Something odd is happening on the Brooklyn Bridge. In addition to the usual hurried New Yorkers, there is a woman with a desk seated right in the centre of the footbridge. Bent over her work, she carefully manipulates tiny metal and jewel parts. The woman, Ines, is in the middle of making a watch, and she is a part of Girard-Perregaux's Young Masters Tour.
Just one part of an initiative called 'The New Face of Tradition,' the tour hit cities like Tokyo, Sydney, Beijing and Paris. The brand's young watchmakers worked beside some of the world's greatest landmarks, attracting attention and interest from passers-by. Bringing their craft around the globe was an opportunity to showcase the forward-thinking operations that Girard-Perregaux has set in motion during the last few years.
In May 2012, the Swiss luxury brand put out a print and digital journal that profiled 23 new watchmakers working with the brand, and it changed the way many people thought of the craft. In people's imaginations, the Swiss watchmaker has to be a stately old man, living an isolated existence in his world of micromechanics... but he was nowhere to be found in this collection of new faces.
Many of the watchmakers featured were young, and many were women. They were often unconventional, but all of them showed personality and a passion for watchmaking, breaking the mould of what a 'typical' watchmaker should be.
One example is Vivienne, who works in the atelier for Girard-Perregaux. In the journal, she talks about her love for music and dance, even explaining how she took a pole dancing class and ended up using the activity as a workout. Another featured watchmaker was Alexandre, a young father with a passion for rock music and playing the drums.
Every single watchmaker was interesting to read about, sharing hobbies like Zumba, rock-climbing and opera-singing. Girard-Perregaux' recruitment policy is designed to continue the brand's tradition of excellence while continuously reinventing it. By publishing 'The New Face of Tradition' and continuing the tours, the maison hopes to both showcase their masters and inspire other young people to become interested in the art of horology.