“ Authenticity comes essentially from the education received in childhood. If the bases have been the respect of nature, time and seasons, then, once an adult, one becomes a natural person seeking for a simple life. I grew up and built myself with these values. The bread was finished before starting the new one. We cooked from day to day, and when vegetables were served at noon, we made soup for the evening. I had joy in going to pick blackberries, rosehips and mushrooms, and I even lived in the cycle of the herd: the horse, the calf and the pig, enjoying each moment and sharing it with the others. What is essential is this culinary culture, the right weighing of what builds you and health in relation to other material riches as well as human relationships. My friends are people to whom I can come unexpectedly and it is the same with me. The table is always open, the cellar has always a good bottle with a piece of hanging sausage. That is authenticity. In my village, I like to organize the parties and create animations to meet and spend these beautiful moments together. And when I sell a watch, often, customers tell me that they also buy the character I am. They buy my accent, my story, the wooden furniture of my company and the people around me who apply themselves daily to give the best of our region, without ostentatious signs nor of the bluster.
I have the opportunity to live in a rural environment. One day, a wealthy Hong Kong visitor came here and was moved by the passing of a herd of cows. He exclaimed: “Promise me to live again this moment because I will come back with my young son next time !” That is luxury! A moment, an emotion or a landscape ; living something that cannot be bought. And it is the spirit of Rudis Sylva’s clientele. One is not in luxury that shines, but an authentic luxury. It is a wealthy clientele, but when they has already got everything with their money, they turn to products that have and extra soul, and together we go to see who makes it. That’s why Rudis Sylva is more than a watch brand; it is a vehicle promoting the talents of the people of the region. We are going to re-explain what a three-centuries-old hand guillotine work was, and each piece will have its own identity and characteristics, because the artist leaves his mark on each of them, making it authentic. That is why it is difficult to sell this product by opening boutiques all over the world. You have to live the spirit of the village, come to the place itself to feel this energy and then leave with a piece of the Swiss Franches-Montagnes in your pocket.
When I thought about the marketing concept of Rudis Sylva, I could have chosen the name of a famous watchmaker because there were more than 600 in the village. But I simply took the name of the village, and I brought out all the horological stories of that time. It was extremely rich and as I did not want to keep these stories for Rudis Sylva alone. That’s why I bought a small building that was an old farm of a watchmaker artisan, and I made it a small hotel restaurant. And in the basement, I set up a small museum that explains the genesis of watchmaking in our region. Then we went on a tour of two villages: Les Bois, which was rather specialized on the movement, and Noirmont who was specialized in watch boxes. That’s what I sell too. A watchmaking tradition that is perpetuated in time and in a timeless watch.
Today, to have the time, there is almost no need for a watch. It is displayed on our mobile phone, on our computer and in the car. But a watch, for a woman and even more for a man, is one of the few jewels that can be worn on oneself. Switzerland is not master of the jewelry watches that shine, it is the lot of the Italians. But it has an ancestral watchmaking tradition, bearing technologies, mechanical talents and craftsmen in decoration and engraving. And it is this symbolic value that makes a luxury watch today. It is to feel the standard bearer of the history of a region and to know by whom and how it was realized. Because when a beautiful watch is worn, it let itself be watched. You listen to it. It accompanies you in every single moment. It is therefore a deep relationship that is created between us.
I think we should appreciate the passing time. We’re going too fast. Accuracy, delicacy and excellence are also gained by taking time. For example, by engraving by machine, one goes down straight into the letter with the tool, that is to say that one simply makes a throat. Now, the job of engraver is to give an angulation. It is meticulous and all in finesse. Then, when the piece is oriented to the light, it has much more brilliance and the result is truly unique! My watch is also a great relationship of friendship, because all those who work for us today were acquaintances before founding Rudis Sylva. Our movement has been recognized as a very strong invention in the watchmaking industry. It was even mentioned in April 2017 as the reference of the whirlwind in a magazine released at the Basel Fair. But my greatest pride would be that it now exceeds the circle of connoisseurs to be diffused by the specialized media, and that all this know-how is finally recognized. My watch is like a heart. The exhaust is a spring that opens and closes. And there are two hearts thus beating in unison! You just have to think about this to get back the motivation, the very one that builds top-level athletes.”
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on September 20, 2017, at La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland)