Atelier Millésime Launches the Monarque Diver with Vaucher Movement

Atelier Millésime was established in 2018 by longtime Singaporean watch collector Benjamin Chee, also the founder of Benjamin Chee Haute Horlogerie.  Atelier Millésime translates as “vintage workshop,” and the brand is a workshop in both a literal and figurative sense – taking design influences from disparate eras and reimagining them in an altogether superior vision. The choice of a Swiss-French name honors the origins of the watches, all of which are handcrafted in a family-owned workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and their ancestral design tradition.

Atelier Millesime Monarque - blue & green

The company’s concept of “fantasy vintage” draws design influences from the great classic wristwatches of the Art Deco period as well as the mid-20th century, joining these element together for a sum that is greater than the parts — combining, for example, teardrop lugs and sector dials — and at the same time raising the bar higher by improving the build quality and reliability of the movements used as compared with their vintage counterparts.

Atelier Millesime Monarque - green dial - angle

Atelier Millésime takes charming elements of esteemed vintage watches from the 1930s (i.e., sector dials), and the 1950s and ’60s (curvaceous teardrop lugs, multiple types of textures and finishing on the dial), combines them with more contemporary design cues (vivid yet warm dial colors), and significantly improves the final design over the original vintage sources of inspiration (raised rather than printed markers on the dials, intricate case finishing, extremely slender yet functional crowns, outstanding movements).

Atelier Millesime Monarque - front-back

As a collector-driven brand, the story of Atelier Millésime is much more than just a simple rehash of vintage designs, but rather a reimagining and refinement of the originals into an altogether more sophisticated design. For example, the movement and case finishing of the Monarque are far more sophisticated than those of the divers of the 1960s. The hands and hour indices are much more intricate, faceted for better visibility, and applied by hand, as compared to the vintage versions which had simple stick hands and printed dials. Much more thought and consideration has gone into the design of every element, particularly the case, crown, dial and hands, with the desire to create a polished and sophisticated overall design.

Atelier Millesime Monarque - blue - side

The Merveilleux and the haute-horlogerie Majestique launched in 2018 and quickly sold out their first run. After a year of continuous refinement and improvement, and to celebrate their first anniversary and the resounding success of both models, Atelier Millésime this year launches three new models – the Monarque, a high-end diver; the Merveilleux Enamel, an elegant dress watch with choice of flinqué or champlèvé guilloché enamel dial; and the Merveilleux II, an improved and more refined version of the classic Merveilleux with a superior movement.

Atelier Millesime Monarque - lume

The Monarque (pictured) is water-resistant to 200 meters, equipped with the refined Vaucher twin-barrel Calibre 3002 automatic movement, which has undergone CLA Chronometric certification and is encased in 316L hand-finished stainless steel, in either Racing Green or Azure fumée dials inspired by historical diving watches of the 1960s. Its 40-mm-diameter case is 12 mm thick and features a 120-click sapphire divers’ bezel. It is priced at $3,900; a 42-mm version is also available on special order. You may order the watch here.

Atelier Millesime Monarque - back

Atelier Millesime Monarque - blue-front

The brand concierge will contact buyers upon order to confirm their desired dial color and size preference.

Furthermore, buyers needn’t worry that the use of a high-end movement will make servicing their watch costly or lengthy: servicing fees are reasonable and done at cost by Atelier Millésime, which has numerous service centers worldwide offering a quick 2-to-4-week turnaround.

Merveilleux Enamel

The enamel dials of the Merveilleux Enamel are handcrafted in the traditional way, first with guilloché carved by hand, then painted in with color and fired multiple times in an enamel oven, with most of the resulting dials being rejected and only the very best selected for installation in a Merveilleux Enamel. These artisanal dials are then installed in the svelte, hand-brushed and -polished steel cases with their signature curving teardrop lugs.

These lugs may look simple but they took many rounds of prototyping to refine into the perfect desired shape and size. While they may be based in spirit on the voluptuous lugs of 1950s watches, those older pieces were mostly under 34 mm in diameter and so adapting these lugs to a larger, contemporary watch involved a lot more than simply enlarging them proportionately. Each lug had to be extensively sculpted and shaped to conform to various wrist sizes while still looking elegant. In the desire to improve durability, the lugs of the Merveilleux are not soldered on, as they would have been in vintage models, but rather are CNC-milled together with the case.

The 100-meter water resistance and screwed down caseback further improve daily wearability and durability, and the crown is also noteworthy, engineered to be both wide and extremely slim, such that it is almost invisible next to the case. These dimensions make it a pleasure to wind and set the watch and offer a perfect balance of elegance and practicality.

Atelier Millesime Merveilleux II - front

Merveilleux II

The Merveilleux II (above) uses the same stylishly slender case, and is now equipped with the Soprod M100 movement in its highest R4 grade, with a daily accuracy of 99.99%, or a tolerance of a mere four seconds per day. The thinness of this exceptional movement allows the Merveilleux’s case to be slimmer and more elegant than that of the Merveilleux I.

The Merveilleux Enamel is available in Ivory, Burgundy and Racing Green, priced at 2,780 Singapore dollars (approx $1,990). For more details, click here.

The Merveilleux II is available in Silver, Burgundy and Racing Green, priced at 2,080 Singapore dollars (approx $1,490). For more details, click here.

All Atelier Millésime watch owners are also accorded special travel benefits, such as complimentary upgrades and amenities, and VIP treatment at hundreds of luxury hotels worldwide, as well as complimentary champagne and priority reservations at many Michelin-starred restaurants around the world.

Finally, with the brand’s mission of handcrafting Watches of Excellence and being a Force for Good, a portion of proceeds will go directly towards providing for the shelter, feeding and care of homeless and abandoned dogs in Singapore, through Atelier Millésime’s adopted dog shelter Gentle Paws.

You can learn more about Atelier Millésime at

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  1. David Anderson

    Having had the opportunity to see the process somewhat behind the scenes I’m excited to see one of these beauties in person. Benjamin Chee has been very gracious about sharing photos of prototypes and seeking feedback. While understandably he can’t do this on a wide scale, I feel fortunate to be one of those chosen to get a behind the scenes look. I do like the concept of a somewhat thin diver with a minimalist dial and thin bezel. His choice of movements is unique and I look forward to seeing a “haute horology” microbrand.

  2. Ned Siegel

    I think the Monarque is a beautiful watch. There are definitely design elements incorporated from iconic timepieces but the overall way in which they come together is what makes this a great watch. But even more than the watch, what convinced me to purchase the Monarque was my interaction with Ben Chee. I’ve never met him in person but we’ve corresponded frequently over the past months. Ben was interested in my thoughts on his prototype, what I liked and what I didn’t. I gave honest feedback, and Ben listened. I’m not a watch designer; I like clean and harmonious designs and I feel that Ben has created a great watch. But, what’s made this such a cool experience for me is having the opportunity to talk with Ben, to exchange ideas and get a sense for what drives his creative vision.

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