The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie unveiled on Jan. 9 a new certification program that marks the first time the industry has a means of testing a person’s knowledge of watches and fine watchmaking.
Aimed at retail sales associates, the HH Certification is based on a database of 2,500 questions devised by a panel of 15 experts. It was developed to help ensure that people selling watches have adequate expertise in the products they are selling.
“Fine watchmaking has evolved very rapidly; training has perhaps not followed suit,” said FHH director Pascal Ravessoud at the breakfast event announcing the program.
The certification is granted after an individual answers 160 questions in two hours at an official exam center. The multiple-choice questions comprise four subjects: watchmaking techniques, market players, materials, and culture and history. For example: What is a flyback chronograph? How does a perpetual calendar function? What does a De Bethune watch look like?
“I think this will become the gold standard of training,” said Steven Kaiser, president and CEO of Kaiser Time.
Individuals who take the test will be granted the title of advisor, specialist, or expert in fine watchmaking based on their score. The implementation package costs $385 and includes unlimited access to the training platform (Hhcertification.org) and bibliography, exam fees, and certification. The first test will take place in New York City in April.