Editor’s Letter: The Timepieces Issue, August 2023

philippe dufour

In this issue, we present the year’s most outstanding timepieces and profile the people who make the business of watchmaking tick

Philippe Dufour doesn’t know this, but I owe him a debt of gratitude. Dufour, who is now in his 70s, is a highly respected independent watchmaker, famed for his deceptively monikered Simplicity series of highly limited and exquisitely handcrafted watches. Some 20 years ago, during a visit to his tiny workshop in a sleepy Swiss town, Dufour flicked the switch for me on what it means to love and appreciate watches.

It was a serendipitous encounter, setting me on course for years of financial sustenance writing about the world of luxury and, to a large extent, watches.I was a rookie then: into my first year as a hack for a watch magazine, and feeling like a fraud as I grappled with the whys and hows of luxury watchmaking. Like most people, I understood the draw of expensive watches as status symbols. But to be truly obsessed? Like how some would spend fortunes and years pursuing a watch? I simply didn’t get it.

august 2023
The Timepieces Issue

But in Dufour’s quaint and messy workshop, speaking with him about the joys and struggles of his profession, and him showing off his painstakingly handcrafted watches, I began to understand why people can get so crazy about watches. Like art, watches may be bought frivolously and flaunted superficially. However, also like art, the appreciation of watches demands patience, discipline, sacrifice, and passion from creators and collectors alike—and this is where the value of horology lies.

Despite how things appear, having the means to acquire beautiful and exquisite watches—or indeed, any luxury accoutrement—isn’t the absolute barometer of one’s tastes. What really matters, as Dufour, his peers, and the many collectors whom I’ve met over the years have shown, is the manner in which one values a watch, and connects emotionally with it.In this issue, we present the year’s most outstanding timepieces. We also profile the watchmaking houses that matter, and speak to the people who, pardon the pun, make the business of watchmaking tick.We hope that somewhere in these pages, you will find a watch that you will like. Or better yet, appreciate it with newfound enthusiasm.Enjoy the issue.

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