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© Anita Schlaefli
© Anita Schlaefli
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© Anita Schlaefli

Jean-Vincent Huguenin

  • Automaton builder
  • Colombier, Switzerland
  • Master Artisan
Jean-Vincent Huguenin Automaton builder
Contact
French
Hours:
By appointment only
© Anita Schlaefli

Keeping a Swiss secret

  • • Jean-Vincent considers himself both artist and artisan
  • • He specialises in making miniature erotic automata for watches
  • • He uses a burin to engrave and give three dimensions to his creations

Jean-Vincent Huguenin is one of the very few craftsmen to keep one of the most secret traditions of Swiss luxury timepieces alive in the 21st century: that of erotic automata for watches. In the 18th and 19th centuries, pocket watches were produced with hidden licentious scenes animated by the same mechanism used for the watch hands. The erotic scenes were hidden in a secret compartment under a false base, so only the owner of the watch could see them. Born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the very heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Jean-Vincent continues a tradition that has been in his family for generations: his father was a press tool maker while his grandfather was a watchmaker and engraver, from whom Jean-Vincent inherited the know-how, the workbench and the tools.

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Works

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  • © Anita Schlaefli
  • © Anita Schlaefli
Photo: © All rights reserved
Le Clavecin

This piece, designed and engraved by Jean-Vincent Huguenin, is inspired by 17th and 18th century romanticism. It was produced in collaboration with the enameller Anita Porchet. The goal was to merge engraving and enamelling so that they enrich each other and become undifferentiated. The two figures were made using the repoussé technique, an almost forgotten bas-relief carving process allowing the creation of naturalistic forms.

Length 4.5 cm

Jean-Vincent Huguenin Automaton builder
Photo: © All rights reserved
La Liseuse

This piece, designed and produced by Jean-Vincent Huguenin, shows a 19th century genre scene of a woman asleep in a garden with a bird resting on her wrist. It required more than 350 hours to make and involved two almost forgotten methods: nacre engraving and the repoussé technique. Both very appreciated in previous centuries, these techniques are now practised by only a few craftsmen.

Length 4.5 cm

Jean-Vincent Huguenin Automaton builder
Photo: © Anita Schlaefli
Kabuki

This animated automaton was created for the Japanese market and was inspired by Kabuki theatre graphic representations. The image is placed on the reverse of the minute repeater watch and comes alive with each ring. Kabuki is the result of a long-term collaboration with Blancpain and is one of the several hundred unique pieces produced to date by Jean-Vincent Huguenin.

Length 4 cm

Jean-Vincent Huguenin Automaton builder
Photo: © Anita Schlaefli
Snow Panthera

Snow Panthera was produced in collaboration with the enameller Anita Porchet. The goal was to merge engraving and enamelling so that they enrich each other and become undifferentiated. The animal miniature was painted in Grand Feu enamel by Anita, while the background decoration was engraved and covered with translucent enamel. The rocks and grasses in the foreground have been chisel-shaped.

Length 4 cm

Jean-Vincent Huguenin Automaton builder

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