Have you heard of Rodolphe Cattin?

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Some months ago during the WPHH held by the Franck Muller Group, there was an world introduction to one of the most eye-catching watches in recent years (at least to my eyes) – Rodolphe Instinct Big Tourbillion. In fact, when asked by Alon previously, I named it as my “Dream Watch”. :-)

What really caught my eye to this watch was the spectacular size of the tourbillion, measuring 23mm in diameter alone. By far, this has been one of the more incredibly designed watches, including the Concord C-1 Tourbillon Gravity (which by the way, has a radically-designed protruding tourbillon cage).

According to an exclusive interview with TheTimeTV, the designer himself, Rodolphe spoke about this outstanding design that he developed with the Watchland (Franck Muller Group) watchmakers.

With more than 190 components, this aesthetic masterpiece is the culmination of efforts between the various passionate professionals from Geneva, Neuchatel and Jura, making it a truly Swiss-Made watch.

As for some of the specifications:

Function: Tourbillion, Hours, Minutes, Retrograde Date & Power Reserve (60 Hours)

Case & Dimensions: White Gold / 54mm X 56mm

Crystal: Sapphire

Water Resistance: 30 Metres

Bracelet: White, Black or Brown Alligator

Going back to some introduction about the man himself, the brand – Rodolphe Montres & Bijoux is named after the designer – Rodolphe Cattin, who, prior to working for Longines in the mid-eighties, was already forming his career through stints with Omega and Tissot among others.

Due to the slowing Italian market in the mid-eighties, Rodolphe was also presented with one of the biggest challenges early in his career – to come up with a design collection that can differentiate Longines as a leader compared to the rest of the competitors.

What happened then was also a revolutionary campaign at that time! Instead of following traditions, Rodolphe presented a collection series with a never-been-tried design – writing down the name of the designer (Rodolphe) on the dials. In the end, it was not only something totally different, but resulted in an extraordinary success with more than 50, 000 timepieces sold per collection (6 in total).

Riding on this success, Rodolphe started his own design office – Rodolphe & Co., which till today is designing watches for many renowned fashion and prestige brands and accounting form more than 7 million timepieces sold globally.

Up till 1996, there was still no existence of watches that carried his own name, but that soon changed with the incorporation of Rodolphe Montres & Bijoux SA, and it began an annual production of 1, 000 to 2, 000 pieces.

In between then and now, Rodolphe watches attracted the likes of artistes Nicole Richie, Trevor Wright, Brazilian footballers Ronaldinho, Cafu, and Roberto Carlos who became some of biggest fans of this brand.

At the same time, somewhere towards 2005, the “Rodolphe” brand began to attract the interest of many parties, notably the Franck Muller group, with whom Rodolphe formed a partnership with ultimately. In this partnership, Rodolphe has an access to some of the brightest minds in the industry, and also additional industrial and commercial synergies while remaining in charge of the design and management of the company.

What resulted became the “Watch Of The Year 2006” presented by a leading Swiss watch magazine – Montres Passion – the Instinct Chrono 180°. With these achievements to date, it is clear that Rodolphe Cattin is going to continue creating some revolutionary designs in the watchmaking world.

Special thanks to Ms. Maya Zysset from Rodolphe Montres et Bijoux for providing some of the history of Rodolphe Cattin.

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5 Responses to “Have you heard of Rodolphe Cattin?”

  1. Kyle S. Says:

    Rodolphe Cattin is indeed not a very well know brand and manufacturer of watches. Thanks for blogging about this. I would love to see the Instinct Tourbillon in person.

  2. alonbj Says:

    Thanks for the article. Interesting watch! 23mm… That’s big. What (base) movement did they use? Did you actually see a working movement?

  3. Miroslav Says:

    Just correction – date is not retrograde and power reserve is 7 days. Has double barrel. Watch is wind by pushing crown in instead turning it around. Crown would then come to be pushed again. Every 10th push will give another day of power and barrel in the middle on the right will jump another day.
    Hours and minutes are done as jumping functions with upright position compare to traditional horizontal. Tourbillon even looks as flying is traditional and bridge is hidden beneath “R”.

  4. Legendary watch desingers: Rodolphe « WatchFreaks Says:

    [...] Legendary watch desingers: Rodolphe By alonbj About a year ago Boon wrote an article about one of the mostly legendary watch designers alive: “Have you heard of Rodolphe Cattin?“ [...]

  5. Erez Rothem Says:

    Great stuff,
    Thanks for sharing.

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