While understanding the intricacies of a mechanical watch takes many years to master, visitors to the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Switzerland can discover just what keeps their timepiece ticking with a watchmaking workshop by Vevey-based specialists Lionel Meylan.
An established authority in high-end timepieces and jewellery for more than 20 years, Lionel Meylan offers a range of services, from restoration and customised jewellery design to stocking new watches from the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet and Omega. In 2012, the store drew on this expertise to create an intriguing experience for horology enthusiasts – the chance to delve into the details of a watch movement under the guidance of one their experienced watchmakers.
Participants don the white coat of a watchmaker and are set to work at one of the four benches, deconstructing and then putting back together a watch movement. No previous experience is required, however a steady hand and a generous dose of patience certainly doesn’t go amiss. At the end of the session, each participant receives a certificate and the obligatory watchmaker’s eyeglass, bearing the Meylan stamp, as a souvenir.
These sessions offer a unique insight into the detailed and complicated processes involved in both putting together and servicing a mechanical timepiece. ‘I have spoken to clients who thought that servicing a watch was simply a matter of soaking the movement in an ultrasound bath followed by an oil bath,’ explains Julian, son of the owner Lionel Meylan. ‘That couldn’t be further from the reality!’