Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Exit Visas are Imminent

In the ongoing game of musical chairs, the warm 'n fuzzy people at the SIHH in partnership with Breitling have jammed their thumb in the BaselWorld organizers' eye -

Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie welcomes Breitling as a new partner brand

What's in a name?  Haute is a funny word, it is used and misunderstood by a lot of people.  In the context of "Horlogerie" it is, apparently, as malleable as a rogue sales director's moral compass.  
In the interest of full-disclosure, I did not study French in school.  But with the help of St. Google, I was able to get this definition of haute, courtesy of our good friends at the Urban Dictionary and Betty Harvard -

Haute means "high" in French. It is pronounced "hote", NOT "hot". It is used most commonly with the word "Couture" (pronounced catore) which means "fashion" in French. Thus, Haute Couture means High Fashion.
It does not, however, mean hawt, hot, sexy, whatever. People who use haute in place of those words are idiots who seriously need to read the REAL dictionary instead of
by Betty Harvard September 01, 2005

Please forgive me while I stifle a snicker,  Breitling has made it very clear that they are going to lower priced models.  Baume & Mercier produce watches at a price and finish level that are clearly not in the "haute" category, but make one or two show ponies a year, and, well, they are a Richemont brand, so I guess they get a pass.  There is nothing wrong with this, but when I consider the particularly snotty attitude of the SIHH organizers (read Richemont and their party planners at the US firm retained to send invitations), I find this particularly comical.  On the one hand, the SIHH would have you believe that they are far more inclusive and that they are creating a better fair that offers far more exposure for journalists and the public than BaselWorld.  On the other hand?  Bullshit.  The SIHH is designed and conducted in a manner to ensure that those who wish to attend will have to pass through a vetting process that is more restrictive than any Ivy League secret society.   And the public?  You've got one day watch fans!  Make the most of it!

So if you are drinking coffee, put it down so that you don't snort that dark, hot beverage through your nostrils and expel it onto your jammies.

Here's the release, just as it came across the wire yesterday -

Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie welcomes Breitling as a new partner brand

Synonymous with precision and innovation, Breitling is the 43rd brand to join the FHH in its mission to promote excellence in watchmaking.

Geneva, October 16, 2018 – Having welcomed 13 new brands in 2017, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie continues to grow with the arrival of Breitling, a storied name in traditional watchmaking, established in Saint-Imier in 1884, as its 43rd partner-brand.

Since 2005, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) has pursued its mission to promote Fine Watchmaking worldwide. Supported by its partners - highly regarded figures in traditional watchmaking and representatives of contemporary watchmaking - the FHH has successfully developed its activities to inform, train and organise events for both professionals and the public. Thanks to these common values and shared ambitions, the FHH has established itself as a respected voice, able to promote the authenticity and legitimacy of excellence in watchmaking. As a brand recognised for its history, creativity, expertise and innovation, Breitling is embedded in this unique environment.

From the opening by Léon Breitling of a modest workshop in Saint-Imier, in 1884, to the modern Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds we know today, Breitling has consistently stood out for its fabulous capacity to innovate, and its forward-looking mindset. It quickly made a name with a timer/tachymeter that measured speed. In 1915, Breitling also became one of the world’s first manufacturers to present a wrist chronograph with a separate pusher above the watch crown.

In 1934, Willy Breitling, the third generation to run the family business, unveiled an essential invention: a second separate pushpiece, exclusively dedicated to resetting the chronograph to zero. This patented feature was the final touch in giving the wrist chronograph its modern face.

Its involvement with flight began in the late 1930s, as aviation came of age, and the brand has continued to lead the field with chronographs whose fabulous precision still makes them the choice of pilots worldwide. Since 1952, the Navitimer – whose signature circular slide rule can be used to perform some twenty essential calculations and conversions while airborne – has confirmed Breitling as a reference in aviation. From the land and the sky to the ocean's depths, dive watches are another area in which Breitling excels, with expertise that goes back to 1957 and the launch of the SuperOcean, water-resistant to 200 metres. Not forgetting the brand's role in the conquest of space, as the maker of the first Swiss chronograph to go into orbit, worn by the astronaut Scott Carpenter in 1962.

Synonymous with mechanical exploits and a symbol of chronometric precision, throughout its long history, Breitling has championed values of excellence, and has taken its heritage and capacity for innovation to the highest summits. This is an ambition shared by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, which takes immense pleasure in welcoming this esteemed Manufacture among its partner-brands.

In the bigger picture? Most likely Breitling will uncouple itself from BaselWorld in 2020. My best guess is that the contract for BaselWorld 2019 has been signed and needs to be concluded, but it seems likely they will be moving south in the following years.

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