The Poinçon de Genève, the certification label for fine watchmaking, is only of value if the application of all its criteria is controlled.
The organisations responsible for overseeing the application of these rules comprise an independently operated legislative body, executive body and judicial body.
The Poinçon de Genève Office fulfils the role of the executive body. Through its approval, certification and audit units, it constantly oversees the application of the Poinçon de Genève criteria throughout every stage in the manufacture of a timepiece.
Approval is required for all components in the movement and additional modules and for external components. All of these components must respect the Poinçon de Genève criteria. The applicant must submit the following items in this order:
- Approval application form, duly completed.
- Set of 2D plans.
- All components of the movement and/or of the additional module (reference kit).
- An assembled movement and/or module.
- All external components.
When all these components have been found to comply with the Poinçon de Genève criteria, the applicant must submit:
- An assembled movement and reference module.
- A complete reference kit of movement components, additional module(s) and external components.
Once the application process has been completed, the Poinçon de Genève Office draws up an approval report.
For each movement and/or additional module approved (hereafter the movement), the certification phase can be initiated. Certification ensures that the components are identical in all respects to those that have been approved.
Movement certification is carried out:
- On the applicant’s premises.
- Entirely under the applicant’s responsibility.
- During every stage in the manufacture of the various parts.
Inspections are carried out at several stages in production:
- Component inventory
- Movement assembly
- Assembled movement inventory
TIMELAB guarantees compliance with the criteria through periodic inspections at the company.
Certification of the “watch head”
All watches are inspected.
Certification of the watch head is carried out according to the characteristics and criteria defined by the Poinçon de Genève (see section 9. Watch head criteria). This is done by the applicant’s personnel. In some situations, at the applicant’s request, this certification process can be carried out by the Poinçon de Genève Department. The inspection procedure relating to the certification of the watch head is defined by the Poinçon de Genève.
The applicant must check all inspection results and must be able to supply at any time all measurement and inspection records to the Poinçon de Genève Office, which keeps the test results register up to date.
The Poinçon de Genève does not specify the use of any particular brand of equipment or specific equipment to carry out the inspections. The Poinçon de Genève Office can supply visual assessment equipment or will approve an equivalent system, and will define the minimum standards with which it must comply. Equipment used for certification is defined by the Poinçon de Genève Office, which includes them in a regularly updated list. The Poinçon de Genève Office reserves the right to carry out inspections on watch heads in its laboratory at any time.
These inspections are carried out by TIMELAB personnel working in the Poinçon de Genève Office.
Poinçon de Genève personnel must have access to all of the applicant’s production departments and facilities as well as inspection data.
Inspections are organised according to a supervisory plan that specifies the method used and the frequency of monitoring.
The purpose of the periodic inspections is to ensure that each component adheres strictly to the criteria imposed by the Poinçon de Genève according to the reference kit of the approved movement. In case of dispute, only the calibre reference kit, which is the property of the Poinçon de Genève Office, is accepted.
Each inspection is recorded in a supervisory report.