Manufacture Royale - watches & reviews

In 1770, the philosopher and entrepreneur Voltaire established Manufacture Royale whose workshops, close to Geneva, would give life to magnificent timepieces, beautifully executed by talented craftsmen. Since 2010, the Manufacture Royale name has been revived on rare and exceptional creations which celebrate the watchmaker's art as well as the free-thinking spirit of its founder.

An eminent French philosopher of the Enlightenment and a fervent defender of liberty in all forms, Voltaire was also an entrepreneur. Often overlooked, his business activities led to the establishment in 1770 of Manufacture Royale, not far from Geneva. When production was at its height, over four thousand watches left the Manufacture's workshops each year, destined for Europe's crowned heads and elite.

Made by acclaimed master-watchmakers, Jean-Antoine Lépine among them, the watches that bore the Manufacture Royale name were the epitome of excellence in time measurement at the end of the eighteenth century. Movements featured the most challenging complications, such as striking mechanisms and repeaters. Equal importance was dedicated to exteriors, with gold cases embellished with elaborate engraving, enamel or set with gems. Manufacture Royale also made objets d'art such as a table watch inside a case in the shape of a delicately sculpted flacon.

Demonstrating the same spirit of enterprise that presided over its creation, Manufacture Royale today imagines and makes complicated haute horlogerie watches. For this it has its own workshops in the Swiss Jura, the home of what is still a truly unique industry. Art and technique, together with the excellence of its craftsmen, guarantee the incomparable mechanical and decorative quality of each timepiece, and ensure that watchmaking's most authentic expression is as alive and as relevant as ever. Addressing a small and exclusive circle of admirers, Manufacture Royale continues this heritage with a style that is bold, contemporary and technically accomplished.