New watch quality seal open to any European fine-watch brand

The “Qualité Fleurier,” a new hallmark for the quality and accuracy of fine watches, will be unveiled in Switzerland on Sept. 27. The announcement was made Sept. 17 by the “Qualité Fleurier” Foundation on Swisstime.ch.

Unlike two other Swiss quality seals already in use (“COSC” and “Poinçon de Genève”), the “Qualité Fleurier” will be available to any European watch brand meeting its strict criteria, and apply to both the movement and components of a watch. Currently, the “COSC” certificate of the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute is only for Swiss-made watches whose movements qualify as chronometers. The “Poinçon de Genève” (Seal of Geneva) applies only to mechanical movements made by watchmakers in Geneva, Switzerland.

The new seal of watchmaking quality was created by a private, independent group set up in September 2001, called “La Fondation de la Certification Qualité Fleurier” (or Qualité Fleurier Foundation). Its founding members include the Swiss luxury watch brands Chopard, Parmigiani, and Bovet and watch manufacturer Vaucher. The group is supported by the Swiss town of Fleurier (where the aforementioned brands are produced), the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel, the Association of the Région Val-de-Travers (Fleurier is located in Neuchâtel, in Val-de-Travers), and the Fondation Philippe Jéquier. The strict criteria to qualify for the new imprint were developed by a technical committee comprising independent experts of various watch firms.

The Qualité Fleurier group’s aim is to establish technical and aesthetic criteria for watchmaking “according to the finest principles of haute horlogerie.” It also seeks to encourage technological innovations which make “a positive contribution to the quality” of fine watches and promote the watchmaking heritage and expertise of the Fluerier region. The quality mark will be awarded by a technical commission independent of the foundation’s founding watch brands.

When plans for the new quality certificate were originally announced, a few Swiss press reports said some watchmakers questioned the need for another one guaranteeing the quality and precision of fine timepieces. Others suggested, though, that a seal could help smaller, lesser-known luxury watch brands.