Montrealer Alexandre Beauregard is the first Canadian watchmaker to be selected at Geneva Grand Prix d’Horlogerie, and to join the ranks of the most well-known timepiece creators in the world. Reinterpreting the traditional idea of a jewelry watch, we chatted with Alexandre about his unique, custom-made and on-demand-only timepieces, made of precious and rare stones--including his first collection, Dahlia, featuring a centre flying tourbillon and a dial of cut stones polished by hand. —Noa Nichol
Hello Alexandre! Tell us a bit about yourself to start.
As a child I started drawing very early and all the time. I loved to draw, read and write and still do. Creating was my normal state and I would draw city, houses and cars for hours. Naturally, in school, I went toward art. I studied graphic design, fashion design and cinema and then became a businessman. The art and business side of creation are equally appealing to me. I spend hours making Excel sheets and designing watches. They are the two sides of the same coin. Having a strong partner in my life was also key to me. Together, we built companies throughout the years, which employ 30 people and provide a summer job to our 14- and 15-year-old teenagers.
Tell us about Beauregard, the brand. What is it like being the "new kid on the block" in an industry full of so many established brands?
I was very well received by established and historic brands and many of them came to meet me at SIHH and Baselworld. I propose a vision of the jewelry watch that is very different from what has been done in the past years and every Dahlia watch is a unique piece so we are not a significant menace to anyone’s market. The fact that I am Canadian is, I think, an advantage; we are seen as easy to approach, honest and kind people. I believe this is true and I certainly try to live up to that reputation. That is probably part of the reason, I think, I’m well received by this small community.
What is the Beauregard (your) aesthetic? What is your personal creative philosophy? And what sorts of things do you draw inspiration from?
At the core of Beauregard aesthetic are the stones and the way we work them: bold, rounded and juicy shapes in a classic and wearable case. It is very important for me that the watches I design be wearable. Another imperative is beauty. Beauregard watches are pieces of jewelry. If you want to know the time, you usually look at your smartphone. So watches need to be captivating, magical objects with a strong design and flawless execution. If I am not smitten by my design, I keep working, this is my creative philosophy. Talent is a great tool, a facility but it will not get you to greatness without perseverance and a strong work ethic. It might sound like a heavy burden but when you are passionate about what you do, it gets really easy to work 14 hours a day and think about your projects pretty much all the time. Inspiration to me is volatile; it’s magic that happen when you least expect it. I remember visiting the Louvre in Paris with my wife and kids and being in awe with the windows locket mechanism, which are not part of the exhibition. I also got one of those magical moments looking at the fabric covering the chairs in Fontainebleau castle. Obviously I draw inspiration from flowers as well!
What did it feel like/mean to you to the first Canadian watchmaker to be selected at GPHG and to join the ranks of the most well-known timepiece creators in the world?
Honestly you don’t have time to reflect and think about it. We entered the GPHG a few minutes before the deadline, worked on preparing the press release while making on a prototypes for another collection, putting together the website, doing a photo shoot in Geneva, coaching my son’s soccer team … you know, life! Yesterday we finished preparing the stones for yet another model, I sent the answers for an Ukrainian magazine and today I am doing yours while answering demands from the Ritz Carleton and the Four Season for my other business in Montreal. I feel privileged to be able to have conversations with some of my idols in the watch industry like Maximilian Busser, Vianney Halter and Jean-Marie Schaller but I still feel like a humbled guest. They are welcoming and make me feel like one of them, but I will give it a few years before celebrating my success.
What are you currently wearing on your wrist?
I am wearing the idea of a watch. I designed a very intricate and manlier watch last year and we are still working on prototypes. I am saving my wrist for this watch : )