FHH 2016 Homage To ‘Passion’ And ‘Talent’ Awards For Chopard’s Karl-Friedrich Scheufele And Enameler Anita Porchet
This young award is just barely three years old, but indeed it has already managed to reward some of the greatest personalities in the world of watches for their “passion” and “talent” – which are undeniably the most essential ingredients for the finest watchmaking.
The awards’ recipients are chosen by the Cultural Council of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) jury. Both the FHH and the new awards were created by Franco Cologni, one of the masterminds behind the modern incarnation of Cartier.
The goal of the annual Hommage à la Passion and Hommage au Talent awards is to honor two personalities in the world of high watchmaking.
The inaugural prizes of 2012 went to Jean-Claude Biver (Hommage à la Passion) and Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi’s Giulio Papi (Hommage au Talent).
One year later, these two awards went to Walter Lange (Hommage à la Passion) and Agenhor’s Jean-Marc Wiederrecht (Hommage au Talent). See A. Lange & Söhne’s Lange And Watchmaker Wiederrecht Win ‘Passion’ And ‘Talent’ Watch Awards for more information on them.
The latest duo in line to won these awards was Henry-John Belmont (Hommage à la Passion) and Philippe Dufour (Hommage au Talent). See Philippe Dufour and Henry-John Belmont Win FHH Homage To ‘Passion’ And ‘Talent’ Awards.
This year, the FHH once again awarded two such personalities, and yet again they are interesting in nature.
Hommage à la Passion
Chopard’s Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is a man extremely passionate about the mechanical watch. It was he who initiated the concept of bringing back manufacture movements to Chopard – the Swiss brand his family had acquired in 1963 – after the quartz crisis had ended.
Scheufele’s family hails from Pforzheim, the jewelry capital of Germany, but he himself is the product of an upbringing in Geneva and travels on a Swiss passport – though if you listen hard, you can still hear a tiny touch of the local southern German dialect when he speaks German.
“This was an additional opportunity for Chopard to become a recognized brand in haute horlogerie, and I think in order to be really recognized and accepted, it was necessary to go this direction,” Scheufele explained his decision to me nearly two decades ago as he was founding the L.U.C division of Chopard. “This meant making, conceiving, and producing our own movement, not just pretending to. So we decided to go this relatively hard, bumpy road, instead of just marketing. We believe in substance.”
Scheufele thus took Chopard as a brand back to its roots: “L.U.C., Louis Ulysse Chopard, made movements, his own movements, in the old days. Because of the development after my family took over, Chopard was more known as a ladies’ watch manufacturer, even as a jewelry brand, and not so much anymore as a manufacturer of men’s watches. In order to be really credible in that field, I thought the best thing would be to make our own movements.”
Spearheading this movement in 1993, he brought together a team of specialists with the goal of making a serial manufacture movement.
Now, as L.U.C. turns 20 years old and Scheufele has resurrected Ferdinand Berthoud’s name with an interesting timepiece (see Ferdinand Berthoud Is Reborn With FB 1 Thanks To Chopard’s Karl-Friedrich Scheufele), he can look back with satisfaction.
“Certainly, technically speaking, the L.U.C. project brought another dimension to the whole group. And, from a human standpoint I think it has been a great experience because it proves that when you set out to do something, and even if you don’t believe maybe in the beginning that you’ll make it, if you have a good group of people together, you can do it. In so many aspects it was a great experience, not to be missed.”
Hommage au Talent: Anita Porchet
Anita Porchet has set the standards, the tone, and the bar in the art of enameling in the modern era. Her illustrious client list includes brand such as Van Cleef & Arpels, DeLaneau, Piaget, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Cartier, Hermès, and Ulysse Nardin. She collaborates regularly with most of them, and they proudly name her as the artist.
Porchet is an independent artist specialized in enamel, which includes cloisonné (separating enamel colors with miniature gold threads), champlevé (putting the enamel into prepared grooves), and paillonnée (gold specks fired within the enamel). Porchet is considered by many to be the best enamel artisan in the watch world (see The 2015 Gaïa Awards: Giulio Papi, Anita Porchet, And Jonathan Betts Honored).
The art that the 2015 Gaïa recipient practices is officially called “peinture miniature en emaille grand feu technique de Genève”: oven-fired miniature enamel paintings in the Geneva style. There are almost no artisans left today who practice this particular technique, and only a very few brands exist who appreciate the extreme skill and attention to detail that go into making one of Porchet’s miniature works of art.
Porchet knew that miniature painting would be her vocation when she was a teenager. Creating a painted landscape miniature as a project for her uncle’s engraving workshop, she fell in love with this style of painting. After attending the Ecole Cantonale d’Art in Lausanne to study art, she took lessons from Elisabeth Juillerat, an enamel teacher in Geneva who gave her last official class in 1970.
Perhaps the most difficult thing about the art of enamel is knowing how to differentiate the different color hues. The enamel powders – which only become usable once they are mixed by the artist with the proper amount of water or essential oil – are not the same color they will eventually turn out to be once they have been fired up to twenty-five times in the kiln. It takes the experienced knowledge of the enameler and a very precisely prepared chart to know exactly which color will turn out to be which when they finally leave the kiln.