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Sketch of a Manufacture Royale Watch

How Manufacture Royale Creates Constant Motion On The Wrist

Detail of Manufacture Royale Voltige Watch
Manufacture Royale's Voltige Watch

With a passion for haute horology and desire to create highly technical, aesthetically advanced timepieces perfect for today’s discerning customers, Manufacture Royale is an independent Swiss watch brand that deftly blends past and present in creative timepieces for today and tomorrow. Each watch collection and each movement unveiled by the brand is incredibly sophisticated and original—typically with constantly moving parts beautifully dancing against the dial. Such is the case with the Manufacture Royale 1770 Voltige watches from the brand’s 1770 collection.

The Fascinating History of Manufacture Royale

Before we go into detail about this series, it is important to get a little behind-the-scenes familiarity with the brand. Manufacture Royale was originally founded in 1770 during the Age of Enlightenment by writer and philosopher Voltaire. A surprising unveiling at the time, the watches built by Voltaire were intricately detailed and engraved. Unfortunately, the brand lasted only about eight years due to Voltaire’s death in 1778. In 2010, three cousins in the watch industry re-launched the brand, focusing on building highly innovative, cutting-edge watches—much like Voltaire did in his day.

Frederique Constant Hybrid Watch
L - 1770 Haute Voltige R - Dial Detail of 1770 Haute Voltige

Inside the 1770 Voltige Collection

The 1770 Voltige collection is the brand’s first series that does not incorporate a tourbillon escapement, but instead features an unusual movement with beautifully designed architecture and constant motion dial side. While the collection’s name reflects the brand’s founder, it was also inspired by the "voltigeur" (a vaulter or a specialized rifleman in 18th-century French military). The synergies between the voltigeur and the Voltige watch revolve around expertise, precision, movement, beauty, and a bit of daring all rolled into one.

Visible on the multi-layered dial side of the watch are the open-worked minute and hour hands, as well as a smaller subsidiary seconds dial at 6:00. Also visible on the dial side are certain important moving parts of the caliber. Essentially, the dial of the 45mm watches displays the movement’s escapement (including pallet fork) and balance wheel. The balance wheel, which is constantly in motion, is particularly beautiful thanks to the fact that it is oversized at 14mm to catch the eye. It is held in place by a single arc-shaped bridge.

Designed and built in-house by the brand, the mechanical self-winding movement (MR05) was several years in development because its 175 components are configured differently than most typical movements in order to showcase the heart of it on the dial side. It offers 40 hours of power reserve and has a transparent sapphire caseback so that the wearer can view the rest of the complex caliber. As with all Manufacture Royale timepieces, the finishing on the entire movement is meticulously done by hand, including angling, hand-engraving and hand-made Côtes de Genève patterns on the mainplate.

An exceptional blend of classic watchmaking and daring innovation, the Voltige watches are built in 18-karat rose gold and in stainless steel. Each watchcase consists of 34 components, and the sunray and satin-finished dials are offered in bold red, rich blue, anthracite gray, and silver. Each watch is finished with a hand-stitched alligator leather strap.

All of the watches are built in Manufacture Royale’s Swiss workshops in Vallorbe—nestled in the Jura Mountains, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking. The brand’s in-house research and development team works side by side with the watchmakers and production departments to create the highly complex timepieces and movements that characterize this luxury independent watch brand. Owning a Manufacture Royale timepiece enables you to stand out in a crowd, to be different and to showcase your knowledge of fine haute horlogerie.

Article by Roberta Naas

Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry industry insider and influencer. A journalist with more than 30 years in the field, Naas pioneered as the first female watch writer in America. An award-winning writer, she travels the world to uncover stories, conduct interviews, and bring the newest watch and jewelry information to the forefront. She has authored six books on watches, writes for such esteemed publications as Forbes and Elite Traveler, and is the founder of www.ATimelyPerspective.com.