In 2019, the International Chronometry Competition
Amazing this competition launched by the Swiss City of Le Locle! The mere fact of being nominated is already a triumph! It is to watchmaking what a F1 Grand Prix is to the automotive world. Each watch at the start is already a pinnacle of precision.
Stravinsky stage converted into a scientific platform open to the presentations of the Study Day of the SSC, the honourable Swiss Chronometry Society: in this leading watchmaking centre, Philippe Fischer, President of the Organizing Committee of the International Chronometry Competition, has just officially announced the 2019 edition. Faced with around 800 watchmaking professionals, he revealed the calendar, between March and December 2019, the new features of the regulations as well as the indisputable reasons for participating.
The precision tour in 80 days…
If a timepiece is taking the start of this Grand Prix, this contests, it is thanks to the fact that it has successfully completed the first precision test according to the ISO 3159 standard. What happens next is a mix between a speed and endurance competition, a mountain rally and a triathlon.
During 80 days, participating watches – registration deadline 31 March 2019 – will be subject to a battery of tests and validations: if the results of the first precision test allow it, the ” nominee ” status will be awarded and the name of the watch will be announced during the official launching ceremony of the competition. For the other timepieces, the rest of the operations and the transmission of the results will be done anonymously. Thus, despite the fact that these un-nominated watches remain real mountains of watchmaking know-how and expertise, the organizers are able to guarantee brands that no negative rumours will cause even a slightest damage to their image.
World-renowned Swiss precision: four accredited institutes
In 2019, only watches that satisfy the Swiss Made criteria will be eligible to compete. After the first precision test conducted by the COSC Office in Le Locle (the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing) the nominees’ watches will be exposed at the Timelab Foundation in Geneva to invisible attacks by strong magnetic fields (ISO 764 standard).
From then on, and this time on a trip to La Chaux-de-Fonds, the competing watches will be embarked for 21 days in the intentional horrors of simulated accelerated ageing. This is the famous battery of tests epitomized by the Chronofiable® label, a protocol renowned for the harshness of its treatments. The pieces that will emerge unscathed are heroic watches. Moreover, a third and final chronometry inspection according to ISO 3159 will be conducted this time back in Le Locle, in order to evaluate the impact on the reliability of the “chronofiable” attacks suffered. The fourth accredited institution, the supreme authority, is METAS, the Federal Institute of Metrology, which chairs the Jury of the Competition.
One category, three distinctions
The final ranking will be determined by the results of the watches. Whether they are press release Tourbillon, chronographs or similar to “simple” three hands, the winners will be divided into three shades of excellence each time defined by a lower threshold. This leading group will make the headlines, it will be used for years or even decades as a prestigious trademark. Because if the International Chronometry Competition is not a label in itself, its reputation as a title acquired through measurement and without any hint of human interventionism, remains the most indisputable of signatures. A phenomenon of radiance that begins as soon as the competing watches are announced.
The endorsement of History
As the heir to one of the most prestigious watchmaking traditions, this competition does not allow any human appreciation to interfere. It is the scientific expression of the science of chronometry, i.e. the ultimate quest for precision, the most subtle and successful calculations of which it expresses. Before quartz came to shake things up, these competitions were real highlights in the past. They were as promising as the Universal Exhibitions, which sometimes served as their showcase. Even today, brands still use their aura in their current advertising. They sometimes get thrilled at the exceptional value increases that such titles bring to their historical models in auctions.
The skills of the adjustment in the spotlight, thanks to Le Locle
What better place than the SSC, whose statutes include one of the last adjustment competitions open to students from all watchmaking schools in Switzerland, to launch the 2019 edition of the International Chronometry Competition? Because the precision of the precision is reached thanks to the calibrators, these watchmakers capable of magnifying exceptional calibres. When it started to relaunch this historic event in 2009, the City of Le Locle, City of Precision, was successful in promoting the ultimate virtues of the human hand.