Meanwhile, at the Manufacture Roger Dubuis, many changes were occurring — in particular, the purchase of the company by the Richemont Group, who after a few years decided that Mr Dubuis’ rightful place was back at his bench at the Roger Dubuis headquarters. This is the beginning of a new adventure for Mr Roger Dubuis and for the brand, and I was privileged to be the first journalist to be able to conduct an exclusive interview with him back in the building where we first met. It was a magical moment, and one I am delighted to share with you.
When did your passion for watchmaking begin?
It all started when I was about 10 or 12 years old and was living in the village of Corsier-sur-Vevey (a beautiful village overlooking Lake Léman). I really wasn’t that interested in school at the time, and I loved to wander around the village visiting the various artisans, who were quite numerous at that time. My favorite was the village cobbler. I remember him vividly with his impressive moustache and pipe, which he would puff on continuously.
One day, he told me that he was getting a bit tired and asked if I could help him ring the church bells on Sundays. There were three bells, and it was important to pull on the cord strongly and quickly so that the bell would have a clean ring. The cobbler was impressed with how quickly I had mastered the technique, and, as his health was diminishing, he asked my teacher if it would be possible for me to be excused from school five minutes early to ring the bells at midday. I just loved this daily task, and one time I ventured up the stairs to see the bells and the clock with their barrels, cords, weights and spectacular movement… It was love at first sight.
In 1952, the church was restored and the town decided to put in an electric system, but the seed had been sown in my young mind. I was desperate to study watchmaking, but I didn’t have the necessary qualifications to start such a course. Luckily, a kindly teacher helped me to take a preparatory course during my summer vacation at the Geneva School for industrial and mechanical engineering, which was the start of my watchmaking studies and a lifelong passion.