Fine watchmaking just got even more precise.On April 26, The Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), the industry’s de-facto governing body that shapes its principles, presented a white paper that consolidates and categorizes fine watchmaking, in New York.
FHH’s Chairwoman and Managing Director Fabienne Lupo and Pascal Ravessoud, director of delegations and general secretary of the organization, presented the paper in New York. It was completed last year in French.
To serve as a reference guide to both professionals and laymen, the document combines the efforts of FIHH’s Cultural Council whose 46 independent, international experts from across the craft spent three years forging the white paper on a pro bono basis.
The unified document defines Haute Horlogerie as “excellence in watchmaking, the techniques of watchmaking in symbiosis with the applied arts.” The industry rests on values like identity, authenticity, originality, legitimacy and ethics.
The paper charts seven areas of brand expertise – research, development and production, style and design, history and DNA, distribution and after-sales service, collectors, brand image and communication, and training – that encompasses almost 30 criteria points, both objective and subjective. Based on these considerations, the Cultural Council studied some 86 brands. Of those, 64 met the novel standards, scoring at least 6 out of 10, to be included in the technical and precious fine watchmaking perimeter. No label names are disclosed.
The qualified labels were then split into four segments. Historic Maisons uphold tradition and heritage, while Contemporary Brans exemplify modernity. Luxury Brands are those multi-product labels that approach precious or technical fine watchmaking with creativity, excellence, and innovation. Artisan-Creators are independent expert watchmakers who conduct the manufacturing, sale and after-sale service of their creations.
FHH is to carry out this evaluation every two to three years in order to keep up with the latest developments in the industry as well as secure its foundations and ensure its longevity.