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Watchmaker Dominique Loiseau Dead at 64

Loiseau, whose creativity and expertise fell nothing short of visionary, is credited with creating the most complicated automatic watch in the industry.

Dominique Loiseau, master watchmaker and inventor, died Sept. 13 at the age of 64 in Montreux, Switzerland, following a long illness.

Loiseau, whose creativity and expertise in the art of watchmaking fell nothing short of visionary, is credited with creating the most complicated automatic watch in the industry — the Loiseau 1f4, assembling eight patents in its movement, of which only two units can be produced a year.

Loiseau, whose career spanned three decades, worked with high-end brands such as Omega, for which he created a set of “sand” watches, and Blancpain, where he thought up the Blancpain 1735 — a much sought-after vintage item.

Since January 2012, the Franco-Swiss master watchmaker was developing a new movement for Girard-Perregaux. The eagerly awaited timepiece, dubbed “superwatch” by industry insiders, was supposed to mark the brand’s return to the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair this year, but could not be completed in time due to Loiseau’s health problems.

Initially postponed until yearend, it now remains uncertain when and by whom the watch will be completed. “It’s still being evaluated and reflected on,” a source from the company told WWD.

In a joint statement by Girard-Perregaux and its parent Kering released Thursday, the management expressed its “deep sorrow at the news of the sudden death of [a] legendary watchmaker and philosopher,” offering its “deepest condolences to his family and relatives.

“Dominique was a special person, a visionary who had the genius of creating and crafting masterpieces and, at the same time, to be himself a special ‘mechanism’ of the beautiful circle of watchmakers and all people working in our industry. The watch world has lost one of his most talented sons that has inspired, awed and revolutionized,” the company statement concluded.

Loiseau is survived by two children. A date for a funeral has not been set.