Joël A. Grandjean

Joël Grandjean, an insider at Baselworld 2014

Back from the biggest international watch exhibition, Joël A. Grandjean - horology passionate, editor in chief of, Heure Suisse, Heure Schweiz and JSH (Journal Suisse d’Horlogerie) - answers our short interview. He tell us about models, personalities, brands, and so on.

Your most unfortunate late arrival…
I wasn’t really late but rather I completely missed the face-to-face interview with Efraim Grinberg, CEO of MGI Luxury Group due to a typing error. I had been looking forward to hearing him talk about his family history and his grandfather, the first Piaget supplier in the US. He was the one who bought out the Swiss brands Concord and Movado before creating a watchmaking group who owns Ebel today, too. I am still kicking myself for that.

Your most remarkable meeting
It was with Datuk Jeffrey Sandragesan, Switzerland’s ambassador for Malaysian Tourism and manager of one of the best Thai restaurants in Basel, near the Messeplatz.

TFun Automatic WFN3-PB0104 T-Fun Automatic WFN3-PB0104

He even promotes brands by wearing two watches, one on each wrist. He changes them according to the reservations made at his restaurant, as a light-hearted wink to his clients – most of which are CEO’s of watch companies. It was Yves Vulcan from Darwel who introduced me to Sandragesan. At that moment, he was wearing a Patek Philippe and a Louis Moinet. Then, he changed them as other watch company CEOs were coming for the second seating.

Your best encounter
Marie*, one of the hostesses at the press service. She is a true sunshine bursting with lightness, freshness, simplicity and elegance. She is the kind of person who gets a smile out of you whenever you come across her. So I made sure I came across her as much as possible.
{*} Common acquaintance of the editorial staff

Your best surprise
Seeing that my not-at-all famous T-Fun mechanical watch by TF Est.1968 could still generate so much interest and questions. This made me rediscover my Roller Clock Work by the same brand, which was a writing instrument bedecked with watchmaking gear and in sync with my journalism work.

TF Est 1968 Clockwork rose gold TF Est. 1968 Clockwork rose gold

Something that struck you about the organization
The lack of lockers in the pressroom. You know, those famous boxes where journalists can leave their documentation, files or even their laptops or coats during the day.

Finally, thanks to my “best encounter”, I got one with the number 101 just like the famous caliber.

Your shortest night
It was on Sunday. I was honored to be on the guest list for Breitling’s party, which is certainly the most famous one at BaselWorld. I actually considered not going back to Geneva for at least one night during the busy week– as has been my habit for the past twenty years. But then, on a whim, I gave up on the party to make the Basel-Geneva round trip because I wanted to be able to take my two daughters to school the next morning. I missed them and the added 500 km travelled for a half-hour of their company was definitely worth it.

Horlogerie Froidevaux Delémont Horlogerie Froidevaux Delémont

Your longest day
Every single one of them. As a humble freelance, I can never sleep soundly. Indeed, when I am a week away from the office, I need to follow up on current business and that adds to already busy days.

Your favourite watch
A “new old stock” Sandoz Réveil I found at Froidevaux, an over 70-years-old watch shop in Delémont. I decided to take a break, and go on a jaunt to the Jura. Whilst hunting for antiques, I dug up and bought this timepiece housing the same clock caliber as the famous Cricket by Vulcain. And to think that Sandoz had a stand at BaselWorld!

Concerning new watches, as a musician and producer, I would have happily bought the guitar-shaped Son of Sound by ArtyA .

The contact you most look forward to following up on and to getting to know better
Apart from my “best encounter”, it would be Roderich Hess, who knows a lot about watchmaking; Jean-Daniel Dubois, CEO of the inspiring Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier and Julien Fleury, from Montres du Manège.

The sentence or words that got to you?
“Are you staying the whole week?” This kind of hackneyed question makes me want to answer: “Well, yes, as Baselworld lasts one week!”

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

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