I love writing about watches. I love writing about people who make watches. Rarely do I write about a watch brand who have yet to produce a watch, but the story of the Résilience Watch Company and the individuals behind it is one of such perseverance that it deserves to be told and needs little additional narrative in order to produce a good read.
BNB Concept, the specialised watch movement maker was renowned for being a collective melting pot of horological creativity. It hired some of the industry's best young talent and from their benches flowed innovation and inventiveness the likes of which had never been seen before, and many would argue has not been since its demise. Even ingenuity has an upper echelon and each year seven "Confrères" were chosen and given the resources to create their own watch, one which would, upon its completion bear their own signature.
- So how is it possible that one of the few BNB Confrères who had previous experience at Sellita, ETA, Longines and Panerai and who had expertise in tourbillons and complications could end up on the streets having lost almost everything and would in his own words begin " ... a long descent into hell..."?
When BNB imploded, Hublot stepped in to rescue the remaining stock of their movements which BNB had been developing and 30 of their staff. The Confrères initiative was not a priority, and David Rodriguez, despite having had his own bench from which he had created his own signed piece, featuring a unique flying tourbillon found that his career was now in free-fall.
A young, once successful man does not immediately find himself without a roof over his head, but a series of mishaps can accelerate the process and David has had his fair share of calamities, including a period of ill health to add to his woes. He was eventually given shelther in a hostel for the homeless with almost everything of his previous life gone, everything that is except for his optimism.
In 2012 David met Stéphanie Gétaz, also a resident at the hostel. As a graphic designer and artist she walked with a pencil in her hand, something which David noticed. It became their common bond, and with Stéphanie's encouragement, David once again began to sketch watches. Stéphanie became involved creatively discovering for herself a new genre and another resident Lucas Stoller who had webmaster experience also came onboard. From this trio of kindred souls, the Résilience Watch Company was born.
There were immense obstacles to overcome, including weeks lost while the intrepid three pooled their resources to buy USB keys in order to connect to the internet on a borrowed computer. If persistence such as theirs did not bear fruit it would have been a hard blow, but after a doubtful beginning when all that could be relied on was their own resoluteness, Résilience has, in the last 12 months received some much needed and deserved support and publicity.
In May 2013 the Résilience website was launched. Just one month later the founders were invited to the International Watchmaking Fair in Geneva, followed by a meeting with the independent watchmakers and a personal invite from Kari Voutilainen to visit his workshop. More recently the project has moved to its own designated office space in order to continue its development.
This has been a remarkable chronology thus far. The plans and the drawingsare in place and the hopes and dreams of its founders are beginning to become an almosttangible reality. However, it remains to be seen if the vision as an independent watchmaking venture will hold fast or if the demands of such an undertaking will require the security of an established watch brand willing to carry forth their ideas. Either way, that the development of a luxury watchmaking enterprise should take place in such demanding circumstances is not just phoenix-like - it is as refreshing as it is heroic and we wish them all the best for the future.
Find out more at the Résilience Watch website.