Français | English

Pecqueur Motorists “First Edition”: Bespoke motoring lifestyle on the wrist

Image - Pecqueur Motorists “First Edition”: Bespoke motoring lifestyle on the wrist

By Hubert de Haro

We met up with some of the people involved in an exciting new watchmaking project taking an innovative approach to both watchmaking technology and marketing. In the latest chapter of the Pecqueur Motorists saga we highlight the main features of the very first Pecqueur Motorists watch, illustrated by images of the prototype, now in its final stages of development.

The BPM Group (Bornhauser Performance Moteurs), driven by a love of fine mechanics, was founded by Patrick Bornhauser. His fascination with the multidisciplinary nature of the mechanical world led him to the idea of creating the Pecqueur Motorists Club. This club aims to build bridges between diverse enthusiasts of cars, motorbikes, boats, and aviation.

Patrick Bornhauser, the great-grandson of a master watchmaker responsible for the town clock of St-Gallen in Switzerland, has always been deeply interested in haute horlogerie. His journey in this field took an interesting turn when he learned that the differential mechanism used in cars was patented in 1827 by the talented watchmaker Onésiphore Pecqueur. Inspired by this discovery, Bornhauser decided to develop an haute horlogerie timepiece. This timepiece, featuring a Dual Time GMT complication, would pay homage to Onésiphore Pecqueur and also serve as a key to the Pecqueur Motorists Club.

Hamdi Chatti, a veteran in the watch industry, is overseeing the watchmaking aspect of the Pecqueur Motorists project. He explains, “In every Pecqueur Motorists collection to come, there will always be a differential. We will endeavour to showcase it through new complications that we are developing with our partner, LTM – Le Temps Manufacture.”

The concept of integrating a differential into a watch raises the question: How can a differential play a key role in developing a new watch? This innovative approach highlights the unique intersection of automotive and horological mechanics, a testament to the creative vision of the BPM Group.

Imagine, if you will, that you have the first prototype of the Pecqueur Motorists watch in your hands. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the bridge at 7 o’clock. This unusual piece, whose sleek lines are reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower, protrudes onto the dial. At the top end, two rubies signal the presence of two toothed wheels, the larger of which frames a view into the heart of the movement, between its spokes.

The stepped architecture of the dial highlights the inter- play of overlapping surfaces, where each layer is its own disc. As Christophe Beuchat of the Comblémine dial maker, who created the dial of the Pecqueur Motorists watch, explains: “The dial design is complex, with its dif- ferent levels and varied textures. It is made up of seven pieces, requiring the addition of 2.5mm-tall ‘feet’ [imme- diately under the dial, to attach the dial to the movement].

These are relatively high, and quite rare in the industry.” It was a significant challenge, and one that Comblémine, which has been located in the Val-de-Travers since 2014, overcame with perseverance and ingenuity. A close inspection of the case also exercises the imagi- nation. Try to prolong the lines of the case surround that encloses the watch’s round face, and you’ll end up with a shape that’s almost an ellipse. That’s no coincidence, because the first elliptical compass was invented by a young Onésiphore Pecqueur around 1810. This is just one subtle nod by Stellantis Design Studio to the ge- nius inventor. Aurélien Bouchet, head of AB Concept, which assembled the case of the Pecqueur Motorists watch, readily acknowledges this historical influence.

“The Pecqueur project conveys a genuine sense of history through a piece of mechanical art. Being fasci- nated by this world myself, I was incredibly motivated to get involved in this magnificent adventure.” The designers have maximised the interplay of light ef- fects across the dial, incorporating a variety of finishes including Geneva stripes (a prominent visual signal), sandblasting and diamond-polishing. Expert artisans complete the effect with brushed, polished and satin surfaces on the case. The discreet three-part signature “Différentiel – Swiss Made – Onésiphore Pecqueur” and the circular logo bring a final elegant touch to the watch.


Squaring the circle

“The designers from Stellantis Design Studio drew inspiration from the wheels of a watch movement,” notes Hamdi Chatti. “The case and dial were designed with the help of compasses. The perfect harmony of these different circles, each fulfilling its own function, places the differential in the spotlight.” The result is visually stunning: three off-centre auxiliary dials and two windows nest together like interlocking gears, subverting all the traditional stylistic codes. But what, in fact, do these displays show? The main dial at 11 o’clock indicates hours and min- utes, as expected.

A semicircular aperture at 1 o’clock reveals a number (identified by a white triangle) that can be selected via the upper pushpiece on the left of the case. Each number from 0 to 12 corresponds to a time zone, with daylight hours against a light grey background, and nighttime on dark blue. The hours and minutes on the auxiliary dial at 4 o’clock corre- spond to a different time zone, which can be set as follows: once the hour has been selected with the up- per left pushpiece, the lower left pushpiece can be activated to automatically synchronise the time of the second time zone. The small disc inset into the aux- iliary dial provides day/night confirmation. Seconds are shown on a small subdial at 6 o’clock.

Applied genetics

The dial and case of the Pecqueur Motorists watch en- close an unusually complex calibre. Its design and con- struction were entrusted to the discreet but prestigious Le Temps Manufacture (LTM), located in Fleurier in the Val-de-Travers, and founded in 2008 by entrepreneur Sylvain Jacques. The spec sheet of the Pecqueur Differential Dual Time LTM 5021 calibre speaks volumes.

The stepped gears and sweeping lines of the differential reveal the DNA it shares with the patent registered by Onésiphore Pecqueur in 1827. By faithfully deconstructing the tech- nical discoveries of a bygone age, LTM’s engineers are laying claim to a pedigree. The LTM differential consists of a central element in the shape of a cross, framed by two large horizontal wheels known to watchmakers as “mobiles”. On either side of the central mechanism, two smaller vertical pin- ions screwed to the central plate make up the horizon- tal arms of the cross.

“The major advantage of the differential is that it doesn’t interfere with the watch’s operation when the time zone is adjusted. That means greater precision,” Hamdi Chatti explains. In other words, the Pecqueur Differential Dual Time LTM 5021 calibre continues to beat at 28,800 vibrations per hour, or four “ticks” per second, even when the pushers are in operation. The balance and spring assembly thus retains its isochro- nism throughout the movement’s 60-hour power re- serve. The movement’s aesthetic appeal belies the fact that it is made up of 237 components, contained in a depth of just 7.73 mm and a fitting diameter of 37.8 mm (16¾ lignes). Truly a remarkable achievement.

Pecqueur Motorists Club

The Pecqueur Motorists watch is intended for enthusi- asts of the mechanical arts, many of whom will not yet have access to the rarefied circles of haute horlogerie.

They will appreciate the technical ingenuity that goes into incorporating a differential that is genetically faith- ful to the spirit of its inventor, and the complex tiered architecture with its multiple displays, arranged around three off-centre auxiliary dials and two windows. The emblem of the Pecqueur Motorists Club is an avant-garde timepiece with a minimalist aesthetic; a distinguished sports watch that reveals its pedigree with the utmost discretion. It is the mark of the exclu- sive “Bespoke Motoring Lifestyle” approach, as con- ceived by Patrick Bornhauser. Produced in a limited series of 25, the “First Edition” collection of the Pecqueur Motorists watch is both im- possible to categorise, and universal. Throughout the months of meetings and research, it has never failed to surprise us and pique our curiosity.

It will doubtless emerge as one of the mechanical revelations of spring 2023. This watch shows that haute horlogerie can give rise to innovative projects, for which historical legiti- macy provides the soundest of foundations.