Eric Giroud - the man with time on his hands

The Rake caught up with legendary watch designer Eric Giroud to dial into his creative process.

“The funny thing is,” says Eric Giroud, “I’m not that into watches. I remember receiving my first watch when I was about 13, probably a cheap one, but the watch itself wasn’t so important as what it signified - which was becoming a man. Before I took up watch design I didn’t wear really a watch at all. Oops. I do wear one sometimes now, but I don’t like to change my watch too often, as some men do.”
Giroud, as this little irony would have it, is one of the world’s leading watch designers, despite the fact that you’ve probably never heard of him. He’s the man behind pieces for the likes of Vacheron and Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston, Romain Jerome, MB&F and Tissot, among some 60 brands - most of which he isn’t allowed to name, but most of which you probably can. He’s won at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix - the Oscars of watchmaking. He is, some say, the spiritual heir to Gerald Genta.
Yet Giroud came to watch design something by accident. Trained and working as an architect - “I wasn’t very good,” he concedes - it was only during his 30s, when his wife suggested they go skiing with her extended family, that life took a turn. “There was this very cool old guy there, who wanted to talk about watches and show me some books about watches,” laughs Giroud. The man - Giroud’s wife’s uncle - was Jack Heuer, the watch industry legend behind Tag Heuer. It opened his mind to a new, rather quiet line of work.

Published

February 2020

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