François-Henry Bennahmias speaks out in favor of suppliers and …. of Swiss Made

Temps de lecture : 3 minutes

A regular of verbal punchlines, with his leather jacket, he sets the record straight, he turns up the heat and becomes the spokesman for Swiss Made. And he’s throwing down the hammer, taking advantage of the podium provided by the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix ceremony where he was just awarded the supreme distinction, the famous “Aiguille d’Or“. Replay.


Joël A. Grandjean, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of JSH® Magazine & Swiss Watch Passport | Subscribe to JSH 1876


Did he have time to prepare? The fact remains that the Audemars Piguet CEO’s speech in favor of suppliers and Swiss Made has impressed people. At the GPHG 2019, shot with my cell phone and published on the Facebook page of JSH 1876, THE speech of the evening has been seen several thousand times and still puts a smile on the co-contractors’ faces.


Spontaneous and emotional moment
It was before the pandemic arrived, we were stuck together in a crowded theatre. However, it was these words that warmed the hearts of the few anonymous, discreet attendees, acting in the shadow of the brands without depriving them of an inch of light or brilliance, namely the local co-contractors. The soul of Swiss watchmaking. Here are his words pronounced on the stage of the Théâtre du Léman, as transcribed:


“People who know me well know that I can’t get through something like this without having a mini outburst. I have to. And my outburst will come out now.”

There are people who cannot be rewarded here tonight because there are no prizes for them. And we couldn’t, it’s complicated. It’s the suppliers. The suppliers, we can’t do anything without them. We are talking, and everyone has mentioned it tonight, about Manufactures, we are all producing our beautiful things, mostly independently, but that is not the problem. Without suppliers, watchmaking is absolutely nothing. I am French, I am not Swiss. But it’s been 25 years now, 25 years that I celebrated this year at AP.  I have taken this pride, this pride in the brand, this pride in the territory, this pride in know-how, in intelligence, in the sublime.

Appelé pour la énième fois sur la scène, cette fois pour recevoir l’Aiguille d’Or, le CEO d’Audemars Piguet, François-Henry Bennhamias


And when I hear that some people are starting to look at how to produce in other parts of the world, to occasionally scrape, I mean save 10, 20 or 30 francs on a piece, I want to yell.


If brands do this, you will kill watchmaking, because today watchmaking is a kind of special crossbreeding.

Yes, it’s true that things aren’t going fantastically well here and there, but there are young people who are coming into the watchmaking market, in the 15 to 20 age group, as clients, as customers, and who are saying “this is quite fantastic, we didn’t even know what it was. There’s know-how, there’s talent and we want to know more.” Social media is really going to open those doors.

And we have a commitment to preserve a know-how that is absolutely unique in this country and we will only do so if we continue to support the suppliers. Although from time to time we can’t earn an extra 10 or 20 francs, and we have to charge a public price, emotion is priceless.

So this will be the outburst for our profession, we still have a lot of great things to do together! The last thing is for my boss… “Jasmine, 19 years, we finally got it“!

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