David Candaux shows the classic evolution of an independent watchmaker – from successfully working for a major brand, to becoming self-employed, to starting his own watch brand. He began his career at Jaeger-LeCoultre, which is understandable since he was born and raised in the Vallée de Joux, the ‘Valley of the Watchmakers’, where that brand is based and where the master himself still works today. At Jaeger-LeCoultre, he was involved in the development of complicated timepieces, including the super-complicated Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie wristwatch, which made his name known, if not to the general public, at least in professional circles. Unfortunately, in recent years, the brand has taken the focus away from the contributions of the talented watchmakers who work for it and shifted it solely to pushing the brand image.
David Candaux is known as one of the creators of the aforementioned Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie, the most complex wristwatch in the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand’s portfolio, and especially for inventing the so-called ‘trebuchet hammers’ used in its striking mechanism – the brand generally still uses this invention today without crediting the creator. Moreover, today it’s difficult to find even a brief reference to this fact in open sources. In 2011, David Candaux left Jaeger-LeCoultre to pursue a career as a freelance watchmaker. His notable works include the design of the exceptional rectangular and domed Ivresse caliber for the small Badollet brand, the Inversion Principle Tourbillon central tourbillon wristwatch for the Fonderie47 charity project, and his involvement in the equally exceptional HM6 ‘Space Pirate’ project for MB&F.
In 2017, David Candaux presented the 1740 First 8, the first tourbillon wristwatch of his new brand, produced in a limited edition of 8 pieces. The ‘1740’ in the name of the watch and its caliber refers to the first year in which a watchmaker was officially documented in the Vallée de Joux. The caliber 1740 has exceptional technical characteristics, as one would expect from David Candaux. The mainplate and bridges are made of uncoated titanium, the caliber has an unusual inclined design, meaning that all components are arranged at a 3-degree angle to the mainplate. This inclination has been incorporated into the design of the watch so that the dial faces the eye when the watch is worn on the wrist. Rate accuracy is ensured by a flying tourbillon, whose balance and escapement are inclined at 30 degrees, while the tourbillon axis, like the other components, is also arranged at a 3-degree angle to the mainplate – hence the ‘bi-plan’ designation for the tourbillon. The watch is also equipped with an unusual ‘secret’ vertically arranged and retractable winding crown, which allows the watch case to be completely symmetrical when viewed from the front.
This caliber became the basis for the collection created in the first five years of the atelier’s existence, including the DC1 1740 in various versions with the original caliber with a central seconds hand and the DC6 Half Hunter with the second-generation caliber without a central seconds hand, also in numerous versions in gold, titanium, carbon and bronze. In 2021, master introduced the DC7 Genesis watch, which took on a more traditional, classic look, but still features an exotic vertical crown and inclined ‘bi-plan’ tourbillon.
The meticulous high-end finishing, unique design and exceptional technical specifications give the David Candaux watch an undeniably high value and make it a remarkable collector's item. This is further enhanced by the extremely limited production, characteristic of independent craftsmen.