As the creator of the iconic watch that Kunlun launched in the 1970s, Vincent Calabrese believes that transparent design is a way to liberate watchmaking from its original puppet. Let’s review the birth of this incredible work.
Breaking tradition and thinking is the best summary of Vincent Calabrese’s long career. Born in Naples in 1944, he has been working in the watchmaking industry since the age of 13, and has dedicated his life to this. After arriving in Switzerland shortly before he became an adult, he quickly found a job at Le Locle, and then spent many years in the field of watch restoration and repair.
The idea for a “special” watch was born in the early 1970s, when he was a manager and watchmaker at a luxury watch boutique in Crans-Montana. ‘Many years of sales work have touched me on the fact that appearance is the main determinant of people’s watch purchases.’ Frustrated by this, he is determined to develop a model that allows customers to understand the essence of timepieces. Decided to buy. The Golden Bridge movement concept was born.
One of Vincent Calabrese’s main ideas is that the ‘case of a watch should not be a cage for the movement’, the fewer the connecting parts between the two, the better. The linear movement thus developed was connected to the case only at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, and eventually became the genetic feature of this well-known model. ‘The Golden Bridge series is not just a watch, but also a cry of resistance,’ said the watchmaker.
The first prototype was born in 1977. He established contact with the founder of Kunlun Watch, René Bannwart, through the two friends, the curator of the La Saude Defang International Watch Museum. René Bannwart immediately saw the development potential of this innovative design. Facts have also proved that it has been popular since its launch, which is a real feat during the difficult times that the mechanical watchmaking industry experienced in the 1980s.
While the partnership started, Vincent Calabrese won the first prize at the Geneva International Invention Exhibition for his work. Does the founder of this independent watchmaker’s association (whose members do a significant part of the watchmaking industry, and it still does today) also consider himself an inventor? ‘I’m more of a researcher. My watch clearly reveals everything, but still retains a sense of mystery, because people often want to know how it actually works. For me, the most complicated The question is how to make it easier, not the other way around. ‘
This is part of what makes the Golden Bridge series, which has fewer components than traditional movements, a truly unique watch. ‘It gently radiates appeal in a non-aggressive way,’ explains the Italian-born creative genius. For him, watchmaking is the toughest way to communicate. Creating a new style requires a lot of technology, including movement making, carving, gem setting, case design …
Vincent Calabrese’s enthusiasm for watchmaking innovation has never diminished. He agrees that there is a connection between watchmaking and art processing, especially when watchmaking requires mastery of multiple skills to trigger people’s emotions. This is exactly what the Golden Bridge series has achieved for more than 40 years.