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"I am very curious to see daring and strong design projects." | Xavier Perrenoud, designer and professor at the ECAL University of Art and Design in Lausanne, talks about the greatest challenges facing the jewelry and watch industries and about the significance of awards.

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Xavier Perrenoud, designer and professor at the ECAL University of Art and Design in Lausanne, talks about the greatest challenges facing the jewelry and watch industries and about the significance of awards.

What are the biggest challenges in the watch and jewelry industry at the moment?

There is a lot of change going on recently. It‘s not only about the way young people think about consuming. All generations are changing their ways of looking at individual needs. The biggest challenge is to foresee these changes and present our customers with solutions for problems they haven‘t even discovered themselves yet.

Can you give an example of a similarly profound change that happened in the past?

Well, we talk about digitalization constantly. Yes, it is a big change, but we do see the opposite trend as well. We have the smart watch hype and we have a need for traditional, truly mechanical watches. Customers like to understand the items they wear. They like to understand why things work. On the other hand, digital devices open up a field of possibilities that were unthinkable ten years ago .

How important are awards for the watch and jewelry industry?

First of all, awards are important because they support innovation. We all know how esteem can rise our motivation and creativity. Also, it is great to have the opportunity to think “out of the box” and to present creativity to the public, in order to give the watch and jewelry industry greater visibility. Last but not least, you can‘t overestimate informal settings to get in touch with new contacts, and possibly new business partners.

What are you most looking forward to when thinking of the INHORGENTA AWARD in February?

I am very curious to see daring and strong design projects. I am looking forward to seeing the designers get all the attention they deserve. They are working so hard all year, the INHORGENTA AWARD finally rewards them. Additionally, I am convinced that the AWARD helps to stimulate creativity in the watch and jewelry industry in general. 

“Design always plays an important role in everyday life” | ​Watch expert and INHORGENTA AWARD jury member Gisbert L. Brunner on the role of the industry award and the rapid rise of the smartwatch

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Watch expert and INHORGENTA AWARD jury member Gisbert L. Brunner on the role of the industry award and the rapid rise of the smartwatch.

Mr. Brunner, how important is the INHORGENTA AWARD?

Very! And precisely because it stands out from other awards for its versatility. Very different categories are evaluated here: jewelry, design, brands....everything is here and that’s what makes the INHORGENTA AWARD so special.

Why is it important that smartwatches be honored in the SMART & CONNECTED WATCH OF THE YEAR category?

The market share of these timepieces is now in the double-digit range. Smartwatches are particularly popular with younger buyers. They want to be connected to their surroundings around the clock and read the latest information on their wrists. With these watches, you are immediately up to date. That’s why you have to keep up with the times and include smartwatches in the AWARD.

How important is design for you?

Design always plays an important role in our everyday life. For example, the smartwatches should be comfortable on the wrist and designed to be user-friendly. If I always need the manual, then they’re no use to me. The watch should be intuitively controllable via a single button. For example, when I play a song through my Bluetooth headphones or load a city map for navigation, it has to be simple. Even after a longer break away from it, I have to be able to operate the watch without any problems. Whether you like the exterior design of the smartwatch depends on your personal taste.

“Many applicants have rediscovered Art Deco” | ​Anja Heiden, INHORGENTA AWARD jury member and member of the Juwelier Wempe management team for jewelry and jewels, talks about contemporary taste and the industry award.

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Anja Heiden, INHORGENTA AWARD jury member and member of the Juwelier Wempe management team for jewelry and jewels, talks about contemporary taste and the industry award.

Ms. Heiden, is the award in the category FINE JEWELRY an incentive for jewelry designers?

I think that the INHORGENTA AWARD has reached the consciousness of artists and companies following last year’s amazing premiere ­– and that this is bound to inspire some designers. Quite simply, it’s a good thing for our industry.

As a jury member, what do you pay attention to in the submitted pieces of jewelry?

The use of high-quality materials is important for me and of course the design. The design should not be based on current tastes, but rather be more timeless. At the end of the day, we sell unique treasures. When they decide to purchase a piece, customers should not get the feeling that their piece of jewelry might be out of fashion again next year.

Have you discovered trends in submissions?

The category FINE JEWELRY is about real jewelry, jewelry that can be worn for a long time to come. In my opinion this contradicts the term “trend”. I prefer the expression “contemporary taste” because this is precisely what high-quality authentic jewelry is influenced by. Overall, I notice that the applicants have rediscovered Art Deco and prefer a simpler design.

“After the fair, we get a lot of applications.” | Christine Lüdeke is a professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Pforzheim. As a member of the jury for the INHORGENTA AWARD, she pays particular attention to careful design and technical skill.

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Christine Lüdeke is a professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Pforzheim. As a member of the jury for the INHORGENTA AWARD, she pays particular attention to careful design and technical skill.

Ms. Lüdeke, as head of the MA in Design & Future Making, you are one of the renowned experts on the jury of the INHORGENTA AWARD – is your judging strict?

Yes! On the one hand, I appreciate the care and the high level of technical skill that you see in the jewelry and watches. On the other hand, I find it important that the objects are sophisticated and are pioneers in terms of design. Do the works provide inspiration that lifts jewelry and culture to a higher level? All of that plays a role.

You were on the jury last year. Were you surprised by the entries submitted?

Yes, time and again. The entries often appeal because of the professionalism employed in their interpretation and also because of the way they further develop their own brand and also develop the relevant design approach.

What significance do you think INHORGENTA has for the industry?

It is one of the most important trade fairs in Europe for jewelry and jewelry manufacturers in the sales sector and I am delighted that INHORGENTA is experiencing a boost. For graduates who develop and distribute their own jewelry collections, the fair is important for making and maintaining contacts. For us as a university, it is important because we can see that there is a larger audience out there. After a trade fair, we receive many applications for our degree program.

Do you personally have a piece of jewelry that you love to wear?

My wedding ring! It was originally a friendship ring that my husband made for me at the age of 20. We were in love and on a road trip to Alaska. In Arizona we bought silver wire and made rings that we soldered at a goldsmith’s. When we married ten years later, the rings remained on our fingers and were magically transformed into wedding rings.

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