Bring together Watch-World Heritage in a single URL

“As a historian, it would be a dream to have instant access to so many primary sources, to establish facts, to understand context, to challenge myths, to resolve controversies, to uncover unknown facets of our story,” Mr. Vivas wrote in an email.

For now, the foundation aims to include analog archives from museums, watch companies and other institutions “with a broad view of watchmaking, open to everyone,” Ms. Depresle said.

Digitization could take place where the archives are, “or people can send the archives to Geneva or Paris. There is no one-size-fits-all solution,” she said. “We can develop solutions based on archives in terms of volume, or fragility.”

As examples of collections she would like to include, she cites the archives of the Musée international d’horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, as well as the personal archives of Louis Cottier, an independent watchmaker in Geneva who, in the early 1930 invented the mechanism at the heart of the Patek Philippe World Time watch.

To manage the technical aspects of digitization, the Watch Library will work with Arkhênum, the company Europa Star has called on to digitize its own archives. Based in Bordeaux, France, the company specializes in the preservation and digitization of documentary heritage – such as in its current project to digitize the 15 million pages of archives of the League of Nations in Geneva.

“It really is a high-tech company,” Maillard said. “We are implementing artificial intelligence to recognize shapes and colors, to make the search engine more refined.”

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