Name Alexandre Hazemann
Lives in Pontarlier, a town in eastern France near the border with Switzerland
Claim to fame Mr. Hazemann won the 2023 F.P. Journe Young Talent Competition, an annual contest organized by the brand to help students and recent graduates establish themselves in independent watchmaking.
The origins Mr. Hazemann’s timepiece is what the industry calls a school watch, which he made during his seventh and final year at the prestigious watchmaking program of Lycée Edgar Faure in Morteau, France. Actually, Mr. Hazemann and a classmate, Victor Monnin, worked together on their watches and submitted both of them, but a contest representative said there could be only one winner. “We have always been friends,” Mr. Hazemann said. “With the years spent studying together, we understood that teamwork is an essential strength.”
The watch The AH.02 Signature, a 42-millimeter timepiece with a stainless steel case, chimes as the hours pass and has a jump hour complication. (The hour hand jumps to the next numeral on the dial rather than moving smoothly.) It took a total of about 1,200 hours to make. “The school only requires a functional prototype movement, not a watch that is wearable and capable of appealing to a collectors’ market,” he said. “But this project meant a lot to us, and we wanted to end our seven years of study in the most beautiful way” — so both Mr. Hazemann’s and Mr. Monnin’s watches had custom-made straps from the French leather brand Jean Rousseau and dials covered with sapphire crystals by Sébal, a specialist in Switzerland.
His method “Our strength was organization, and we pushed it to the limit with daily schedules and briefings at 6 a.m.,” Mr. Hazemann said, explaining that the men shared an apartment near the school during their final three years of study.
His interest in timepieces His father, a precision mechanic in a watch factory in the Val-de-Travers area of Switzerland, introduced him to the field. In more recent years, Mr. Hazemann said, he has been influenced by the independent watchmakers François-Paul Journe, Rexhep Rexhepi, and Maximilian Büsser, founder of MB&F.
A typical day After an early run, he heads to Le Locle, Switzerland, where he is enrolled in a three-year program at the Centre de Formation Professionnelle Neuchâtelois. Each week, he spends two days in courses on watch construction and three days at a prototype workshop in Val-de-Travers with the French watchmaker Emmanuel Bouchet. “This training is geared towards watch construction and 3-D design,” Mr. Hazemann said. “By the end of the course, I’ll be as complete a watchmaker as possible.”
About the prize Mr. Hazemann received 20,000 Swiss francs, or $22,330. He said he planned to acquire several machines for watchmaking, including a Sixis milling machine, used for the precision machining of small watch parts; a Hauser M1 pointing machine, which punches holes in watch parts; and a pivoting lathe and a rounding lathe, which are used to make final adjustments to sprockets and axles. “I must enrich my watchmaking tools as well as increase my experience and maturity,” he said.
However, Andreas Strehler, an independent watchmaker in Switzerland and a member of the contest jury, noted in an email that Mr. Hazemann’s winning watch didn’t “look like a student’s work. It already looks like a commercial watch.”
And, next… “My goal is still to learn as much as I can and gain enough experience so that once I feel ready, I can launch myself as an independent watchmaker.”