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Chronometry - Second Concours Announces Participants
WORLDTEMPUS - 8 July 2011
When the winner of the first chronometry competition held since 1967 was announced, it was big news in the watch world. Testing one watch's accuracy over that of another had not been accomplished in more than 40 years, thanks in great part to the unquestionable hold that quartz has over mechanical systems. The watch world seems to be recovering nicely from the economic recession, and the desire for such a fundamental - and fun - technical competition begun in days of yore has once again emerged.
While in the premier competition held in 2009, only 16 watches divided into two categories (companies and independent watchmakers) were submitted, the new edition of the competition boasts three separate classifications: traditional movements coming from companies, tourbillon movements coming from companies, and traditional movements submitted by watchmaking schools. In the latter category, there are four submissions from four very different students at four schools of watchmaking: two Swiss, one French, and one American. All four of these submissions are made on the basis of the ETA Unitas 6498 caliber. Here, apparently, the test is to see which student can best regulate this standard, stable workhorse to optimal chronometer specifications. The other 14 submissions come from ten companies: Kari Voutilainen, Chopard's LUC, MHVJ (a Vallee de Joux supplier), Mido, F.P. Journe, Technotime, Tissot, Frederique Constant, Greubel Forsey, and Leroy - all European companies based either in Switzerland or France.
It is interesting to note that Jaeger-LeCoultre, the company that took both first and second place in the last competition - with two tourbillons, no less - is not participating in the 2011 edition. CEO Jer?me Lambert explained that since the company took both first and second places with tourbillons in the 2009 competition, the company wanted to enter a different movement. However, the desired movement - a new one - was not yet ready to launch, and thus the Le Sentier-based brand decided not to enter the competition this time around. "It is not that important for us anyway," Lambert remarked. "The competition's testing is very similar to the 1000 hour test that we subject every one of our watches to. Certainly, after the last competition, most of the other companies learned that in addition to accuracy, it is also important to consider stability."
Measurements will be carried out in officially certified laboratories in Besan?on, Biel and Le Locle. The watches will undergo magnetism and shocks tests reproducing conditions of everyday use. The Committee of Honour is chaired by astronaut and EPFL professor, Claude Nicollier. The jury comprising independent individuals and journalists in the luxury watch industry is chaired by Jean-Marc Triscone, dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Geneva. Technical commissioner and a member of the jury is Laurent-Guy Bernier, delegate of the Swiss national metrology office METAS. The winners of the competition will be announced on October 20 at the Chateau des Monts watch museum in Le Locle.