Haute Horlogerie is essentially concerned with a mechanical interpretation of time. But when talent and passion are thrown into the mix, the results can be sublime. The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), guardian of technical and precious Fine Watchmaking, believes the people who work this magic deserve recognition, and awards the “Hommage au Talent” and “Hommage à la Passion” prizes to personalities who exhibit excellence in their contribution to watchmaking. These awards, of which one acknowledges an exceptional carreer and the other applauds an outstanding talent, were originally initiated by Italian journalist Eugenio Zigliotto and have been orchestrated since 4 years by the FHH through its Cultural Council and an independent panel of judges.
Anita Porchet, the elite of enamel
This year’s “Hommage au Talent” prize goes to freelance enamel artist Anita Porchet. Enamelling is experiencing its biggest revival in watchmaking and it is Ms Porchet who has led the way. Recently on the verge of dying out, enamelling once again occupies pride of place amongst patrons of artistic craftsmanship. Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, Patek Philippe, Hermès and Chanel are just some of the prestigious Maisons that have solicited the talents of Ms Porchet to create extraordinary pieces. From her countryside studio in the canton of Vaud, Anita Porchet cultivates enamel techniques that capture the very spirit of Haute Horlogerie.
Anita Porchet was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds and learnt the basics of enamel work from her family. She subsequently honed her skills while studying fine arts and was awarded the Patek Philippe prize shortly after graduating. Over the decade that followed, Anita divided her time between teaching at the School of Applied Arts (EAA) in La Chaux-de-Fonds and her own artistic projects.
Her career took a high-octane turn in 1995 when her creative skill and flair came to the attention of prestigious watchmakers. From that moment on, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Chanel, Hermès and other leading patrons of the artistic crafts jostled to commission her work.
A free-spirited freelancer, Anita is lauded as one of the most talented artists of her generation. She has played a seminal role in reviving techniques once written off as obsolete. The watchmaking industry is indebted to her for some of the finest examples of contemporary horology.
Karl Friedrich Scheufele, a true visionary
The “Hommage à la Passion” prize is awarded to Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard. A true visionary, Mr Scheufele is behind Chopard’s slow but steady climb to the upper echelons of mechanical watchmaking. In the wake of the quartz crisis, his decision to found Chopard Manufacture in 1996 seemed counter-intuitive. But, fuelled by his determination to reclaim the Chopard legacy that dated back to 1860, and to satisfy his natural inclination towards authenticity in watchmaking, the gamble paid off brilliantly. Once he had firmly established the production of L.U.C Haute Horlogerie movements, he went on to further consolidate the autonomy of the family business 15 years later with the opening of Fleurier Ebauches, a manufacturing facility dedicated to series production of calibres.
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele grew up in Pforzheim, Germany. But his future was Chopard. His family bought the company in 1963 when he was 5 years old. He came on board after graduating in business studies from the University of Lausanne. It was only a matter of time before he and his sister Caroline would take the helm.
But Karl-Friedrich, driven by a passion for mechanics, wanted more than to keep the company ticking over. He set his sights high, and set his heart on an in-house Manufacture. In the wake of the quartz crisis, no one thought this was a good idea. As the industry looked on, Karl-Friedrich took a risk. And as the industry looked on, his risk paid off. With patience and dogged persistence, he founded Chopard Manufacture, and later Fleurier Ebauches. These two movement production facilities have secured Chopard pride of place amongst the watchmaking elite.
He could not have come this far without passion. He has been known to be equally passionate about vintage cars and fine wines.
The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie is proud to formally acknowledge the contribution of two personalities who kindle the appetite for dreams, talent and passion in Haute Horlogerie.
More information on: www.hautehorlogerie.org