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Theodora, beautiful and wise
Point of View

Theodora, beautiful and wise

Thursday, 03 February 2011
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Franco Cologni
President of the FHH Cultural Council

“Talent demands effort, dedication and hours spent perfecting a gesture which, day by day, becomes a gift.”

An entrepreneur at heart, though a man of letters, Franco Cologni was quick to embark on a business career that would lead him to key roles within the Richemont Group.

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2 min read

Theodora, empress. The Byzantine Empire’s most celebrated sovereign, wife of Justinian I, was Theodora. Posterity remembers her for her beauty as well as her wisdom. Beautiful and wise also describes the work of the Theodora Children’s Trust, which has nothing to do with Constantinople. Rather it puts a smile back on children’s faces during prolonged hospital stays. Because laughter and serenity are important for getting better. At the very least, they ease the pain of what is often a heartbreaking situation.

So as to help the Theodora Children’s Trust continue its work, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Exhibitor Committee organised a fundraiser for its traditional Thursday evening reception. Guests were asked to donate 30 Swiss Francs. Donations could also be made by post. A lot of people attended but at the time of writing only 27,000 Swiss Francs had been raised. By 300 donators. For the first time in many years I was at the party, and saw a lot more than 300 people milling around. What conclusion can we draw? That more people were interested in a free meal than in giving generously? That the world of Fine Watchmaking knows when it’s cocktail hour but omits to measure the long hours of suffering of a child alone in hospital?

Usually, when we visit an exhibition we pay admission. Guests at the party had the opportunity to visit a truly outstanding exhibition of the most beautiful, most precious new timepieces for 2011. Might I venture a suggestion for the next fundraiser? That elegance come second to effectiveness and we ask every guest to make a donation on the night.

This isn’t about pedantry. It’s about honesty and manners, both of which should be innate, though in certain cases there can be no harm in discreetly “stimulating” them. Without these small efforts, an initiative can be doomed to failure. Anyone with a passion for the mechanics of watches and their complications knows only too well that when the small wheels aren’t turning as they should, no amount of quality materials or perfect design will compensate. If we each do our duty, the hands go round. And for the children of the Theodora Trust, this may mean an extra smile.

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