Know Your Swiss Watch

Know Your Swiss Watch

0 2003

Hiren Kumar Bose & Sandip Ghosh  on the White Paper issued by the FHH which categorises Swiss watch brands under four categories

Next time you want to consider buying a Swiss watch and want a select one among the many which claims to follow the principles of Fine Watchmaking the White Paper released by FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie’s)  is likely to be great help. Now you would know the difference between a Breguet and a Montblanc. Or the difference between a Greubel Forsey and a Kari Voutilainen.


The result of three years of work by the FHH (Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie’s) Cultural Council, the White Paper for Fine Watchmaking evaluated 86 brand and put them in categories that reflect the diversity of Fine Watchmaking, namely Historic Maisons, Contemporary Brands, Luxury Brands, and Artisan-Creators, according to a press release by FHH.

In an effort to lay down the principles of Fine Watchmaking which governed its creation, the FHH assigned this task to its Cultural Council of 46 independent, international experts who carried out their function with complete impartiality and on a pro bono basis. Working from the ground up, they spent three years giving shape to the White Paper which is the result of a methodological consideration of the notion of Fine Watchmaking and its defining values. It sets out a definition and a categorisation of its different players.

It lists the competencies and 7 areas of expertise of the brands (R&D and Production, Style and Design, History and DNA, Distribution and After-Sales Service, Collectors, Brand Image and Communication, Training), and specifies 28 objective and whenever possible measurable criteria across these 7 areas.

Each brand has been evaluated against these criteria by the Cultural Council experts.

This evaluation then determined the contours of the select circle that is the Technical and Precious Fine Watchmaking Perimeter. Its members are shared between 4 categories that reflect the diversity of Fine Watchmaking: Historic Maisons, the watchmaking companies that perpetuate a tradition and a heritage; Contemporary Brands, the brands which belong to the present day and are characteristic of modern times; Luxury Brands, the multi-product luxury brands which invest in the art of technical and/or precious Fine Watchmaking with creativity, innovation and excellence; and Artisan-Creators, the independent watchmakers/creators who draw on specific expertise and who generally carry out the manufacturing, sale and after-sales service of their products.

In all, 86 brands were evaluated and 64 entered the Perimeter. This evaluation will be repeated every 2 to 3 years to stay current with developments in the field.

This White Paper on Fine Watchmaking fills a gap by contributing the FHH’s view of its environment and in doing so brings welcome clarification.

Historic Maisons
A.Lange & Sohne, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Bovet Fleurier, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Girard Perregaux, Glashutte Original, H. Moser & Cie, Harry Winston, IWC, Jaquet Droz, Officine Panerai, Omega, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rolex, TAG Heuer, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Zenith


Luxury Brands
Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc


Armin Strom, Ateliers Louis Moinet, Cabestan, Christophe Claret, De Bethune De Witt, FP Journe, Greubel Forsey, Hautlence, Hublot, HYT, Laurent Ferrier, Maitres du Temps, MB & F, MCT, Parmigiani, Ressence, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Romain Gauthier, Romain Jerome, Speake Martin, Urwerk


Andreas Strehler, Antoine Preziuso, Beat Haldimann, Christiaan Van der Klaauw, Grönefeld, Kari Voutilainen, Philippe Dufour, Roger W. Smith, Sarpaneva, Thomas Prescher, Vianney Halter