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Haute Horlogerie

by J.Peter

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Haute Horlogerie is a term which a group of manufacturers use to describe themselves. Literally it means “high watchmaking.” Many in the watchmaking community understand it to refer more specifically to high dollar watchmaking rather than high quality watchmaking. You see many of the brands who define themselves as haute horlgerie have long been considered fashion brands. In today’s world however every body is turning out fantastic high end watches. Lets take Harry Winston for example. He is jewelry designer to the stars, many of this watches are diamond encrusted quartz watches, but in recent years he is actually turning out incredibly complex high end watchs, specifically in his Opus series. My favorite is Opus V produced in cooperation with Baumgartner (the genius behind Urwerk watches.)

So, at the same time as Basel World the brands of “Haute Horlogerie” get together for the SIHH (Salon Internationale de Haute Horlogerie) to show off their wares. It will be exciting.

Here is something worth checking out. If you are interested in watchmaking the SIHH has put together some extremely interesting videos relating to the profession of a watchmaker. You can see them at One of the best is this one about the Conceiving and making a new watch caliber.

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  1. Prem Chainani
    Posted March 15, 2008 at 11:13 am | Permalink


    Just a little word for your ‘Haute Horlogerie’ item.

    Within the watch industry of Switzerland, there are several components that make for understanding its’ core- who makes what movements? etc etc. Harry Winston, doesn’t make those fabulous Opus movements! Of course, nobody would understand this statement, but, in Switzerland- some unbelievably high tech companies, make and churn out idea after idea, only to be purchased outright by the so-called ‘haute horlogerie’ companies. This is Switzerland for you too.

    Excellent companies, making unbelievable movements, and they are not priced because of their gem and jewellery usage. Each movement is literally hand made, their tourbillon cages are fabrications of sheer imagination. This art of fabrication is unfortunately, practically lost, and only a few still remain in existence. So, quite simply most high end companies simply go to the nearest available factory, and order their creations. Once done a whole process starts, conception, visualisation, and eventually the manufacturing of these splendid watches. I wouldn’t name names, but practically everything you see winning awards and getting media attention for stupendous prices etc etc are actually made elsewhere, and that is not all. Many new successful companies are utilising the fantastic reach of IT, and indeed inventing new movements and sticking to old age techniques, and of these, to name a few F.P.Journe, Patek Phillippe etc etc.

    Great topic of discussion, let me know your address and I will send you a manual on Very High End watchmaking, and what distinguishes it from the run of the mill type.



  2. Posted March 19, 2008 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing those links, I’m going to check out those videos right now. Great blog, I just subscribed to your feed…


  3. Francis
    Posted August 23, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    On Prem Chainani

    I’m quite interested with your Manual on Very High End watchmaking.

    How do i get a copy, if that’s possible?



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  1. […] recently received a fantastic book in the mail from Prem Chainani, who has posted some great comments here on Tick Talk. The book is titled High-end horological finishing and decoration. As you can see […]

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