Whether a novice or an expert in horology, anyone participating in the Watch Academy by CIMIER will find that it is truly an experience that enriches the watchmaking mind. There is nothing more satisfactory than assembling each delicate part to form a sophisticated timepiece that exemplifies the high-quality watchmaking which the brand is renowned for.
CIMIER was the first Swiss brand to offer such an experience, with the establishment of its Watch Academy in 2010. Initially conceived as a way to thank clients for their patronage, the one-off experience received such enthusiastic response that it led to the opening of the Watch Academy to the public. Undoubtedly, what made it so well-received was its fresh concept of allowing participants the chance to step into the shoes of a watchmaker for a day – granting them an exclusive peek behind the proverbial veil, so to speak. Its ability to allow participants to convey their emotions through a truly unique timepiece that will stay with them for the rest of their lives is what makes the Watch Academy experience unique and invaluable.
Since its inception, the Watch Academy has given watch enthusiasts the opportunity to customise and assemble their very own CIMIER timepiece. With the assistance of master watchmakers, of course, whose decades of experience translates into an informative and engaging imparting of the art and tradition of Swiss mechanical watchmaking.
“What participants can expect coming out of the workshop is a memorable and fun experience, having a better sense of what Swiss watchmaking is all about, and building a watch that is uniquely theirs. These are the three aspects that are most important to us every time we welcome new participants,” says Alexandra Lanz, CEO of CIMIER, regarding the academy.
Participants need not worry about having prior knowledge and technical competency, Lanz assures, as all of the classes – which combine theoretical and practical lessons – have been designed with the sole purpose of preserving watchmaking and promoting it to a new generation of watch enthusiasts.
There are three types of programmes available. First is the Full-Day programme that includes personalised watch component selection, and complete movement and watch assembly. Next is the Half-Day programme that entails personalised watch component selection and complete watch assembly, with the movement pre-assembled. Last but not least is the Introduction course that involves theoretical introduction to watchmaking and practice on watch components.
Participants may select from three watch options to assemble: BigMatic, Royal Skeleton and Petite Seconde.
BigMatic boasts a powerful design that features an exclusive automatic version of the iconic Unitas 6497-1, with an automatic mechanism developed by CIMIER. Royal Skeleton, meanwhile, is a spectacular skeleton watch that reveals the architectural dimension of its movement in full transparency – it is powered by an exclusive, openworked version of the hand-wound Unitas 6497-1 movement, with blued screws, specially decorated CIMIER. As for the Petite Seconde, it presents as a classic with a twist with its off-set crown and is powered by the hand-wound Unitas 6497-1 movement, with blued screws, specially decorated CIMIER.
Following the success of the Watch Academy held last year in partnership with Juwelier Leicht at Germany’s Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg, where participants assembled their own Royal Skeleton watches, CIMIER decided to have four workshops at 5-star hotels planned throughout 2022.
CIMIER is a brand born of founder Joseph Lapanouse’s wish to offer the public flawlessly crafted timepieces at affordable prices. It was in 1924 that he founded his company LAPANOUSE SA in Hölstein near Basel, Switzerland, and began selling his watches under the brand name CIMIER. His inexpensive pin-pallet escapement watches, which he based on Georges Frédéric Roskopf’s original design, grew to become Switzerland’s most exported movement, selling nearly 35 million during the 1970s. However, despite its success, the Lapanouse family decided to cease CIMIER’s watch production in 1985.
The year 2003 marked a new chapter for CIMIER as it resumed operations in the new millennium, catering to a new generation of watch enthusiasts. In 2006, CIMIER was acquired by Malaysian entrepreneur Vijay Eswaran’s Hong Kong headquartered conglomerate, QI Group. In 2011, a year after the Watch Academy was established, Montres CIMIER developed its first automatic module, the Big Matic 16½. It was also through the Watch Academy that CIMIER, in 2020, launched the striking Royal Skeleton model.
As CIMIER gears up to celebrate its 100th anniversary in two years, watch aficionados can expect a new collection to mark the significant milestone – comprising timepieces that are set to capture the brand’s essence and history; from whence it came, where it is, and where it aspires to go.
For further information, visit the Watch Academy website.
(Main image: (L-R) Royal Skeleton, BigMatic, and Petite Seconde)