The name of Jochen Benzinger has long been known in the watch and jewelry world: for many years his studio has served as an adornment of Pforzheim, the recognized jewelry center of southern Germany at the very border of the Black Forest. Benzinger is considered to be Germany's leading specialist in guilloche, engraving, and skeletonization of movements and one of the best in the world, while Benzinger Unique Timepieces are considered a worthy acquisition for collections and fans of genuine German watchmaking traditions.
Jochen Benzinger, born in 1961, began his professional training in 1978 at the Pforzheim Goldsmiths' School. Even during this time, he became enthusiastic about the ancient craft of guilloché, which was used in the industry to decorate dials and jewelry.
After successfully attending the master school, which he completed with distinction, he founded his own workshop in 1984 and initially began working for the local jewelry industry. Among other things, he guillochéd (and still does!) in his studio the famous Fabergé jewelry eggs, whose typical enamel only really shines through the guilloche underneath.
Watches and movements engraved, skeletonized and guilloché by hand are the result of Jochen Benzinger’s independent art.
Towards the end of the millennium, he turned his interest more and more to the watch industry. Many renowned manufacturers such as IWC, Chronoswiss, Glashütte Original and several independent watchmakers, as well as the luxury brand Rolls Royce, had their hand-cut dials made by him, and over time the desire matured in him to build his own unique watches, which were to be distinguished by the combination of the three craft techniques of guilloché, engraving and skeletonizing.
Watches and movements engraved, skeletonized and guilloché by hand are the result of Jochen Benzinger’s independent art. He sets himself apart from the norms of modern production, allowing himself the freedom of utilizing historically meaningful machines and tools more than a century old in order to create true works of art. Hours upon hours pass by before his work has taken its characteristic form - a form that can only be achieved in a hand-created, one-of-a-kind piece.
Guilloché is the evolution of the royal craft known as ornamental turnery. From these turning lathes watch artists developed beautiful guilloché machines the likes of which Abraham Louis Breguet also cut his uniquely characteristic dials. Dials guilloché by hand remain unsurpassed in terms of their noble appearance to this day; a rare, historically meaningful art form can be found in all work done by Jochen Benzinger.
Engraving is an art form that is as old as mankind itself. Since the first humans discovered that stones could be used as cutting instrumens, they have been used to decorate jewelry and objects needed for daily use.The evolution of engraving thus began in a time prior ro our conscious collective memory. Albrecht Dürer helped the art form to a new heyday in the sixteenth century with his copperplate etchings and wood carvings. Using the same tools as Dürer, Jochen Benzinger as once of the few specialists of the art of engraving ceates hand-embellished masterpieces with an historical soul.
Skeletonization is a method of decoration that lends «closed» watch movements a new and more individualized character. Parts of the movement are removed using a goldsmith’s saw, allowing a direct view into and through the mechanical movement. A view of each of the movements is made possible thanks to a sapphire crystal case back. Jochen Benzinger’s creative energy thus receives an obvious transparency and his superlative craft practiced by hand is revealed to the observer in all its perfect glory.
Today, technical conversions such as subscriptions or double regulators are also part of his portfolio. The combination of these conversions and the different finishing techniques are unique worldwide. Recently, Jochen Benzinger has also started offering his own manufacture calibre, the GAP 1, which he launched together with the Austrian watchmaker Habring.
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