Horopedia: new Wikipedia-style website will simplify the world of watches

Want to know what makes your tourbillion tick? Then turn to this new online platform

A watchmaker works on a timepiece at the Atelier Laurent Ferrier workshop near Geneva, Switzerland. Courtesy Atelier Laurent Ferrier
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Watchmaking will soon have an online platform dedicated to explaining every element of this complex and fascinating world.

Horopedia.org — a portmanteau of horology, the art of making timepieces, and encyclopaedia — was announced this week in Switzerland as part of the Geneva Watch Days 2022 Pavilion. No launch date has yet been revealed.

Inspired by Wikipedia's open-access approach to information, the new site aims to provide in-depth, accurate and expert knowledge of watchmaking. Using written descriptions, imagery and even short films, it will help demystify the industry, while shining a spotlight on the human hands behind every element.

The Horopedia.org team said the platform will be dedicated to sharing know-how and the artistic skills “accumulated by the industry over the centuries”.

Describing itself as a “watchmaking ecosystem”, the site will allow the watchmaking community to contribute to the content "on a voluntary and unsolicited basis”, with the hope that organic growth will follow.

From left, the founders of Horopedia Philippe Dufour, Marc Andre, Helmut Crott and Andre Colard at Geneva Watch Days in August 2022. Photo: Horopedia

One element of the site will deal with explanations behind the purpose and function of every piece in a watch movement, such as an escapement or the bridge joining two elements.

It will also dive into the more complex arena of complications, which are a test of the ingenuity and expertise of a house, while remaining entirely functional. The tourbillon is one such complication. Essentially a watch movement floating on a gyroscope within a timepiece, it is one of the most demanding to master. It also helps maintain accuracy, by reducing the effect of gravity of a watch's tiny, intricately moving pieces.

Free-to-use, the site will offer anyone, from high-end watchmakers to collectors and horology enthusiasts, the chance to explore how every element of a watch is designed, created and executed.

The site will be multilingual, though no details on the languages available have been revealed yet.

Horopedia.org has been created by the Horopedia Foundation, a Swiss non-profit comprising four industry experts. Respected watchmaker Philippe Dufour is president, while Marc Andre, founder of TheWatchesTV, is executive director. They are joined by Helmut Crott, who has provided horological expertise to major auction houses for four decades, and Andre Colard, founder of EPHJ trade fair.

Updated: September 01, 2022, 6:43 AM