The quest for the chronometrical grail

Written by Elizabeth Kelly

Karsten Fräßdorf is the watch making master behind the intricate and exquisite ‘Montres’ timepieces. His quest for the chronometrical grail is driven by his passion for horological perfection, precision and reliability. In a world of throw away consumerism, Fräßdorf’s dedication to investment pieces that will stand the test of time is refreshing. Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of sitting down with him to find out more about the man behind the brand.

As a very niche area of interest, talk us through where did your involvement in the industry really began and how this led to the brand that you have built today?

Personally, my fascination with chronometrics started when I began a watch-making apprenticeship at the age of 15. By the age of 24 I had mastered the art and opened my own watch restore shop where I was able to further my studies in the intricacies of horology. It was from there that my involvement in the industry really grew until 2015 when I established the company. Though the brand itself remains in its infancy, it is based on a lifetime of experience and we pride ourselves on our devotion to traditional watchmaking whilst incorporating the finest technical solutions into our bespoke designs.

As a relatively new brand in the industry, you are competing with very well established high-end watchmakers. What specifically sets you apart from your competition?

If you go to other brands, you simply must take what is on offer whereas the basic idea of our brand is that everything is custom made to the client's preference and that is entirely unique. My clients are involved in every stage of the design and engineering process and we have the ability to personalise the case, the face, the strap, the movements all to their desired design. Personally, I love to create unique chronometrical movements that will last for a very long time. Each piece I make takes me approximately 6 months to design and construct and the intricate engineering that lies behind each and every time piece that I create is what sets us apart from other brands. Moreover, the majority of watches from the other leading brands in the industry will receive entirely new mechanisms every 10 years or so in order to keep them working, with our watches, we use old manufacturing techniques in fusion with modern machinery to create timepieces that can be maintained rather than replaced. This is a truly unique and valuable aspect.

It is evident that an exceptionally high level of craftsmanship goes into your products, this is in some ways relatable to the intricacies of superyacht design. Are there any similarities you can see in the process and between the two industries?

Like superyacht designers, I am creating something that is outstanding. It is difficult in my case for people to understand how something so small, could be of such value but there is an appreciation in the superyacht industry for the craftsmanship that goes into the luxury items such as my time pieces. There is also a nautical interest that is incorporated within my designs, marine chronometry have always been a fascination of mine and the fusion of navigation and time I find compelling. The element of precision in nautical instruments is a technicality that I strive to emulate in my timepieces whilst incorporating my own modern interpretation of classical watchmaking.

Karsten Fräßdorf

WCP Watch Connaisseur Project

La Chaux-de-Fonds

T: +41 79 863 77 63




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