As the new year begins, we are excited to introduce and welcome two new members to the anOrdain team. Naïs and Carolina are here to assist with watchmaking duties, and we could not be happier to have them on board. Both new team members bring with them a wealth of watchmaking experience.
Born in Portugal, Carolina, moved when she was 14 to Switzerland where she attended École Technique le Locle, a watchmaking college established in 1868, studying and working for four years to complete her VET (Vocational and Educational Training).
Watchmaking, however, was not always her plan. She explains, ‘before I moved to Switzerland, I wanted to become a vet. But the education systems in Switzerland and Portugal are so different, so I thought, since I was in the city of watchmaking (and I have family members who also work in the field), I would give it a try.’
Le Locle, situated in the Jura Mountains, is often cited as the birthplace of watchmaking, and the town has been home to some of the finest manufactures such as Zenith and Ulysse Nardin. If ever there were a place to try watchmaking, Le Locle offered the perfect opportunity. Carolina joins us for a six-month internship.
Our other new team member, Naïs, hails from Metz, a city in the north-east of France. For her, it was pursuing a path in engineering that led to watchmaking. ‘I always loved science and maths, and so I went to an engineering school in Strasbourg,’ she says. ‘I really enjoyed the mathematical element of engineering, so I went on to university to study maths.’
During her third year of studies, Naïs travelled to Rome for Erasmus before finding work experience in a watchmaking workshop back home. ‘This was where my interest in watchmaking really began,’ she says. ‘I applied and got accepted to the British School of Watchmaking in Manchester, were I completed the 3000-hour course for the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Information Program’ (WOSTEP). Naïs joins us to focus on prototyping and decorations, while also ‘helping with assembly from time to time.’
For both watchmakers, anOrdain was a relatively new brand. ‘I’m so glad I know of it now,' Carolina explains. 'It’s amazing to see how much the company has grown in such a small amount of time.’ While she’s here, she wants to learn a 'little bit of everything. I think the dials here at anOrdain are so beautiful. I would love to learn how they make them.’
Indeed, the dials are what also caught Naïs’s attention ‘while scrolling through Instagram during the first lockdown,’ she says. ‘One of anOrdain’s posts caught my eye because of their enamel dials. I’m looking forward to working for a company that allows me to experiment and be creative.’
Naïs at work in the anOrdain studio.
Although both watchmakers arrived in Glasgow under strange circumstances with the city still in full lockdown, they are looking forward to exploring it when it reopens. For Carolina, it's her first time in Scotland, and she's excited to ‘get to properly visit the city and see what Glasgow has to offer.’ Naïs visited briefly a few years ago during her studies in Manchester, splitting the day between Glasgow and Edinburgh. ‘I really enjoyed my trip to Scotland,’ she says. ‘I’m glad I get to live in the city now. Despite it being lockdown, there are still a lot of cool outdoor places to explore here.’
The two watchmakers join the anOrdain team of young creatives, potentially changing traditional perceptions about the watchmaking industry in the process. Naïs says that ‘people are often surprised when I tell them that I am a watchmaker, because I am a young woman. I think they often imagine watchmakers as old men living in the mountains in Switzerland.’
Carolina agrees, explaining that ‘it takes four years to gain a VET in watchmaking in Switzerland, and every year hundreds of young people apply to study. Only around 12 are admitted each year, but there are still a lot of young watchmakers – younger than 18 years old – in Switzerland. And every year more and more girls are getting into the watchmaking industry.’
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