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White Paper on Fine Watchmaking

What precisely do we mean by Fine Watchmaking? We felt we had a duty, as the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, to define this singular environment and the brands within it, and therefore worked extensively with our Cultural Council to publish the first White Paper on Fine Watchmaking.

Fine Watchmaking, Fine Dining, Haute Couture… these are labels we frequently use without being entirely sure what falls within their boundaries. The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) had a duty to lay down the principles of Fine Watchmaking which governed its creation. It set about this task with honesty and humility. The result is the White Paper on Fine Watchmaking in which the FHH defines a rich and complex activity whose different protagonists occupy different realities.

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 this White Paper. The finished document presents a synthesis of their conclusions in the unifying spirit of the FHH, whose mission is to inform, train and recognise expertise in Fine Watchmaking.

To summarise, this White Paper 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 determines 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, Contemporary Brands, Luxury Brands, and Artisan-Creators.

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.

A White Paper for Fine Watchmaking

The new Fine Watchmaking Perimeter

Historic Maisons

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

Contemporary brands

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

Luxury brands

Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Montblanc


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

Press Release

22.06.2016 - A White Paper for Fine Watchmaking