A masterful tourbillon for the independent, elegant woman who goes her own way
A tourbillon is considered the crowning glory of the watchmaker's art. With the Chapter 4.2 Lily, the young, innovative Swiss watch manufacturer BA111OD now presents a very special tourbillon: one designed especially for ladies and thus something very special among the rare masterpieces. Responsible for the design of the Chapter 4.2 Lily is Liliane Murenzi head designer at BA1110D and one of the few women who has managed to go her own way in the male-dominated watch industry.
In a world where men dominate in all sectors, Thomas Baillod, the founder of BA111OD, has decided to surround himself with strong women, driven by the same passion for beautiful watchmaking and love for extraordinary human adventure. Active for more than 15 years in watch and jewelry design, she joined the BAllIOD team in 2021. She quickly grasped Thomas Baillod's expectations. She designed the brand's first watchmaking complication, the Chapter 4.1 The Veblen Dilemma Tourbillon, which was enthusiastically accepted by the market immediately.
For his feminine Tourbillon version, Thomas Baillod gave his Senior Designer carte blanche: "Create THE watch you would like to wear, make yourself happy! Liliane Murenzi was very touched by the trust shown in her, especially with regard to the most prestigious watchmaking complication, the tourbillon, and she imagined the piece that would accompany her in her daily life. "Soft and strong, today's woman is multiactive.
As a token of appreciation for Liliane Murenzi's outstanding work, the new Ladies Tourbillon Chapter 4.2 bears the name Lily (Liliane's nickname). Birgit Hügli-Herrmann, founder of POLO&LUXURY met the creative business woman, mother and entrepreneur Liliane Murenzi for an interview.
Liliane, you have been working successfully in the watch industry for 15 years. Actually, this segment is rather a male domain. What made you decide to look for your professional environment there?
After training as a jeweler at the Ecole d'Art in La Chaux-de-Fonds, I started my career with an internship in a watch design studio.
There, I learned how to be versatile, and I perfected my attention to detail. After that, I gained experience in various design studios - for over 15 years, I was lucky enough to work for the biggest names in watchmaking. Watchmaking is an industry that appears male-dominated, because men are usually at the head of big companies and therefore have the most media exposure. There are actually a lot of women in watch design but since most brands speak in the first person, we remain out of the spotlight.
How did you come into contact with BA111OD? And what makes BA111OD stand out as an employer?
Thomas Baillod, the founder and CEO of BA111OD is an ex-colleague and friend of my sister. The watchmaking world is very small, and everyone knows each other, directly or indirectly. Thomas invited me onto his project to design the brand’s first tourbillon, which has its own technical constraints and design details. It was a professional opportunity that I couldn’t refuse! What encouraged me to later join the BA111OD team was the set of values that the brand conveys: transparency, authenticity and honesty. Since the release and success of the tourbillon, Thomas has put his trust in me and has given me a lot of freedom in designing new projects.
How do you go about designing a new watch model? Is it different when you design a men’s or a women’s model?
Yes, of course, designing a watch for men is very different from designing one for women. Depending on the brief, I analyze the market and trends to stay in tune with what’s happening in the industry, then I can start to create. But really, anyone can wear any kind of watch, and I think it’s wonderful to appropriate a model that wasn’t necessarily made with us in mind. I wear a lot of “masculine” watches because I like watches that have character.
Liliane, how would you describe the design Chapter 4.2 Lily? What type of woman did you have in mind when you designed the Chapter 4.2 Lily?
The Chapter 4.2 model wasn’t initially planned. During a conversation with Thomas, I said that his collection was lacking a rose gold model. He said: “Go ahead and design it!” and that’s how it started. I drew the watch that I wanted to wear on my own wrist, a watch with character, with life, with technical details, that was still elegant. As for the name, Chapter 4.2 Lily, that was easy. Thomas feels strongly about transparency with his collaborators, so naturally he asked me to give the model my own name. I was proud to accept, as I think this watch really represents the multifaceted woman of today – a business owner, an employee, a mom, in tune with her own time, as I am.
You have chosen a rose gold case for the Chapter 4.2 Lily. What was your reason for choosing this gold variant, which is rarely used for watches?
Based on the tourbillon movement, this model is made of 4N rose gold because first, I love rose gold – I think it’s a color that is so warm and that we find so little in watchmaking because it’s harder to work with! Rose gold watches are most often made of 5N, so contain more copper. I wanted to put this color back into the spotlight because I find it lively, soft and elegant.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I take my inspiration from many different things. In architecture, I like to observe shapes and combinations of materials, and I also look for elements in nature that are harmoniously proportioned. Little everyday things inspire me. In my creative process, I get a lot of “flashes” and can quickly picture the final product in my head. Then I get my computer and start to draw, to turn what I imagined into reality. There are sometimes technical constraints, but there are always solutions to make them possible.
What was the biggest challenge for you in designing Chapter 4.2 Lily?
I’d say the most difficult thing was stopping and finalizing the design at a certain point. I’m a real perfectionist and I love detail, so I always see something to change in projects I create. But this model was not the most complex I’ve had to design. . .
by Birgit Hügli-Herrmann, Polo & Luxury
Original language: English