The FHH Creates the HH Certification:
a Test of Watchmaking Knowledge
By Aaron Recksiek, CW21
The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), an international firm founded in 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland, by three major watch manufacturing groups: Audemars Piguet, Girard-Perregaux, and the Richemont Group, is an organization dedicated to the worldwide promotion and development of the values and tradition of Fine Watchmaking. The group is most known for organizing the annual Salon international de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watch exhibition, now in its 25th year.
The International Certification of Watchmaking Knowledge was developed largely due to the growing knowledge of the average collector and the problem of salespeople not being knowledgeable enough about the watches they were selling. The FHH wanted to set out to rectify this trend by creating a broad-spectrum, knowledge-based certification that is mainly geared toward whom they refer to as Fine Watch sales advisors.
The test consists of 160 randomly chosen multiple-choice questions covering four key categories: techniques, market players, materials used in watchmaking, and history and culture. The exam questionnaire was developed by the FHH and verified by the external consultant, the Assess Group, to help ensure the scientific accuracy and validity of the questions. The test is given in-person in a controlled environment over the course of two hours. The questions also contain a secondary answer while answering, called the level of confidence; there are six level-of-confidence options with each question. This is used to discourage random answering and reward the honesty of the examinee.
The final score is tabulated by the number of right answers, plus the level of confidence scores. The FHH will then award the examinee an International Certificate in one of three different levels of expertise based on the final value of the score. Expert in Fine Watchmaking is the highest, followed by Specialist in Fine Watchmaking, and Advisor in Fine Watchmaking.
The FHH has one exam scheduled for April in New York City with more exams to be scheduled in other big cities around the world in the future. The cost for the exam is $385, which includes not only the final exam but also 160 practice questions, a recommended reading list to help prepare for the exam, and Watch@Tablet access (a tablet application sales tool that includes exclusive brand information for 27 participating watch brands).
You can register for the exam online or take a 12-question demo exam at hhcertification.org. You can register either as an individual or as a company to receive special enrollment procedures if you need multiple people within the same company to sit for the exam. While the exam is intended for salespeople, anyone is welcome to take it.