Ultimate Cars, Watches & Hi Fi S02 ep16 : Svend Anderson, Anderson Watches, [Switzerland]
Interview with Svend Anderson
Svend Andersen, worked in several famous watch shops in the Valaisian Alps, Lucerne and Geneva until he got engaged by Patek Philippe in 1969. In 1979 he started as independent creator and ever since he continues to surprise the connoisseurs and collectors world-wide with his amazing watch creations of technical and artistic perfection.
Sven: Well we have a word in French which say creator which will be the creator so the creator is
the different as designer because a designer he make only a design he cannot execute his design.
Sven: I was doing my apprenticeship in Denmark by the end of the 50’s into the 60’s and then but
it was the apprenticeship for after sales service of course because it has no industry in Denmark.
And then when I went to the army it was in there I learned very good English and when I finished I
would like to see how watch is made and so in ’63 I went to Switzerland.
Sven: At that time I was very useful for … it has very many American tourists but of course it was
a higher level as I was used to in Denmark.
Sven: Next to my work by … at home I made some work also and I made the bottle clock
overnight as was in the newspaper, radio, television and then Vatek Philip get an eye on me and
then they ask me why do not come to them and I was working nine years for Vatek Philip in their
compete atelier de complication.
Sven: As I had made the bottle clock I had a lot of articles turning around the world and I was
named the watch maker of impossible. And there I had a contact through a collector who wanted,
historically correct case for movement I started to go to the museum to the library in Geneva to
look in books about Orolotsi and then I started to study pocket watch cases, the English cases,
Louis Car’s cases and German cases, glass with and all kind cases and then I started to make the
reconstruction of this kind of cases as the same time as Oswaldo Patritzi started his anti-quorum
and we was working together there and I went to him and he had a lot of books and information.
Sven: I started for myself in ’79 or ’80 with a case maker. I was a specialist at that time to identify
and reconstruct the gold cases. And this give me also the idea for to continue the design.
Sven: After the pocket watch I started to make wrist watches with small old mini repeater
movements mostly the collectors came and the movements themselves or through anti-quorum to
auction houses and I started also in ’87 I made my first world time watch also and this was the first
watch I brought out with my own idea, my own brand.
Sven: I had also a popular at that time it was Frank Muller. One of my good friends, he was a
friend of the parents of Frank Muller and Frank Muller finished the watch making school and this
friend of mine he came to me and said listen Frank is, he was one of the best pupils in the school
and then he don’t like to go to Patek Rolex, he want to be independent, to do something
independent. And then ok, they say can you not take him here, at the same time, the Patek Philip
people was running after me to ask me if I could restore some of their watches for their private
collection and I told them I have no time for that. So I think when I take somebody who is clever
Sven: One day Frank came to my workshop and we was discussing, I was working he was sitting
next to me as you are and he was really, he get more and more excited what we was doing there
and he would like it and then we did I said I will not engage you, you must be independent in my
workshop when it’s possible, ok, ok, ok he was, and then see you have to make your own work
bench because I know a place. I will do it tomorrow. And next morning he was, he came with the
wooden parts and he made his own work bench in one day.
Sven: He started to make parts my fly back … colour that he was starting to prepare parts for this
to make wheels and all, it was starting well and then in the meantime I accepted to make the
restoring for Patek Philip, I was discussing with Frank, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I would like
that, and so we started with theirs.
Sven: I have always been in contact with the customers also through my apprenticeship and to
work by … in the after sales service so I am not like many watch maker they come out of the
watch making school, they will be put behind the screen.
Sven: When you want to be considered as independent, you must also present yourself to the
public, you must be, you must be the artist, you know in maybe not artist in the way as painter or
as creator, but the artist to who present himself to the public.
Sven: We have members candidates they come to the academy they stay behind they do not budge
within two or three exhibitions, they come out of themselves they see that it’s necessary to be, to
be a public person.
Sven: I know Calibrasi since some years and then one morning he called me, listen they now
financial groups they start to buy all kind of horological plants and material and names and all
that, and then Calibrasi came and tell we should start with something for the independent so we
will not be smudged down to nothing. We started to make demand in the horological newspaper
from then I think it had about 10 watch making magazines at that time and we asked to the
independents would you like to join a group to show your importance and this was the beautiful
worldwide and then we get together seven or eight watch makers and we make the first exhibition
in Le Locklard in the watch museum, we had 20 years anniversary last year.
Sven: People who work together with me I do not explain them what to do and how to do, I
explain them what they need to do and so they have to find out how they would do that. I have one
young guy in my workshop now he is young but I gave him now one thing we have to make a very
fine chronograph with world time on it, a big watch. And he has to make a construction we have
the movement but around the movement we have to make the … ring, the 24 hour ring, to setting
time, the chronograph the perpetual calendar and all linked and he is doing that, he make some
designs with the computer or on paper and now he is making the parts and I don’t think he make
the parts the way I would do it but it don’t matter, I want to see the finished thing.
Sven: I have my band and I don’t want to be a big company, why should I? Why should I make
2,000 watches when I can earn the same with 200? I have the experience now and I want to give
the experience to the people who ask me for it, I don’t want to impose my experience but when
they need to know and when I see I can be helpful I will do that.
Sven: You say you are independent but to be independent you are never independent because I
am, I depend to case makers when I made this 420 watches as the 1884 of course I cannot make
120 cases in my workshop, we have to so I am dependent on them, I am depend to dial makers and
I have some suppliers now who are really friends, they are really doing an effort for me also and on
the other side I need also the customers, I need some distributors it’s important also.
Sven: The luxury watch making is not for tell the time, to tell the time you can see the time on
your mobile phone. When this evolution continue, the situation of today will develop, will
continue there, but when it’s this, demand will stop I don’t know if they come back to the swatch
which only tell time.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Svend Anderson, Anderson Watches, Switzerland