Playfulness is an easy thing to forget in design, especially among the constraints of watches and other industrial goods. There’s an impulse to create something ruthlessly functional, classically beautiful, or futuristically game-changing, and it’s easy to get so caught up in that desire that the joy of a piece is lost. Life’s too short not to have fun, after all, and there’s a certain magic to a watch where you can tell the designer enjoyed themselves. This truth was never lost on Roger Tallon. Through a remarkably varied half-century in design, Tallon had a hand in everything from helicoid staircases to portable televisions to the legendary French TGV Atlantique bullet train—as well as the weird and wonderful Lip Mach 2000 Dark Master chronograph.
Born May 6, 1929 in the heart of Paris, Tallon seemed destined to be involved with machines. A childhood fascination with airplanes quickly segued into the smaller, more tangible world of household gadgetry, and at 21 he earned his engineering degree. For the first three years of his career he was a pure mechanical engineer, working for Caterpillar France and designing industrial machinery for DuPont. A chance meeting in 1953 with legendary industrial designer Jacques Viénot changed his fate, and later that year Tallon went to work at Viénot’s Technès design consultancy firm.