Christian Lattmann: Jaquet Droz CEO Defends The ArtsWritten by Alvin Wong
“Creativity works best when it is a two-way process."
Christian Lattmann’s deep passion for his work, while not immediately obvious given his soft-spoken and modest nature, is nonetheless highly infectious. Despite being a veteran of the watch trade – he joined the Swatch Group in 1995, and worked in various positions in Omega and Breguet, before taking over the helm at Jaquet Droz in 2016 – Lattmann displays none of that industry-beaten weariness and complacency that plague business stalwarts.
“Going to work, and doing what we do is never a chore. There are challenges, of course, but we have to consider ourselves very lucky to be in this business of making and selling beautiful art,” he says.
And it is this notion of championing beauty and human creativity that motivates him most in his role as CEO of Jaquet Droz, overseeing a brand known for its prowess in decorative horology.
MAKING MACHINES WITH SOUL
“Jaquet Droz is a niche brand, and we want to be number one in this niche. And that niche is in automatons. It is in this area of automatons where we have our strongest foundation, expertise, know-how and differentiation."
BRINGING BACK MEMORIES
"We want to take people back to the time when they were six, when their worlds are untainted by politics, religion, the economy and things like that. Those were times of innocence and beauty and wonder – when as kids, it was so easy for us to be astonished. All our automaton watches from the Loving Butterfly to the Tropical Bird Repeater do just that. We want to play with optical illusion, and elicit the sense of nature coming to life."
CELEBRATE THE ART AND ARTISTS
“We now issue certificates for our limited edition artisanal watches. In these watches, each artist will sign off on their work. Why? Because each watch of such craft and artisanship is unique, and it is important for the artists to be motivated and recognised for their work. We always tell our customers that they are buying a piece of art. If so, who is the artist? Of course, they know the brand - but the artists, who breathe life into these works of art, are just as important."
‘MONEY’ IS NOT A BAD WORD
" Jaquet Droz is at a very high level of luxury, so we also need to offer watches that are more accessible. If making a watch commercial means that it is a success, then sure, I would like to make a 'commercial watch. The GSQ in steel, for example, is one of our accessible pieces, but it is but no means simple. Every Jaquet Droz model is hand-assembled and hand-finishing. The look is iconic and the movement is top-quality.”
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.