It takes more than a little courage to step into an arena that’s always been dominated by Old World experts. But Alexandre Beauregard, the first Canadian watchmaker to be selected at the Geneva Grand Prix d’Horlogerie, has been fierce about watch- and jewellery- making for most of his life. He started making unique timepieces with a friend in his dad’s garage when he was just 17. By age 35, the Montrealer founded his watchmaking company Beauregard SA in Geneva, Switzerland, setting himself up amongst the world’s luxury timepiece giants.
Working with world-renowned lapidary artist Yves Saint-Pierre, the company produced its first timepiece collection, Dahlia. With its leafy motifs, pastel colours, a centre flying tourbillon and a dial of cut stones polished by hand, the collection blurs the line between stolid watchmaking and expressive jewellery-making. A true transcontinental project, the design and stone cuts are made in Montreal workshop, while other components and timepiece itself is assembled in Switzerland. Described as “a garden in the middle of summer,” Dahlia earned Beauregard a spot at the Geneva’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the Oscars of watchmaking, placing as a finalist alongside brands like Van Cleef & Arpels, Bvlgari and Chopard. Not bad for a Canadian upstart launched less than a decade ago. beauregard.ch
Where in the world have you felt happiest?
In a bed. A comfortable bed, anywhere in the world, is a magical thing after a day of discovery, endless walking and sparkling meetings.
To get away from it all, I go to:
A hammock under palm tree’s shade, the sound of the ocean, a soft wind and a good book.
What’s the one thing you pack for every trip?
My swimsuit. Even if I go to the Moroccan desert, there is a chance I might find a pond or a small pool. I love water.
What’s your essential item for making travel more comfortable?
Skinny jeans. Total comfort and a trillion times classier than sweatpants.
What’s your guilty pleasure while travelling?
Crème brulée. So far, the best one is to be found at l’Hotel de Ville in La Chaux-de-Fond, Switzerland.
What’s your pet travel peeve?
People that bring two, three and sometimes four suitcases inside the airplane cabin. Caring for yourself is good; caring for others is better.
What piece of travel advice do you love to share?
I don’t have any. Travels are for adventure and discovery.
Who is your favourite travelling companion?
Books. I find it hard to sleep on planes and I have seen all the movies they offer.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on your travels?
Over a dozen names come immediately to mind, but an unusual one is a metalsmith I met in Québec City. He was a captivating storyteller with a sharp mind and was extremely knowledgeable.
What trip-of-a-lifetime lies ahead for you?
I lost my heart in….
Italy. My soul is more attracted to Paris, my mind to the United States, but my heart took a new beat while in Italy. I’m even learning the language in my very few-and-far-between spare moments.
What’s the place you are most nervous about visiting?
Asia. A lot of our expectations about foreign countries are forged by movies and Asian movies are not so well distributed in America. So it’s hard for me to picture and apprehend that culture.
Which travel experience most changed your worldview and why?
Havana. I took my wife and nine- and 10-year-old kids to stay in a Havana hotel located a one-hour walk from the city centre. Our kids realized what it means to have very little, live in poor conditions and still be a caring human being.
Tell us about a time when you got lost and what you learned from it.
I drove to New York with my wife and kids, and on our way back to Montreal we got lost in a tangle of highways. I learned that I am not fun to be around when I’m lost and that I am a bit of a control freak.
If you could live in any other city in the world (other than your own), which would it be and why?
Paris. To me the whole city is bliss for the eye and the soul; I am very sensitive to beauty. Even while visiting Le Louvre I kept looking out the windows.