During the month of December, I had the pleasure of attending the Fleurier Quality Foundation’s 10th anniversary with its founding brands Bovet, Chopard and Parmigiani Fleurier.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-7

I’ll be the first to admit, I honestly didn’t know much at all about the FQF and the Qualité Fleurier seal before attending, except that a handful of established brands such as Chopard and Bovet were emblazonig some of their pieces with it.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-13

What I learnt was that the FQF was born from a joint project by Bovet, Chopard, Parmigiani Fleurier as well as the Vaucher Manufacture, who all have production sites in and around Fleurier in the canton of Neuchâtel. The purpose of the Foundation from the get-go was to establish a new aesthetic and technical criteria dedicated to the certification of finished watches, by means of the Qualité Fleurier seal.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-11

Situated in the Hotel de Ville of Fleurier, a building that dates back to the 19th century, the FQF is an independent entity, legitimized by the partition of public Swiss authorities including the Swiss Federal Government (SECO) and the Canton of Neuchâtel among others.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-9

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-6

What FQF offers is the independent testing and quality assessment of watches. Unlike say the Geneva seal however, the Qualité Fleurier seal is non-discriminatory in the sense that any watch brand in Switzerland can qualify, regardless of which canton it belongs to.

To attain the Qualité Fleurier seal, a watch series has to meet five criteria:

Manufactured 100% in Switzerland:

This guarantees that all components in a watch have been made in Switzerland. This does not mean that raw materials such as precious metals have to be sourced in Switzerland, but that the components are tooled and machined entirely in Switzerland.

The way it works is that the Foundation receives disassembled movement kits with invoices for all outsourced components to trace their origins and ensure that they’re Swiss made.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-10



Technical and Aesthetic Validation

Metal, traditional ceramics, precious or avant-garde materials must be used.

The use of plastic for example is strictly prohibited. It’s also worth noting that the FQF doesn’t take all materials into consideration. Silicium for example is only accepted in components of the escapement and not for bridges or plates, though part of the Foundation’s job is to stay up to date with the latest materials, ensuring that they’re durable enough to use in watchmaking. So in essence, this criteria is constantly evolving to accommodate cutting-edge materials.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-3

The second aspect regards the manufacturing process and aesthetic finish of the movement and individual components, including traditional haute horlogerie traits such as hand-beveled and polished edges, polished screw heads, and the absence of burrs and blemishes. You can find the complete listing of aesthetic and technical requirements here.


COSC Test:

Once the movement kits are verified, they are sent back to their respective manufactures for assembly, then in turn are sent off to COSC for chronometric testing. This is done for each and every movement in a watch series that would bear the Fleurier Quality seal.

And although the accepted COSC  daily rate is −4/+6 seconds for a watch to be certified a chronometer, the Qualité Fleurier seal requires a more precise daily rate of 0/+5 seconds.

Chronofiable Test:

Once the movements returns from COSC to their respective manufactures and are cased with the dial and hands applied, or in other words a finished watch, the FQF keep a certain number of watches to essentially sacrifice as “crash-dummies” for the Chronofiable test. Per ISO standards, 5% of the total production is necessary to have a good representation of the whole series.

Chronofiable tests watches for waterproof performance, impact shock, thermic shock, and most notably a pendulum shock test of with a massive g-force of 5000 g. This is an important, albeit destructive test to ensure that the watch can survive the mishaps its owner might put it through during normal wear, and that indexes don’t fall off, and so on. Testing final product and not just a movement.



Requiring almost 4 years of research and development, the Fleuritest machine is very much at the core of the Fondation’s philosophy of ensuring that no matter how complicated a watch, it should hold up to daily wear and tear. The Fleuritest is able to test watches in 70 different positions and maneuvers in an exceedingly three-dimensional manner, whereby robotics engineers sought to mimic human arm movements. This includes all sorts of arm movements such as taking off a shirt, washing hands and even clapping, which is apparently one of the worst gestures as far as impact shock is concerned.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-5


The variation in rate is also verified optically be means of a camera linked to a computer, and must remain within 0 to +5 seconds for the entire 24-hour cycle of the FLEURITEST.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-4

The entire certification and testing usually lasts between 3 and 4 months, with the Chronofiable testing alone requiring 2 months. Given the stringent (and costly) requirements for the Quality Fleurier seal, it would be almost impossible for the aforementioned brands to apply it to all their timepieces. I’ll come back to this point.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-14

As of the 10th anniversary of the Fleurier Quality Foundation, the foundation has announced that it is making its testing services available to other watch brands and manufactures through their FQF Lab, where they can make full use of the equipment, including things like testing the kinetics of winding mechanisms and the power reserve performance of automatic movements. Essentially, third-party manufactures now have a means of collecting very specific raw data on the performance of their own movements.

Qualité Fleurier 10 years-12

So, what does this all really mean for the end customer? Is there still value in such seals as a testament of quality?

Ultimately, I believe it will be up to the brands and the FQF to educate the consumer about the merits of the Qualité Fleurier seal, but I honestly do believe that it does hold value, especially because it covers all aspects of a watch including realistic performance and not just the aesthetic finish. It pushes brands to ensure that they’re putting out the best possible product they can in a serial production, and that their complicated pieces work just as well as their simpler time-only pieces. As to whether the seal actually becomes the reference in haute horlogerie certification, only time will tell.

For now, you can look forward to my manufacture visit reports of the Bovet, Chopard and Vaucher ateliers in the near future.

More information on www.fleurier-quality.com