Using well-known and highly reliable mechanical movements as its base, Claude Meylan opens up the watch, allowing the wearer to plunge into its microcosm and navigate through it.
The sculptor of time
At the heart of the Swiss Jura region, in the village of L’Abbaye in the Joux valley, Claude Meylan perpetuates the centuries-old know-how of the Meylan family. Samuel-Olivier Meylan is recognised as one of the first people to manufacture watches in the Joux Valley, at a time when watch movement manufacturing was concentrated along the shores of Lake Geneva in the region of Lausanne, Morges and Rolle. Having acquired his skills in the latter town, he returned to his native village and set up his own workshop, employing two apprentices. This was in spite of him not having received a warrant as a watchmaker, since the Bernese government had not yet awarded any charters for watchmaking in the Joux Valley and watchmakers were therefore required to learn their trade elsewhere (five years of apprenticeship followed by three years as a journeyman) before submitting a watch they had made entirely by themselves.
Samuel-Olivier Meylan only became a watchmaker officially in 1748, after the “masterpiece” he had produced in Neuchâtel was accepted by the watchmaking corporation in Moudon. And it was not until a year after his death that the government in Bern issued a watchmaking charter for his native village of Le Chenit. The system of warrants was eventually abolished, paving the way for the division of labour (watchmakers were no longer obliged to produce a finished timepiece) that transformed life in the Joux valley so radically.
It was thanks to this development that the great grandfather and, later, the father of Claude Meylan were able to build up considerable know-how in the field of skeletonisation. His grandfather was a teacher at the watchmaking school in Le Sentier and the master skeletonisers gradually started to establish themselves in the valley at the turn of the twentieth century.
The Claude Meylan brand was established in 1988. To this day, the company continues to perpetuate the unique art of skeletonising watch movements.
Using well-known and highly reliable mechanical movements as its base, Claude Meylan opens up the watch, allowing the wearer to plunge into its microcosm and navigate through it, admiring the subtle cut-aways that reveal the watch’s beating heart, all decorated with both traditional and modern aesthetics that are always inspired by the rich tradition of watchmaking in the region.
Claude Meylan symbolises the art of skeletonisation and offers a genuine expression of the know-how that was accumulated by the family over centuries. As a master of the art of watch movement skeletonisation, Claude Meylan justifiably styles itself as the Sculptor of Time.
1748:Samuel-Olivier Meylan is granted a warrant to set up as a watchmaker in Le Chenit, his place of birth
1898:Claude Meylan’s grandfather is a teacher at the watchmaking school in Le Sentier and the family tradition of skeletonisation is cemented.
1988:Master skeleton worker Claude Meylan sets up his company, which is soon recognized for its unique creations.
2002:Mr Henri Berney, a member of another great watchmaking family from the region, takes over the activities of the company, with two strong cultures and founts of watchmaking knowledge coming together to strengthen the brand even further.
2011:As Henri Berney approaches his 80th birthday, he reaches an agreement with Philippe Belais to take over the company, which makes a name for itself, quite naturally, as the Sculptor of Time.
Lac: The Lac de Joux (the lake) lies at the heart of the Joux valley watchmaking region. Its serene presence and silent force play host to infinitely changing colours and moods, which in turn provide the inspiration for the models in this collection.
Lionne: Named after the river that runs at the foot of the brand’s workshop and which feeds the Lac de Joux, the Lionne collection embodies strength and elegance, femininity par excellence (“Lionne” means lioness in French).
L’Abbaye: It is in this very village, at the heart of the Joux valley and characteristic of the region, that Claude Meylan was established, in a house at the centre of the village that dates back to 1684.
Légendes: From the Lac de Joux to the pines of the Risoud Forest, the beautiful region that Claude Meylan is privileged to call its home is brimming with legends that interweave historical facts with poetic invention and popular folklore.