Simon Husslein has long reserved a special place in his heart for the ultra-avant-garde – and sadly now defunct – watch brand Ventura. After graduating from Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, Husslein went on to work at the prestigious Studio Hannes Wettstein in Zurich, where he gained his first experience in watch design, working on projects for the Pierre Nobs-helmed Ventura in 1999.
Husslein bought his first real watch – the Ventura Watch by Flemming Bo Hansen – and his education in timepieces began as he methodically analysed the tiny square object, identifying its design principles and, in the process, finding his own position through reinterpreting the archetypes that were revealed to him. “I realised there was more to design than a very rational way of seeing things and at Hannes Wettstein I was able to explore beyond these reason-related scenarios,” he says.
Always a brand for “those who know”, the problems inflicted on the industry by the 2008 global market crash saw the gradual demise and eventual sale of Ventura, leaving in its wake pioneering designs such as Paolo Fancelli’s digital v-tec Zeta and Hannes Wettstein’s v-tec Kappa, both powered by the in-house calibre VEND04. And, although one of the most exciting design brands of our time, is no more in its original form, its maverick founder Pierre Nobs – never a man who was going to retire quietly – decided that today’s watch industry needed a kick into the 21st-century.
“Pierre and I developed a very special relationship – especially after Hannes died,” says Husslein. “I knew that Pierre had been consulting since his official retirement and earlier this year, out of the blue, he called me and said: ‘Simon we have to do something, and I have an idea.’” It turned out that Nobs was a little pre-occupied with the new Swiss-made rules and what this could do to the pricing of watches and he had settled upon the idea of using an automatic lathe machine to produce 100-per-cent Swiss-made watches without the associated high price-point.
Read more about Simon Husslein here.