Renaud-Louis Chavanis on Finding Right Time for Amplitude
Hong Kong/ Venture/ Profiles

Horologist Renaud-Louis Chavanis on Finding the Right Timing for Amplitude

Horologist Renaud Louis Chavanis on Finding the Right Timing for Amplitude

Amplitude founder Renaud-Louis Chavanis came to Hong Kong with two things in mind: rugby and watches. The 43-year-old French horologist represented Hong Kong on international pitches between 2008 and 2013. On the sidelines, he worked for Rolex in Shanghai and Hong Kong, helming the customer service team of the luxury watch brand in the last five years.

But in September 2023, Renaud added a new title to his CV. One that combines the discipline of a rugby athlete and the manual dexterity and creativity required from a watchmaker.

Renaud opened Amplitude Hong Kong in the hip neighbourhood of Sheung Wan, bringing to life a sleek, two-floor space that caters to both watch collectors and newbies.

Amplitude is divided into three sections. Upon entrance, you’ll be greeted by the retail space, where timepieces kept in glass enclosures gleam under spotlights, their cases reflecting the ambient light. This leads to the workshop area, furnished with state-of-the-art equipment to facilitate Amplitude’s watch repair and restoration services. Here, you will find Renaud every morning in his white lab coat, tinkering with batteries and adjusting intricate watch mechanisms.

Tools are to watchmaking what knives and pots are to cooking. That is why for Renaud, it is important to put a premium on the type of tools craftsmen use as they are essentially the extension of what a watchmaker can do with their fingers.

Amplitude Watch Services Hong Kong

“All our tools and equipment are top of the chain. We are building something that is not common on the ground. You can be a good technician, but no one can be great if you don’t have the proper tools,” Renaud said during our interview at his shop last February. He also emphasised the importance of keeping the space squeaky clean, even daring us to check the shop for any dust.

“You can go around. There’s no dust here because dust is a problem for watches.”

If the ground floor runs the shop’s engine, the second floor breathes life into Amplitude’s mission of providing the best “watchmaking experience.” The masterclass area has dedicated one table per participant, with each workspace furnished with all the basic tools needed to disassemble and reassemble a watch such as tweezers, screwdrivers, and magnifiers. Renaud, who has been running workshops for years, teaches both introductory and advanced classes in this space. He also conducts one-on-one classes for those who plan to carve a career path as a watchmaker.

Amplitude Watch Services Hong Kong

“If you're a newbie, you can come in, spend two hours with me [disassembling a watch]. I will make it simple to understand. If you want to go deeper, you can book a one-on-one with me early in the morning on a Saturday, and we can discuss anything you want to know about watches. But you don’t have to be a connoisseur to come to my classes.”

Renaud, who worked for Rolex for 18 years, seems to have taken the natural course with his venture into entrepreneurship. Back home, the French horologist opened his first shop at around 21 years old.

Amplitude Watch Services Hong Kong

“Back then, the entrepreneur in me wanted more, so I opened a watch repair shop. I mostly [replaced batteries] in a small town with a church square. People were always changing their battery or doing some maintenance on their watches,” Renaud said, recalling his first attempt at running his own business.

After putting this dream on the backburner for nearly two decades to work for the world’s No. 1 luxury watchmaker, Renaud believes the timing is perfect for Amplitude.

As a newly minted entrepreneur leveraging a very specific skill to run his business, Renaud said the biggest challenge in opening Amplitude Hong Kong was the pressure.

“There’s always a new challenge. At the start, my biggest concern was finding a good technician whom I could trust. I found one a week before the opening.”

Renaud shared that Amplitude’s client base began with his inner circle—the rugby community, his friends, and former colleagues and customers. While he is running day-to-day operations, his wife is working behind the scenes to take care of social media and marketing. In March, Amplitude will open its doors to apprenticeship to make way for fresh talents to join its team.

Amplitude Watch Services Hong Kong

Renaud’s vision for Amplitude has always been clear and consistent with his goal of providing a holistic watchmaking experience to his customers.

“[We want to offer] professional service and knowledge. Amplitude is the watch experience.”

Asked for his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, Renaud said with conviction: “Go for it. If you are a hard worker and put in the hours, it's going to work.”

Amplitude is located at G/F, 64 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Visit our exclusive Brand Showcase on Amplitude to know more about their services and watchmaking masterclasses.

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