When it comes to fine watches, it shouldn’t be any surprise that some of the most recognized brands come to mind, but which segment list did they make?
The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie has completed a White Paper that seeks to define fine watchmaking. The organization divided the brands into four lists: Historic Maisons; Luxury Brands; Contemporary Brands, and Artisan-Creators.
FHH considered more than 100 brands and received information from 64 brands. The brands were divided into groups, although actual rankings within each segment were not disclosed. The current lists helps to create the baseline for its next study, now expected every two to three years. It also means that certain watch brands not listed in the current evaluation — Baume & Mercier, Franck Muller and Tudor, among others — could make the next study while some of those now on the lists could drop off. Brands that chose not to participate weren’t evaluated, and therefore didn’t make the baseline listings.
For the historic watch houses, 26 brands are on the list. They include Audemars Piguet; Breitling; Bulgari; Cartier; Chopard; Girard Perregaux; Harry Winston; Jaeger-LeCoultre; Omega; Patek Philippe; Piaget; Rolex; Tag Heuer; Vacheron Constantin, and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Four brands are on the luxury segment list: Chanel; Hermès; Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc. Contemporary brands numbered 23 and they include Ateliers Louis Moinet; Cabestan; Christophe Claret; Hublot; Laurent Ferrier; MB&F; Roger Dubuis, and Urwerk. In the artisans grouping, 11 brands are classified in the segment category, which includes Andreas Strehler; Christiaan van der Klaauw, Philippe Dufour, and Sarpaneva.
FHH’s three-year study also seeks to define the criteria for what the parameters should be, as well as what to consider when evaluating a brand. Among values that define fine watchmaking include the brand’s DNA signature, authenticity, creativity and innovation for original design, technique and ethics, such as responsible sourcing. Each segment, whether on defining fine watchmaking or parameters for its production and distribution stages — such as after-sale service, brand perception among collectors and brand imaging, including a look at what is a brand’s level of engagement online.
Further, certain criteria adjustments were made, depending on which segment category was analyzed. For example, it was more important for historic watch houses and the artisans group to have its own movement, but less so for brands in the luxury and contemporary segments. The brands were evaluated by experts in different categorical fields, some technical in nature, with a total of 28 criteria analyzed.
FHH was founded in 2005 in Geneva by Richemont Group, Audemars Piguet and Girard Perregaux, to promote fine watchmaking internationally.