Décors Guillochés

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Yann von Kaenel
Yann von Kaenel

› Yann von Kaenel

...the science behind the technology

Yann von Kaenel, born in 1967, has a doctorate in engineering science and has been familiar with the craft of guilloché work as practised by his father since his earliest childhood. He already had a varied research career behind him when he took over the management of Décors Guillochés.
In 1997 he defended a thesis on the deposition and characterisation of layers of diamond synthesised in vapour phase and then left for Quebec to work at the Institut National de Recherche Scientifique (National Scientific Research Institute) (INRS) on the development of a device capable, by means of a laser ablation measurement technique, of detecting different types of materials and discovering seams of them in mines.

On his return to Switzerland, he worked with EPFL for a year before joining the Colibrys team with responsibility for engraving (plasma, chemical and other techniques) on very thin layers.

In 2003 Yann weighed up all his experience together with his desire for independence. To sum up, he knew how to locate an ore seam, develop a machine and optimize its performance and he also knew about engraving. So joining the family firm was the logical next step.

In May 2004 he put on his working overalls and trained himself in all the techniques of guilloché work, from adjusting the various tools to creating motifs, including the engraving of rotors, dials and steel stamping dies. One of the conditions laid down by his father was that before taking over the management of the company, he needed to know how to do everything his employees did, to qualify him to discuss matters with authority and be the boss by virtue of his skills, not just by being the owner.

This is how Yann became manager in July 2005 although he did not swap his overalls for a pair of white gloves...

Julien Toninelli
Julien Toninelli

› Julien Toninelli

Julien Toninelli was immersed in watchmaking from a very early age due to the enthusiasm of his father who handed down his taste and respect for the traditions of craftsmanship. The art school of La Chaux-de-Fonds (jewellery section), where he started studying in 1997, enabled him to develop his passion for drawing and he revealed a real talent for the design and creation of objects.

Julien complemented these skills with further training as a gem-setter. His creativity surprised and impressed people even while he was still in training. He very soon began to accumulate prizes and distinctions. For example in 1999 (when he was only 19) he won 2nd prize in the ROWENTA watchmaking design competition and in 2000 he took 1st prize in the Calvin Klein Watch international jewellery design competition.

He gained his first professional experience working for the most prestigious brands.

Julien Toninelli opted for independence in 2005, opening his first workshop and boutique at La Neuveville, the village of his childhood, on the shores of Lake Biel. After his meeting with Yann von Kaenel, in 2007, the two men found themselves in perfect agreement, both professionally and personally. Julien took the GUINEL project in hand. He created and developed a new collection of exceptional jewellery, marrying manual guilloché work with fine gems. In 2012, Julien and Yann took another step forward, establishing a full relationship between Décors Guillochés SA and the Toninelli workshop and boutique.

René von Kaenel
René von Kaenel

› René von Kaenel

A true son of the area (he was born in Vieux-Prés, on 19.12.1936), the Chairman of Décors Guillochés SA is responsible for the final inspection of the pieces and the production of stamping tools. He has been living in Chézard-St-Martin ever since he came down from the high pastures in 1939, when his father was called up.

After a very short period as a motor mechanic in a garage, at the age of 16 he took a job in a workshop making stamping dies and stayed there for 12 years. Resourceful and full of ideas, and endowed with a sharp eye, in 1964 he went into partnership with his friends L'Eplattenier and Blandenier, hand engravers. At this point, the future of René and guilloché work began to take shape, laying the foundations for integrating mechanics into the engraving process, with the meeting and alliance of art-school style craftsmanship with mechanics. René then worked a little with pantographs, before devoting himself to engraving on steel, a field in which he was to work for more than 7 years.

In the late seventies, he bought the guilloché machines belonging to Mr. Béguelin, who had just given up the business. Since then, René von Kaenel has never strayed from guilloché work, creating hundreds of different decorations, all absolutely original.

 L'Eplattenier, Blandenier et Cie SA quickly made its mark as a front-ranking firm in the watchmaking world (primarily in guilloché decoration of dials and rotors) and in the 1990s, it began to be approached by Stern (in Geneva) and Metalem (in Le Locle). After L'Eplattenier and Blandenier retired (in 1996), the firm was bought jointly by René von Kaenel and Metalem.

Renamed RVK Guillochage SA in 1997, it passed into the sole ownership of Metalem in 1998. RVK took over the dial market, while René von Kaenel, whose art has a world-wide reputation, was to retain his specialities and continue to perform guilloché decoration on steel and rotors in his home workshop, in collaboration with Christiane Tripet.

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