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10.NOVEMBER.2023 | Paris, France

Frédéric Hamel joins the International Heritage Fair

Artisan d’art Frédéric Hamel showcases the guilloché lathe manufactured in Switzerland in 1926 which he now uses in his work with metal and wood.

As part of the International Heritage Fair, which took place at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris from 2-5 November, “artisan d’art” (art craftsman) Frédéric Hamel, a cabinet maker at Ateliers SP, demonstrated how to operate a 1926 guilloché lathe, a machine intended to create geometric decoration on watch dial backs. Now, Frédéric uses the lathe to work not only with metal, but also wood.

Paris, November 6, 2023 — Artisan d’art Frédéric Hamel from Ateliers SP, took part in the International Heritage Fair (Salon International du Patrimoine Culturel), a significant event for the art, crafts and heritage sector, held from November 2nd to 5th at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France.

This year’s theme, “Transmission”, aligns with one of the core values of the heritage sector – passing down knowledge, skills and culture to future generations. The event aims to highlight the importance of transmission and perpetuation of skills within the sector. Fine craft companies, spanning from individual workshops to art manufacturers, play a pivotal role in preserving and promoting heritage in France. These companies embody a vision of society focused on sustainability through activities such as restoration, conservation, creation and knowledge dissemination.

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Artisan d’art Frédéric Hamel, a cabinet maker at Ateliers SP, displayed a historic guilloché lathe, known also as tour à guillocher, manufactured in Switzerland at La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1926 by the Lienhard company. This machine exemplifies the precision and intricacy involved in creating geometric decorations on metal, particularly for watch dial backs. Guilloché, a decorative technique employing engine turning, produces a precise and repetitive pattern on the underlying material. Initially used by Breguet on watches to conceal scratches, guilloche designs evolved to more intricate patterns on dials.

Frédéric shared his expertise on operating the guilloché lathe with visitors to the fair, including notable attendees such as Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and Stéphane Galerneau, the President of Ateliers d’Art de France. Frédéric’s presentation stood alongside the displays of two antique piano restorers, Sylvie Fouanon (Pianos Balleron) and Marion Lainé (Marion Pianos), as well as Cyrille Jourdain from Atha Atelier Harmonium.

Founded in 1994 by Pierre Chevalier, the International Heritage Fair, organized by Ateliers d’Art de France since 2009, has become a crucial annual event, attracting over 300 exhibitors and around 20,000 visitors every year, including professionals and enthusiasts from around the world. The fair provides a significant forum for discussions on heritage-related topics, contemporary challenges and the promotion of craftsmanship in France. It serves as an opportunity for artists, professionals and heritage enthusiasts to engage in meaningful discussions about the challenges and opportunities in preserving exceptional skills for future generations.