“HOMMAGE AU TALENT” & “HOMMAGE À LA PASSION” AWARDS 2017
Each year, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie distinguishes two personalities whose style and expertise have made an imprint on watchmaking. Presented for the fifth time at a ceremony held Thursday March 30th at the Cité du Temps in Geneva, the “Hommage au Talent” award went to François-Paul Journe, master watchmaker-constructor and founder of Manufacture F.P. Journe Invenit et Fecit. The “Hommage à la Passion” award was given to Ludwig Oechslin, erudite watch conceptor and inventor of extraordinary astronomical timepieces. This fifth edition was held with the support of the City of Geneva as part of the 2017 European Artistic Craft Days.
Geneva, March 30th 2017
Without talent, without passion, Fine Watchmaking would doubtless be just another field of micromechanics with its own set of rules, evolving alongside developments in science and techniques. It is, of course, more than that. A timepiece will elicit the emotions only when produced with creativity, innovation and art, all of which thrive on talent and passion. These are the qualities which the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) set out to spotlight with the creation of two awards, both destined for personalities who have already left their mark on the measurement of time. The “Hommage à la Passion” and “Hommage au Talent” awards are presented each year to professionals who are chosen by an independent jury, under the aegis of the FHH Cultural Council.
For this fifth edition, held in Geneva at the Cité du Temps, the “Hommage au Talent” prize was presented to François-Paul Journe. An expert in restoration who has mastered watchmaking's many facets, he established his Manufacture in Geneva, from where he unveiled his first collection in 1999. Signed with his name followed by the words "Invenit et Fecit", an inscription borrowed from Jean-Antoine Lépine, it immediately made its mark. Presented as a contemporary tribute to the landmark developments in horological science, a François-Paul Journe watch is also indicative of a creative mind, and it is this creativity that has established him as one of the precursors of watchmaking's new guard. In almost thirty years, François-Paul Journe has received an array of honours and awards. Recipient of the Prix Gaïa for best watchmaker and Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, this award comes as renewed recognition by his peers of his exceptional talent.
The “Hommage à la Passion” prize goes to Ludwig Oechslin. A student of history and philosophy, physics and astronomy, he swapped his scholar's cap for the watchmaker's white coat. Having trained first in restoration, including a project for the Vatican, it was almost by chance that he was spotted by Rolf Schnyder, recent proprietor of Ulysse Nardin. The two men hit it off so well that for fifteen years Ludwig Oechslin would imagine some of the Manufacture's finest timepieces, and not just extraordinary astronomical watches; thanks to the Freak concept watch he invented, Ulysse Nardin brought watchmaking into the twenty-first century. Ludwig Oechslin continued his career as curator of the Musée International d'Horlogerie in La Chaux- de-Fonds. From there, he went on to launch Ochs & Junior, in 2014, a brand that advocates a simple approach to complex problems.
The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie is particularly delighted to showcase the career and achievements of these two personalities, both of whom brilliantly embody the excellence that is inherent to their profession.