1978: Philippe Dufour set up as an independent watchmaker 1992: Launch of the Philippe Dufour brand For numerous connoisseurs, Philippe Dufour personifies excellence in the handcrafting of watches, whether in his mastery of the techniques of watchmaking or the incomparable level of finish he affords to each piece. Historically, the Vallée de Joux is the cradle of time measurement in all its complexity, and it is here that Philippe Dufour trained, at the Ecole d'Horlogerie de la Vallée de Joux. He perpetuates a tradition in which the master watchmaker produces every part of his watches himself and in complete independence. Having completed his studies, in 1967 Philippe Dufour was hired by Jaeger-LeCoultre. From there he joined General Watch & Co, where he was assigned to an assembly unit in the Caribbean. Returning to Switzerland in 1974, he worked first for Gérald Genta then Audemars Piguet. His desire for independence prompted him to buy a fully-equipped workshop in 1978, where he devoted his time to restoring antique watches, learning new skills and extending his knowledge of watchmaking along the way. He went on to make his very first movement, a grande sonnerie for pocket watch: Audemars Piguet ordered five, each requiring two thousand hours of work. In 1989 Philippe Dufour taught himself to use computer modelling software to develop a scaled-down version of his grande sonnerie movement. After two years' work, he presented his new calibre at the 1992 Basel fair. This key moment in his career marked the launch of his own brand, although it was only after travelling to Singapore, where his first watches found buyers, that his business really took off. This first timepiece has since been joined by two others: Duality, with two escapements, and Simplicity. Today Philippe works with his daughter Magali, herself a master watchmaker.