An EsperLuxe Profile: Jean-François Mojon of Cyrus Watches and Chronode
The city of Le Locle in the Canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland
is perhaps not quite as popular as its sister city, La-Chaux-de-Fonds, but it is likely as well known in the watch community as being one of the meccas of the Swiss watch industry. It is here that several of the world’s most successful watch brands have their headquarters (or got their start), and the city – as well as many cities and towns in the region – has given birth to some of the finest watchmakers the Swiss watch industry has ever known, including (but not limited to) Abraham-Louis Perrelet, who in 1777 was credited with inventing a self-winding mechanism for automatic watches.
But growing up in Le Locle isn’t all watchmaking, according to Jean-François Mojon, with whom we sat down recently to discuss his upbringing as well as his current projects. According to Jean-François, there is more to Le Locle that many outsiders don’t see. “I actually grew up in an even smaller village in Switzerland, but very close to Le Locle.” He said.
“The area was really the cradle of the horological world,
but growing up, I was also drawn to the scenery and nature in the area, and I had a lot of close friends with which I did many sporting activities.”
According to Jean-François, his father was a “specialist mechanician in the watch industry”. When we asked him to share his first memory of realizing when the area he came from and what his father did for a living was important to the watchmaking industry, he shared the following: “I remember this one day, when he came back home after his day of work. He showed us these tiny, precision parts of a watch that he’d been working on. It is a distinct memory, my fascination about all of it. I remember being so curious and wondering how it was possible to think of and then execute these types of pieces. I think it was that moment I realized my interest in watchmaking. It was so obviously in my blood, and by the age of fifteen, my path was clear: I would study engineering with an emphasis on watchmaking.”
But Jean-François isn’t just any ordinary watchmaker or engineer. His current company, Chronode, has worked with independent brands for years. Brands such as Urban Jürgensen, HYT, MB&F, Czapek, and more recently, Cyrus, have benefitted from Mojon’s skills and knowledge, utilizing his company’s mechanisms in order to set their timepieces apart.
As of late, however, it is the Cyrus partnership and the acclaim with which the brand has received that has garnered a lot of attention from the media. “I see Cyrus growing in the future.” Says Mojon. “By proposing unique and exclusive products, we’ll ensure this. Cyrus is interpreting time in a way that hasn’t been done before. And even though the brand is fairly new still, this has become who we are. It is a brand that has its own innovative signature, and it is a pleasure and a thrill for Chronode to be a part of that and to be able to partner with the Cyrus team.”
When we asked Jean-François what his favorite project was to work on to date, his answer was refreshingly honest and unabashedly simple. “My favorite project is the next one. We feel most proud of our work when our customer is happy about it. But from a personal stand point, I do feel passionate about any activity that allows me to re-energize myself, specifically if that activity is done outdoors. I grew up doing so much outside and appreciating nature for all that it is. Nature is an infinite world for inspiration.”
And what career would this watchmaker have chosen had his future not involved complications and movements? “I would have probably been an architect. That is a career that combines esthetic and technique, ideally. Although… I guess that’s just like working with watches.”