Welcoming the prestigious SSC to EPHJ for the first time

The Swiss Chronometry Society (SSC) was established at the Palais de l’Athénée in 1924 as part of the centenary celebrations for the École d’horlogerie de Genève (Geneva Watchmaking School). This year, the SSC will be attending EPHJ to mark its own 100th birthday.

 “Competent people, who stand above particular interests and only listen to the voice of general interest.” That’s how a journalist from the Swiss watchmaking journal Journal Suisse d’Horlogerie (JSH) described the event in a report a century ago.

Founding values that still hold true today
In 1924, JSH got an inside look into the centenary of the Geneva Watchmaking School and the founding meeting of the SSC. The following year, it became the society’s official organ – a status it maintained for several decades. JSH, which appeared monthly at that time, was also the official organ of the Federation of Societies of Alumni of Technical Schools of Western Switzerland (Fédération des Sociétés des Anciens Élèves des Écoles Techniques de la Suisse occidentale). As such, it was front and centre of the four days of centenary celebrations organised by the Geneva Watchmaking School.

The third day, Saturday 4 October 1924, saw talks, panel discussions (as they would now be known), presentations and official speeches. In a speech in the middle of the celebrations, Léopold Defossez, director of the Le Locle Watchmaking School, urged his peers to go the next day, a Sunday, to the great hall of Geneva’s Palais de l’Athénée. It was in this setting steeped in history, the home of the Société des Arts, that the founding statute of this venerable institution was signed. In 2024, the society will step boldly into the spotlight at EPHJ with – in a detail symbolic of their linked destinies – the Geneva Watchmaking School by its side!

“At 100 years old, the SSC exudes an incredible liveliness of spirit and demonstrates a disarming dynamism.”

It has been playing its role as a key player serving the sector for 100 years. Every three years, the chairmanship is taken on by a different region, leading to the creation of a local office. For several decades, the JSH was its official communications organ, a role that has now passed to the Bulletin SSC (SSC Bulletin), published twice a year. Every three years, its annual Study Day turns into a two-day International Congress of Chronometry. In an auditorium with a flexible capacity, almost 1,000 professionals, involved in all aspects of chronometric science, meet to discuss an advertised theme…

The SSC spirit at the service of the sector

The Geneva region will hold the rotating chairmanship for three pivotal years from 2024, the centenary year, until 2026. In a happy coincidence, the Chairman will be Olivier Kuffer, head of the Watch Department at R&D Rolex SA.

For the first time, the SSC will be present at EPHJ. Olivier Kuffer explains: “It was a no-brainer, given how the dates coincide, Geneva and our history, the bicentenary of the Watchmaking School, our centenary and, above all, a common audience. Our members go to EPHJ to discover the latest technical developments. We don’t talk about products or brands but discuss techniques, processes and materials, providing an illustration of our truly shared values.”


Joël A. Grandjean

Centenary celebrations: dates for your diary

Thursday 13 June 2024: celebratory event, Palais de l’Athénée, Geneva, by invitation and in the presence of the political authorities | Tuesday 24 September 2024: centenary gala dinner, registration required, Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, Geneva | Wednesday 25 September 2024: 2024 Study Day on the theme The artists of time, CERN Science Gateway, Geneva – awards ceremony for the adjustment competition.

Olivier Kuffer, Chairman of the SSC, 2024–26

Olivier Kuffer muses on the history of the society: “We can already see a discreet, efficient society there, of great technical value, founded on bonds of friendship and respect between its members, providing fertile ground for fostering ideas and a thirst for technical requirements of the highest order. It reflects our country and the quality it projects through the prism of our sector.”

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