My old man is a watchmaker. I pretty much grew up in a watch- and jewelry shop in Finland. My parents did take their work home…
I did not take any clocks or watches apart at the age of six and assemble them with fascination and prodigy beaming thru my eyes. When, at twenty-one I took my first clock apart, in watchmaking school, I was dead sure that thing was never going to work again. Before the age of twenty I had different plans for my life. The only certainty was, it was not about watchmaking… or the french language. Life to me was my brother’s Slade vinyls and the wild collection of mopeds and motor-bikes that came and went thru his garage.
The final year of watchmaking school, I was elected “the best student” of the course. Something to do with speaking english and not being a complete asshole. The spoils of that was being sent to Switzerland for three weeks as a guest of the Swatch Group, visiting and getting training in their factories. On that trip I met the first Irishman in my life. A most hilarious jockey with a collar-bone poking straight out of his body after some crazy accident on a race-track. We had beers every night and sunday mornings he used to borrow my umbrella to go to church. Finns and Irishmen seem to mix well. Like bread and cheese.
After school I looked after one of my parent’s stores in Helsinki. I was mainly working on clocks for those four years. When I started to miss watches and was afraid I would lose my touch, I took my family back to Switzerland and did a course in WOSTEP.
I found a job in Omega and started in their fabulous, newly restored after-sales service, in 1996. I got the chance to work on all the different chronograph movements they have used, all the pre-ETA Omega movements and did some restoration work on the old pocket watches.
In 1998 we moved to Le Locle and I got to learn more complicated watchmaking with Christophe Claret. I did mainly minute repeaters for Ulysse-Nardin. I have worked on roughly a hundred of those, over the years.
The new millennium saw me entering the fast expanding universe of Ulysse-Nardin. During my six years in the company we grew from thirty employees to some three hundred. I was working on striking watches, tourbillons, astronomical watches, QP:s and the traditional board chronometers as a coach for the workshop of complications.
In 2006 i started my own workshop assembling and servicing watches for: Ulysse Nardin, Richard Mille, Franck Muller, Daniel Roth, Girard Perregaux, Bovet, Bulgari, MB&F, Maîtres du Temps, Patek Philippe, Christophe Claret, Audemars Piguet, Jean Dunand, Jeanrichard etc.
Turns out it’s all about watchmaking and the french language, after all.