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Interview with Joël Dicker Watch chat with the Geneva-based novelist

— The author of “The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair” likes cars and speed. So what about watches and time?

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Joël Dicker. Harry Quebert. Baltimore. These are all names that ring a bell among fans of literature and many others too. The 30 year-old writer from Geneva is now the ambassador of the DS car brand that partnered GMT magazine for its 15th birthday party held at HEAD Genève. Joël Dicker is adding another string to his bow by serving as director and starring in the DS web series leading up to an exclusive novel.

Although he’s not a watch connoisseur as such, Joël Dicker is certainly not unappreciative of the classic, complex or innovative timepieces produced by the watch industry. The young author already translated into more than 30 languages shared a few thoughts on the topic with Worldtempus.

Which was your first watch?
I was given my first watch at the age of four: it was a Flik Flak with a blue strap! I later had a classic Swatch steel watch, but I don’t remember the exact model….

 Which model would you like to wear now?
The one I have at the moment suits me just fine: an Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon. I like its sporty and classic nature: black, discreet and yet original.

And what kind of watch would you like to give your sweetheart?
Not a watch from a specific brand. On the contrary, if I could, I’d create a watch from scratch for my girl!

What does time represent for you?
Money! Just kidding. Time… embodies the ambiguous relationship between past time and the time we have left to carry out our plans and to live. So time is ambiguity.

What does Swiss watchmaking mean to you?
Pride in having a national product that is universally appreciated abroad! It’s a benchmark, a guarantee of quality and of excellent workmanship. That has an impact both on the image of watchmaking in general and on Switzerland itself.

When you are touring abroad, do people talk to you about Swiss watchmaking?
Not about Swiss watchmaking in particular, but about all the things that symbolise Switzerland, including watches. The latter are of course a reference in terms of Swiss excellence in this domain. Afterwards, people also talk to me about banks and chocolate of course.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I read all manner of things, although I wouldn’t personally be capable of writing any and every kind of literary genre.

How about a thriller?
No! Murder, blood and torture are definitely not my scene. I’m a romantic…

The notion of time is strongly present in your books. Can you tell me a bit more? 
Yes indeed, all my books have a strongly embedded concept of time. There are constant flashbacks to the life of the main protagonist, a lot of waiting, a sense of protracted duration. There is always a tie with past, present and future time, so it definitely underpins various situations.

What was your latest literary crush?
A bookseller recently recommended a book written by a pair of little-known authors and the title was also unfamiliar. I loved its unexpected side. It was a very different genre from anything I’d previously read. American Desperado by John Robert and Evan Wright is all about the New York mafia, murder, cocaine… I highly recommend it!

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