iW Fall 2020 - Page 91

Loke currently is in charge of the North American Service Center for Louis Moinet . Pictured is the Louis Moinet Memoris Red Eclipse .

Don Loke at his workshop . D Loke dress chronograph on the wrist .
I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A HOPEFUL STORY WITH YOU ABOUT AN AMERICAN MASTER WATCHMAKER WORKING TO ACHIEVE HIS LIFELONG DREAM .
For the past forty-five years , Don Loke has enjoyed a long and successful career as a professional master watchmaker and most recently has launched D Loke , his eponymous bespoke watch collection .
Loke ’ s deep watchmaking training and industry history has prepared him well for this most recent venture .
THE WATCHMAKER Don Loke graduated in 1978 from the Bowman Technical School in Lancaster , Pennsylvania , and then worked with a master watchmaker in Meriden , Connecticut .
After this experience , he went back to Bowman and took clock making courses to finally finish in 1984 . After Lancaster , Loke attended WOSTEP , the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program , in Neuchâtel , Switzerland , where he graduated first in his class .
LEARNING FROM MASTERS While he was at school he met Michel Parmigiani and Philippe Dufour — two master watchmakers and renowned personalities in the Swiss luxury watch industry .
This was just the beginning . Post-graduation , he was invited by Breguet and Jaeger-LeCoultre for training in Switzerland and became the official after-sale person for Breguet in the U . S . when it was still owned by Chaumet . He also worked for two years with Master Watchmaker Dennis Harmon , in Waterbury , Connecticut , after which he became Technical Director of movement maker ETA for the American market . Loke soon joined UTAC Americas ( which distributed Audemars Piguet , Breguet , Bertolucci , and Girard-Perregaux ) as its technical director .
During this time , Loke also learned from Master Watchmaker Daniel Roth in Switzerland , who taught him the ins-and-outs of the highly complex tourbillon mechanism . By the mid-1990s , Loke worked with prominent companies such as Sotheby ’ s , Christie ’ s , Gerald Genta , and Daniel Roth .
When Loke found out that Michel Parmigiani was striking out on his own , Loke reached out to his old friend and eventually became the U . S .
representative for Parmigiani Fleurier for more than six years . Don even interacted with legendary horologist George Daniels , discussing his new escapement and the double-wheel escapement Loke eventually developed . After seven years , he turned the escapement into a Solidworks program .
HIGH-LEVEL SERVICES When Don Loke is not working on his own bespoke projects , he services incredible watches , ranging from minute repeaters to chronographs . He also restores intricate timepieces that require special attention , recreating parts from scratch to make identical versions of the original components . At the same time , he currently oversees the North American Service Center for Louis Moinet — a brand that makes exceptional watches that range between $ 80,000 and $ 350,000 .
As you can see , Loke ’ s specialty is working on high-complication timepieces and his passion for watches and watchmaking has only augmented over the decades .
OWN BRAND : D LOKE After all these years of dedicating his time to other brands and watches , Don Loke recently began to make eponymous bespoke watches . He established two shops . One is the “ clean room ” to house machinery for fine turnings , cuttings , wheel making , and pinion producing . He has a microscope for measuring , a guilloché machine with forty-two discs for dial decorating , and an oven for enameling .
This room is also where Don Loke stores his sketches , drawing , layouts , and 3D modeling . The other is the “ dirty room ” for more heavy type work . Prototyping takes place at his shops and production models are executed with CNC technology .
The first D Loke watch model is a chronograph dress watch — an idea Don Loke stored in the back of his mind for decades — where the chronograph pushers are hidden from sight .
Inside the 5 ATM water-resistant titanium case is a dial with asymmetric sub-dials and ornately cut center hands resembling blades . The rich blue details on the dial change color depending on the light , and there ’ s a crown at 9 o ’ clock to rotate the inner timing bezel .
The limited edition D Loke dress chronographs run on chronometer-rated Concepto calibers , a hybrid Swiss movement based on Valjoux 7750 .
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