Ultimate Cars, Watches & Hi Fi S02 ep5 : Bernhard Lederer, Blue Watches, [Switzerland]
Interview with Bernhard Lederer
The Blu-Planet, one of the first orbiting timepiece collection, has found its prestigious expression. This original platinum/white-gold jewellery watch was crafted by Bernhard Lederer, the horological creator behind Blu, the Swiss watchbrand that explores new ways of expressing time with advanced mechanical solutions.
BL: I have no special talents. I am only curious and this I think describes it very conveniently. I am
of course very much interested in watchmaking techniques and my curiosity did not stop when I
knew a lot already about the watchmaking.
BL: I have been two pocket watches which I inherited from my grandfather when you put the wrist
watch to your ear, you heard another voice than on the other watch that initialise each curiosity
because why, why they sing in a different song?
BL: As they had been from grandfather I was convinced they are of high value so I went to the
library and I borrowed there books about old historic interesting watches and clocks. Of course
very quick I found out that those two pocket watches inherited from grandpa did not went to the
category of being ___ but by starting to read about watches and watch technology I was just
BL: I continued reading and I started to make my researches how to become a watchmaker and it
was a time where the quartz watches had their big boom so for that everybody told me a
watchmaker, forget it, they only change batteries and that was not what I was interested in.
BL: Somebody told me that there is a factory who is interested in antique clocks and they, by
chance, had their main office in Stuttgart where I was living, so I called there, I met the secretary
and was working there, and he knew that there was one private museum, watch museum with their
own workshop so I went there in the school holidays to make work experience to see if it’s really
something for me and I loved it.
BL: Later in my career I met a well known watchmaker, Sir Josh Daniers, and when I met him the
first watch he made he looked at my hands and he said they are big enough and I looked at him and
I say why, why you tell that. Imagine someone with very thin fingers, this a nervous person’s, the
watchmakers should look like a butcher with very solid hands.
BL: All start was to watch what we called the Blu-planet because it’s a planetary orbit system.
Here the whole dial is turning.
BL: The watchmaking is a profession what you cannot compare with not any other profession in
the mechanic at all. Over the centuries watchmakers invented things to make better time keeping
and if you look to it, I was 30 years of experience with access to many museums, I imagine maybe
I saw 10% of what was invented to make better time keeping. There was no sorrow that I will
reach one the point where they know, I saw all, I know all, and what should I do now.
BL: If you work with old watches and antique clock there are two things who are important. First
you have the chance to learn from the masters and the second chance is to learn from the
watchmakers. This I have to explain that’s not easy to understand because it’s a negative learning.
To learn from the masters is very positive and then you have a watch who is not working any more,
half of the pieces are missing, the other half __ condition and this is the result of the watchmakers
because the watchmakers they think, I am watchmaker, I will repair it and then they are sitting in
the front of a lot of pieces, a lot of wheels a lot of pinions and ___ and then they don’t know what
to do with it. So the worst what can happen to a good clock or watch is the fingers of a
BL: You receive a lot of watches where you can see on the dial what they have been able to show.
The date, face of the moon and you open it and inside is really nothing. Why? Where it comes
from. It is the result of the watchmakers and the watchmakers I don’t want to treat them bad, but
they have one big problem with antique clocks because antique clocks never had been constructed
from A to Z in one hit because one watchmaker started to make the movement and it cost them a
fortune, years, decades later, when the family had again managed to spend to make better the clock
was the day I had already a clock with chiming so they got it to a watchmaker maybe to another
one. If nowadays a watchmaker opens, disassemble everything, he does not find a clear line of
BL: It was for me important when I started to make my own constructions to ensure whoever will
open it, whenever that will be, that the watchmaker can immediately see the clear line of
constructing not being afraid to take out the parts because I want that he is able in any way to put
back the wheels on the right place, that also in 100 or 200 years my watches can be appreciated as
complete and working pieces.
BL: Half of my praying starts to make the construction so I see immediately is this possible or
where and what should I adapt and it’s like a permanent ping pong, if you look to other brands
unfortunately you can find from time to time there was a very good idea from the concept but then
the technique of his had no chance to make a technique behind the idea and then we find watches
who are simply to be called a big compromise and this the consumer feels it, sees it even if you
cannot tell why he feels that it’s not 100% like it should be.
BL: From the technical point of view, it is very, very interesting, but I also with my curiosity
started to reflect why we need watches, why human being want to have a watch, what does a
watches influence our life. So I started also to reflect what is the meaning of time, how good
watches are able to show and represent time and I found out they are not that good because what is
time? Time is 100% pure emotion.
BL: It’s cold, so it seems to be winter, it’s hot, seems to be summer. When you are waiting for your
wife, the minutes don’t pass by, then she is there, and the hours become seconds.
BL: And I found out that the watches how they develop they became thieves, they have stolen
mankind the capacity to enjoy time because the watches they show us with the ___ seconds gone
away, gone away, you missed it.
BL: We understand them as an invitation to reflect what is the meaning of time for you personally
in this special moment. Today, maybe I have to look to the seconds, tomorrow I don’t care for the
BL: Here we have a watch with a retrograde minute indication so it’s a chum back minute hand
and normally on a fly back minute hand like on all retrograde indicating systems there is a big note
in your instruction manual never set the hands counter clockwise, never set the hand backwards.
Now imagine you are sitting somewhere in the airplane, you are on the way to land and the captain
tells you, local time is two hours less than from where we started. What do you do? You don’t
remember the instruction manual, you will not start to turn your watch 22 hours forward because
you know you change the date. Automatically you take your watch and you set the hands two
hours backwards. You will hear a little disturbing noise, you will have a watch not working any
more, and now just look what happens here, all goes backwards, the minute hand rests on zero,
only the hour hand is going backwards, when you go forward again, the system is linked in and all
is fine working again. This is how you can give pleasure to the people and to the consumer who is
wearing a watch.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Bernhard Lederer, Blue Watches, Switzerland