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The Fleurier Quality Foundation is another independent* body to which Chopard Manufacture resorts in order to test the quality of its timepieces. This certification is the most difficult to obtain. The procedure is even more comprehensive in that, in addition to submitting the movements to the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) in order to guarantee precision, the watches are tested as a whole in order to appraise their overall quality.
A Brief History of the FQF
Created on 5 June 2001, the Fleurier Quality Foundation stems from a joint project undertaken by the Chopard, Parmigiani Fleurier and Bovet Fleurier brands, as well as the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, to establish new aesthetic and technical criteria dedicated to the certification of finished watches.
All Chopard watches are 100% Swiss made. Thus, passing the stringent requirements for "Manufactured 100% in Switzerland" which concern only the watch head (the bracelet and clasp are excluded) is merely a formality for Chopard. The various stages of the assembly after the final transformation of the materials, pre-fitting, fitting, fitting the escapement, adjusting, finishing, assembly, casing and the final controls must be carried out in Switzerland. It is an onerous process in that the FQF requests proof of Swiss production of each and every piece from every supplier.
The movements are submitted to the entire series of tests in accordance with the ISO 3159 norm. All of the movements submitted for Fleurier Quality certification must have passed the tests of the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Over a period of 16 days, the precision of mechanical movements is measured in five positions and at three different temperatures (8°C, 23°C and 38°C). Whatever these conditions, the movements must maintain a precision ranging between -4 and +6 seconds per day for calibres measuring less than 20 mm in diameter, and between -5 and +8 seconds for smaller calibres.
Details of the tests can be found at http://www.cosc.ch.
The Chronofiable test takes the form of various stages, namely: an ageing cycle, test cycles designed to measure the pull-and-push forces on the stem, test cycles designed to measure the forces exerted on the pushbuttons (chronograph controls, correctors, etc.) turning bezel, tests on reactions to magnetic fields, shock-resistance tests using a heavy pendulum or striker, except for delicate complications, and a water resistance test.
Specifications define the level of finish required for the movement and its decoration. The watch must also comply with the numerous specific technical and aesthetic criteria contained in the technical regulations of the Fleurier Quality Foundation (involving the choice of materials, of decorative techniques, and of finishes).
Metal, traditional ceramics, precious or avant-garde materials must be used. The use of plastic materials is prohibited.
Finally, the rate of the finished watch must be tested on the Fleuritest machine, which replicates the conditions implied by 24 hours of wear in the most realistic possible way, and checks that the variation in rate falls within 0 and +5 seconds per day.
It is only when the watch has successfully passed all these phases that it is deemed worthy to receive to the Fleurier Quality Foundation label.
*As an autonomous and independent structure, it draws its legitimacy from the active participation of public authorities, including the Swiss Federal Government (SECO), the Canton of Neuchâtel, the Municipality of Val-de-Travers, the Val-de-Travers Regional Association, and the Philippe Jéquier Foundation.