On April 14 and 15 this year, 18 students from six Swiss watchmaking schools took part in the second Patek Philippe Artisanship and Precision Competition. The winners were honored on May 28, 2011, during a celebration at the Patek Philippe Museum in the presence of Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern as well as Robert Anguenot and Daniel Rochat.
The competition affirms Patek Philippe’s intention to build solid, long-lasting partnerships with Swiss watchmaking schools. The idea behind the competition originates from a joint initiative involving staff members of the Patek Philippe departments for watch manufacturing, international customer support, human resources, sales & marketing, and administration as well as of the Patek Philippe Museum.
A Competition to Discover New Watchmaking Talent
The competition is part of a training initiative and its theme reflects Patek Philippe’s fundamental values of artisanship and precision, as reflected in the requirements of the Patek Philippe Seal. The competition allows for an objective evaluation of the trainees’ professional abilities by creating equal and fair conditions for all of the participants.
The technical exams were held in the company’s workshops and supervised by a jury of senior Patek Philippe staff: Robert Anguenot (Director, Watchmaking Department and President of the Jury), Dominique Charpy (Head, Watchmaker Training), Vincent Lemmelet (Head, Advanced Technical Training), Carlos Dos Santos (Head, Reglage Atelier), and Patrick Conus (Watchmaker Training Instructor).
The second edition of the competition also aimed to make the trainees aware of the significance of professional skills (reliability, precision, manual finishing, reglage) and identify the best among the most promising talents at an early stage. The pedagogical goal of this program is further supported by the workshop’s staff members who make valuable know-how and expertise available. In addition, the competition provides the participants with a unique opportunity to work on a high-quality mechanical movement that fulfills the strict criteria of the Patek Philippe Seal.
Moreover, the winners of this competition are being given the opportunity to enrich their professional experience with an internship at Patek Philippe’s workshops, and the winner of the first prize will even be able to spend some time in one of the company’s service centers abroad.
The participants in this year’s competition hail from these schools:
• CFPT – Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève
• Ecole Technique de la Vallée de Joux
• CEJEF- Ecole des Métiers Techniques de Porrentruy
• CIFOM – Ecole Technique du Locle
• ZeitZentrum Uhrmacherschule Grenchen
• CFP Biel
Theoretical and Practical Introduction with Focus on Reglage and Balances
On the first day, the candidates from the participating watchmaking schools (3 per school) paid a visit to several departments of the manufacture (Balance Springs, Reglage, Haute Horlogerie, International Customer Service), accompanied by instructors. The tour was followed by a theoretical introduction and a series of practical exercises performed by the candidates.
The theoretical introduction was a preparation for the rate accuracy adjustment process (reglage) as well as the aesthetic aspects and different types of balance designs used by Patek Philippe. In the subsequent practical session, they were able to learn the art of dynamic adjustment (poising) on a real object, still outside the curriculum of the competition.
The trainees dynamically adjusted a Patek Philippe manually wound caliber 215 movement. In a simplified form, the examination comprised the following: lubrication of a shock absorber on the plate and bridge side, adjustment of the end shake of the balance, alignment of the hairspring (truth in the flat and the round), dynamic poising of the balance, and precision adjustment.
In assessing the candidates, the time taken for the examination tasks, the parts used, and obviously the results of their work were all taken into consideration.
The results showed a very uniform picture with regard to the success and the abilities of the candidates, which manifests the consistently high level of training provided by the schools that took part in the competition. The examinations took place in a very congenial atmosphere, and the candidates were encouraged to actively exchange views. Their dedication exceeded all expectations.
Award Presentation at the Patek Philippe Museum
During a celebration at the Patek Philippe Museum on May 28, 2011, the awards were presented to the five prize winners by President Thierry Stern and the members of the jury. The prizes (see below) offer the future watchmakers in the top three ranks the opportunity of an internship in the company’s workshops. There, they will experience at first hand the company’s culture and philosophy, work on manually wound and self-winding calibers, and be able to visit the different production facilities of Patek Philippe in Geneva (Plan les Ouates and Perly). During this internship week, they will also meet students from other affiliated watchmaking schools (Hiko Mizuno College in Tokyo, C.A.P.A.C. Trade Polytechnic Institute in Milan, IES-SEP Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Barcelona, and the Lycée Technique Diderot in Paris).
Additionally, the winner of the first prize will be given the opportunity of a week’s internship at the service center of one of Patek Philippe’s European subsidiaries.
In 2012, Patek Philippe plans to organize a third edition of the “Concours de Bienfacture et Précision” in cooperation with participating watchmaking schools.
• 1st prize: 1 week of training at the Patek Philippe workshops in Geneva + 1 week of training at a Patek Philippe service center in Europe + 1 tool set
• 2nd prize: 2 weeks of training at the Patek Philippe workshops in Geneva + 1 tool set
• 3rd prize: 1 week of training at the Patek Philippe workshops in Geneva + 1 tool set
• 4th prize: 1 tool set
• 5th prize: 1 tool set
Winners of the Patek Philippe Concours de Bienfacture et de Précision 2011:
• First: Samuel Schmid ZeitZentrum Uhrmacherschule Grenchen
• Second: Guy Wagner Ecole Technique de la Vallée de Joux
• Third: Mickael Boissenin CIFOM – Ecole Technique du Locle
• Fourth: Jonathan Barbier CIFOM – Ecole Technique du Locle
• Fifth: Baptiste Adam CEJEF – Ecole des Métiers Techniques de Porrentruy
Below, the winners with Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern.