Training The HEAD prepares for a new academic year
The Masters in Watch Design, part of the Masters in Fashion and Accessory Design offered by the Haute école d’art et de design (HEAD), is ambitious.
In 2015 HEAD Geneva, a partner of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and known worldwide for its exhibitions (including one on the famous Swiss cuckoo clocks), created a Department of Watch Design with a view to training future watch designers, offering two degree courses – a bachelor’s and a master’s. Director Jean-Pierre Greff says: “HEAD Geneva aims to contribute to the industrial and design economy of Geneva and Switzerland. With a view to ensuring its integration in both these sectors, the school intends to promote partnerships and encourage the professional integration of its graduates, while remaining sensitive to the evolution of industrial and economic needs.” The intensive course provides a strong theoretical foundation in all sectors of relevance to future professionals, in order to ensure they can rapidly join the workforce, as well as incorporating industry placements to work on concrete projects.
Experience that works for students
Valérie Ursenbacher, who worked with Jorg Hysek for 12 years, has been a HEAD lecturer for 18 months, and is joint head of the new department with Marco Borraccino, formerly of Panerai, who works as a consultant for a number of brands. Valérie Ursenbacher piloted a 3-week workshop that gave around ten students the opportunity to design a women’s chronograph for the Louis Moinet brand (named after the inventor of the chronograph). As Valérie Ursenbacher points out: “We put them in a situation as if they were working for the company. They were given a brief and a set of guidelines to ensure they respected the company design codes; they then created a product, along with its communication and packaging, to ensure the end client could identify with it.” The workshop gives students the opportunity to use their creativity as well as putting into practice the skills they have learned on the course.
Fit for purpose
Graduates are introduced not only to design and production techniques, but also to the watch industry’s supply chain. The course includes design modules and an introduction to CAO Solid Works software, 3D image rendering and product photography. It also includes coaching in following a brief and scheduling the various phases of prototyping, marketing, packaging and display, as well as teaching watchmaking techniques (including complications) and incorporating site visits (including to suppliers). The graphic design part of the course also features training in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. The personal project required for the Master’s degree is carried out in parallel with the theory courses and placement with a watchmaker. Given that one of the main qualities an aspiring watchmaking must possess is punctuality, candidates have until 7 April 2017 to apply for the course that starts in September. If you can keep your HEAD when all about you are losing theirs...