Independent watchmaking has a new champion: Raúl Pagès, a Swiss-Spanish maestro based in Les Brenets, Switzerland, has been named the winner of the prestigious Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Creatives. Announced at a glittering ceremony at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Pagès’ victory marks a significant moment for the industry, recognizing the talent and innovation that thrive in the independent sector.
Facing stiff competition from nearly 1,000 entries, Pagès impressed the jury with its RP1 wristwatch, a captivating timepiece featuring a manual winding caliber and a unique pivoting detent escapement, traditionally found in high-precision marine chronometers. This historic mechanism, combined with a regulator display of hours, minutes and seconds on a light gray and blue dial, embodies both technical prowess and aesthetic elegance.
Pagès’ journey to victory began in the village of Les Brenets, where he honed his skills as a restorer of prestigious watchmaking creations. After working in prestigious restoration workshops such as Parmigiani Fleurier and Patek Philippe, he struck out on his own in 2012, creating his eponymous brand. His dedication to craftsmanship and passion for pushing boundaries shone through in the RP1, ultimately impressing the jury and earning him the coveted title.
Beyond recognition, the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize brings Pagès a €150,000 grant and a year of mentorship from experts at La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton. This invaluable opportunity will enable him to further refine his craft, explore new avenues and take his brand to even greater heights.
The award ceremony wasn’t just a celebration of Pagès’ achievement; it was a resounding affirmation of the vibrant independent watchmaking scene. Jean Arnault, director of watches at Louis Vuitton, praised the finalists, saying, “You will push the big players into areas of watchmaking they’ve never seen before… In your hands, the future of independent watchmaking is brighter than ever“.
With the inaugural edition setting the stage, the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize promises to be a catalyst for innovation and growth within the independent watchmaking community. As Pagès himself, visibly moved by his win, said: “To be honored by the jury of the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize for Independent Watchmakers is the best possible recognition of my work.” His victory is not only a personal triumph, but also a testament to the boundless potential and creative spirit at the heart of independent watchmaking.
What’s next for Raúl Pagès? He has already hinted at his next project, the RP2, a wristwatch with a “completely new movement“. This exciting prospect, coupled with the invaluable support of the Louis Vuitton Watch Prize, makes us eager to see the future creations that will emerge from his workshop. The independent watchmaking landscape is richer and more vibrant than ever, and Raúl Pagès is undoubtedly a name to watch!