INTERVIEW: Julien Sandoz, Technical Manager
Our passionate colleagues share the secrets of their job and your watch.
"We must look for ways to find the right compromise between functionality, price and quality." JULIEN SANDOZ - 28 years / Franco-Suisse / Technical Manager at Emile Chouriet since 2015.
WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU GREW UP ?
At first I wanted to be an engineer who worked on motors so I could work in the paddocks of a motorcycle or car racing circuit. I therefore did a Baccalaureate in Science with a specialization in engineering, in France. It was later, thanks to my Godfather, that I became interested in watchmaking. I started at the Haut Ecole ARC in Le Locle where I studied watchmaking for three years.
HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK FOR EMILE CHOURIET ?
When I met Jean Depéry, he was starting to create an in-house movement. His project to develop a movement with his own spirals, balance wheel and escapement really intrigued me. I don't know anyone else in watchmaking that has done that, especially in such a short time. I therefore wanted to join him to participate in this adventure. Jean was my "Maitre Chouriet". I was always by his side. This is what allowed me to learn a lot of things.
TELL US WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR JOB ?
My main work is to look after the movement. We send plans to our suppliers so they can make the pieces. When they come back to us, they are assembled first by the watch makers. This is when we confront the reality of assembling. We often need to adjust certain pieces and to change certain parts of the plan. My job is to find solutions to the problems. The plans are constantly evolving until we are satisfied with the quality. Once this is the case, we can start the production.
DO YOU WORK ALONE OR ARE YOU PART OF A TEAM ?
We are three people in R&D. We also are involved in other tasks. We look for ways to optimize the industrialization process of our products. This is why we work very closely with the watchmakers. This is why they come to us with their precious feedback concerning the optimization of the assembly and fine tuning of the mechanisms. I like this teamwork. To summarize, my work is twofold. On the one hand I ensure that our watches keep time, and additionally I do the necessary to make sure the creation of a movement takes the least possible time.
LOTS OF DEVELOPMENT, AND WHERE IS THE RESEARCH IN ALL OF THIS ?
These days we have a lot of knowledge and tools available to allow us to develop movements. We have a multitude of pieces at our disposal that allow us to create things that were not possible just a short while ago. This opens new perspectives. It is a bit like playing with lego, the possibilities are endless.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR JOB ?
Lots of mechanical jobs are done using a simulator on a computer. In watchmaking everything is so small that we are obliged to physically test things. This is what we had to do for the spiral. It is a job that I am very passionate about.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR EMILE CHOURIET ?
I hope to develop a range of "complication movements" all the while keeping prices accessible. We have all the in-house competence to do this. Our competitors are always surprised by what we are capable of creating.
WHAT MAKES EMILE CHOURIET DIFFERENT ?
We develop many things in-house and not necessarily simple things. The movement 5318 is proof of that. Movements for women's watches are even more complicated to develop. Because they are small, there is not a lot of space inside the case. The development of our movement was a real challenge. Not to mention that we produce our own spirals. Like I said, our competitors are surprised by what we can develop with such a small team.