The Patek Philippe Craftsmanship and Precision Competition Ninth Edition

On April 19 and 20, 2018, 18 students from six Swiss watchmaking schools participated in the ninth Patek Philippe Craftsmanship and Precision Competition (Concours Bienfacture et Précision).

The prizes were awarded at the Patek Philippe Museum on Saturday, May 26, 2018. The ceremony took place in the presence of Patek Philippe President Thierry Stern, jury chairman Carlos Dos Santos, Human Resources Director Daniel Rochat, Watchmaking Division Director Laurent Moles, and Training Center Director Jérémy Annen.

The following six schools participated in the Concours:
• CFPT Ecole d’Horlogerie de Genève
• ETVJ Ecole Technique de la Vallée de Joux
• CEJEF Ecole des Métiers Techniques de Porrentruy
• CIFOM Ecole Technique du Locle
• BBZ Zeitzentrum Uhrmacherschule de Grenchen
• CFP Lycée Technique de Bienne

The Patek Philippe Craftsmanship and Precision Competition is based on an initiative that dates back to November 2008. The objectives are to intensify the relations between the manufacture and the watchmaking schools, to contribute to the training of future professionals, and to hand down the heritage and know-how of Patek Philippe in the fields of precision adjustment and precision timekeeping.

The competition is aligned with Patek Philippe’s fundamental values: craftsmanship and precision. These values reflect the operating principles and the concept of quality applied in the manufacture and mandated by the directives of the Patek Philippe Seal. The competition motivates the students to achieve their training goals and provides an objective evaluation of their professional aptitude. It creates equal conditions for all participants.

As was the case in earlier years, the intention of the competition is to make trainees aware of the significance of artisanal skills and to identify the most promising and talented individuals. The term artisanal skills refer to dependability and precision in manual finishing and timing processes. The pedagogical goal of the competition is supported by the invaluable know-how and expertise of members of the manufacture’s staff. It gives the participants a rare opportunity to work with a mechanical movement that complies with the extremely strict directives of the Patek Philippe Seal.

The trainees are offered a glimpse into the exclusive realm of haute horlogerie. The three best-ranked participants are given the opportunity to enrich their occupational experience with an internship in the manufacture’s ateliers. Additionally, the first prize includes a week’s training at a Patek Philippe Service Center abroad, a welcome annotation to the lucky winner’s curriculum vitae.

The technical tests are rated in the manufacture’s ateliers under the supervision of a jury composed of senior Patek Philippe employees: Carlos Dos Santos (Supervisor, Precision Timing Ateliers 1 and jury chairman), Luc Valet (Technical Instructor), André Gallopin (Horloger HAH), and Patrick Conus (Master watchmaker).

On the first day of the competition, the candidates of the 6 schools (3 per school) and their instructors paid a visit to several departments of the manufacture (Spiromax® Balance Springs, Timing, Haute Horlogerie, International Customer Service). The tour was followed by a theoretical introduction and a subsequent series of practical exercises reserved for the candidates.

During the theoretical introduction, they were familiarized with the methods for starting and adjusting a Gyromax® balance. At Patek Philippe, these processes are applied in virtually all domains of production. Then, the trainees were acquainted with the practical requirements.

During the competition, the participants are expected to assemble the balance and the balance cock in a Patek Philippe movement, to poise the balance, and to adjust it in the six positions as specified by the standards and criteria of the Patek Philippe Seal. Additionally, the trainees must demonstrate their awareness of the practical working guidelines that apply in the watch industry and especially those defined by Patek Philippe. This includes keeping the workbench neat, the tools in proper order and the work well organized.

In assessing the candidates, the time taken for the assignments, the parts used, and obviously the results of their work are all taken into consideration. As in previous years, the results showed a very uniform picture with regard to the success and abilities of the candidates, which illustrates the consistently high level of training provided by all of the participating watchmaking schools. The ninth edition again confirmed that the skill levels of the students are consistently high.

On Saturday, May 26, 2018, President Thierry Stern and the members of the jury presented the awards to all prizewinners during a ceremony at the Patek Philippe Museum. The top three prizewinners (see below) have the opportunity of working in the manufacture’s ateliers: Here, they will experience at first hand the company’s culture and philosophy, work on a manually wound and a selfwinding caliber, and be able to visit the different production facilities of Patek Philippe in Geneva (Plan-les-Ouates and Perly). During their internship week, they will also encounter students from an affiliated watchmaking school (Hiko Mizuno College in Tokyo).

As every year, the winner of the first prize was invited to a week’s internship at the service center of one of Patek Philippe’s subsidiaries. This year, it will be at Patek Philippe España in Barcelona.

The awards ceremony was preceded by a tour of the Patek Philippe Museum. Patek Philippe very much looks forward to organizing the next “Concours Bienfacture et Précision” with various participating watchmaking schools in 2019. The Genevan manufacture has a few surprises in store for the trainees to celebrate the tenth edition of this sophisticated competition.

1st prize: 1 winner’s trophy (large replica of a balance and hairspring that can be kept by the winning school for one year and is then awarded to the next winner in 2019) + 1 week of training at the Patek Philippe workshops in Geneva + 1 week of training at Patek Philippe’s Spanish subsidiary in Barcelona + 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 Craftsmanship and Precision Competition 2018
1st rank : VILLEMIN Jana – CEJEF – Ecole des Métiers Techniques de Porrentruy (JU)
2nd rank : SANTOS ALMEIDA André – CIFOM – Ecole Technique du Locle (NE)
3rd rank : ALLEMAN Audrey – CFP – Lycée Technique de Bienne (BE)
4th rank : SCARABELLO Nico – CIFOM – Ecole Technique du Locle (NE)
5th rank : LUSTENBERGER Valentin – BBZ – Zeitzentrum Uhrmacherschule de Grenchen (SO)

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