Nicolas Commergnat, the visionary watchmaker: holy Grail between watchmaking History and Big Data

Temps de lecture : 3 minutes

With his eye always on the flea markets and his foot in the blockchain, while his golden fingers are manipulating the star timepieces of the world’s auctions, his ultra-scanner is generating the most valuable database.

Emmanuel Alder / TàG Press +41 (News Agency)
Print version, JSH® Magazine #01/2021 – Subscribe

The world’s experts are consulting Alliance Sàrl because its founder is the only watchmaker in the world to be at the same time at the cross-road between the past and the 4.0 watchmaking, while having a laboratory and analysis expertise. Nicolas Commergnat has added a scientific touch to the assessments of empirical records of images and sales data, and even of know-how experiences.

The watchmaker Nicolas Commergnat in the Phillips auction lounges

From the workbench to hyper-secure encryption

Coming from the restoration watchmaking, this mainstay of the world after-sales service and of education, a disciple of the clockmaker Sven Andersen, is collecting each year on his Geneva workbenches hundreds of watches to be auctioned. Including the most mythical ones, those that are at the top of the list and that Aurel Bacs, founder and president of Bacs & Russo, an auctioneer whose famous charismatic speeches have propelled Phillips to the forefront, entrusts him with. His task is straightforward: “To find the absolute best so that the watch is in no way diminished in value and aesthetics,” he whispers, shyly, almost astonished that he could be highlighted. Because, under his humble watchmaker’s blouse, Nicolas Commergnat is also a well respected figure among the auction houses, flea markets and horological exchanges.

On the other hand, upstream and downstream of the hammer blows that shake the world’s media with their dizzying records, it supplies expert and preservation data to a database of heritage information patiently collected and then rigorously anchored in the blockchain. There, in this self-secured space, the identity characteristics of these much sought-after timepieces are forever locked in.

Mythical watches reveal everything

In charge of the maintenance and the functioning of the watches, Nicolas Commergnat is regularly in contact with the most coveted pieces in the world. The former watchmaking professor at the ifage, loyal to his values of knowledge transmission, is above all a true enthusiast. As a result of his obsession with the fundamentals of watchmaking, he has broken his piggy bank and has acquired an incredible machine, a kind of 3D microscope that scans the treasures entrusted to him for repair or care. He knows that he will probably never see them again, since such pieces, suddenly appearing in the light of an inheritance, will disappear again for several decades or even forever.

A visual imprint of a specific timepiece that allows it to be authenticated

From then on, Nicolas Commergnat methodically captures each watch and each key watchmaking component… Digitizing, referencing… The powerful technological eye of his high-tech 3D scanner can even calculate the thickness of the luminescent material that covers a hand, the depth of an engraving furrow. It also provides the flatness index of surfaces and even their density. As a result, its ultra-resolution images can provide information on the origin of the material, the manufacturing methods and, by deduction, the locations of manufacture and the effective dating.

Once cross-referenced, these thousands of details make it possible to reproduce, in accordance with the practices of the time, an original component that cannot be found, or even to reconstitute a precise manufacturing plan, or even the markings of a guilloché. Nicolas Commergnat is also part of an international network of suppliers and enthusiasts.

Keyence VHX 6000, an ultra precise digital microscope, is generating data that Nicolas Commergnat implements in the blockchain. 3'000 images per scan which, when compiled, produce a complete view from which he can extract or a guilloche pattern or even recreate a STEP file.

Full certification, the available opportunities
All of a sudden, the process of pure passion yields its opportunities. As the ultimate expert, Nicolas Commergnat is the only one who can authenticate the DNA of historical timepieces, so coveted items, to validate or invalidate their descriptions, to deliver their first identity card. He is also the only one to systematically record everything in the blockchain matrix.

Nicolas Commergnat expands his database of 3D profiles and tamper-proof coding keys by about 500 parts per year. For timepieces composed of several hundred microcomponents, this represents thousands of hours spent. This is of interest to insurance companies, to those who hunt down counterfeiters and swindlers, to historians, and to purists too…

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