Richemont inaugurated last week its Campus Genevois de Haute Horlogerie (CGHH) in Meyrin, on the outskirts of Geneva, the cradle of watchmaking. The project was born in 2010 out of Richemont’s desire to “create an incubator, promote synergies, provoke interaction between actors within the same industry,” according to Richard Lepeu, CEO of the luxury group. This hub of watchmaking excellence, a “dynamic and attractive ecosystem,” is intended to be a forum for dialogue and exchange of knowledge, and a vehicle for promotion and strengthening the Haute Horlogerie professions.
The five buildings with their combined surface area of 45,000 m2 currently house a thousand employees. By 2020, this figure will rise to 1200.
As well as Maisons Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Roger Dubuis, Van Cleef & Arpels and Vacheron Constantin, the site is also home to the Atelier de Maroquinerie, a research and production laboratory for alligator leather straps, the headquarters of Richemont Europe and the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie. A polishing workshop is due to open its doors soon.
In addition to Richemont’s five watch brands, which may have their entire operation, or just their headquarters, or their watchmaking, administrative or commercial divisions there, the site is also a hub for research and training activities. A cornerstone of this international centre of excellence is the Ecole des Métiers et Artisans de Haute Horlogerie, which provides training, certification and qualifications for a variety of different users. The facility, which is dedicated to passing on watchmaking expertise and knowledge, currently has 32 apprentices. Looking ahead to 2020, the school will cater for around 50 apprentices, employing seven instructors, and will produce 20 newly qualified watchmakers every year.
The Campus Genevois, a city within a city, is the work of architects DePlanta & Portier. A total of 60 companies were involved in building the premises, which cost a total of CHF 180 million, 80 million more than planned for the original, smaller footprint. The Campus has been constructed on the principles of sustainable development, using 100% renewable energy with zero carbon emissions.
It has been designed to be open to other companies and bodies outside the Richemont Group, and its generous footprint will easily accommodate further extensions in the future.
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