mm ardillon buckle made from solid 18 ct gold or Pt 950 platinum, with engraved pictogram

Functions: Hour and minute Power reserve indicator Day/Night indicator on case-back side 4-year service indicator

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