"Fabienne Lupo, chairwoman and managing director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), has taken on the formidable task of propelling fine watchmaking into the future while placing distinct emphasis on craftsmanship and luxury. The FHH is the organizing body of the SIHH."

Elizabeth Doerr ( Editor-in-Chief Quillandpad.com)

1.    Please briefly describe your childhood?

My father was a construction supervisor and my mother was a nurse. I had the fortune to live a happy childhood and a little lonely since I was an only child, which allowed me  to develop my imagination, creativity, curiosity and a thirst for meeting people.

2. As a child did you have any driving ambition?

I would have liked to have been an artist ... as the saying goes... Dancer, actress, singer. I love putting myself in the shoes and the lives of others.

3. What is your first significant memory as a child?

Sunday night when we came home from my grandparents in the countryside and lying in the back of the car looking at the starry sky, I dreamed and I invented stories of my future life.

4. Have you ever had another profession?

Yes, I sold marketing studies to major advertisers. And I also worked in the marketing of cosmetics and the creation of a perfume for women.

5. What made you decide to go in the direction you are currently in? 

I discovered the job of organizing exhibitions when I worked at the Foire de Marseille, where I worked among others. This is a very big public event with 1'500 exhibitors and 450'000 visitors in 9 days.

6. What’s the worst job you’ve had to do?

Assistant (department) manager in a supermarket.

7. What was the hardest time in your career?

My breast cancer. No one is immune. You suddenly realise you are mortal, it is a test and a great opportunity to live the rest of your life differently.

8. Who has had the strongest influence on you? What are your greatest inspirations? 

Of course my father for his foresight and common sense. My boss at the Marseille Fair who gave me confidence. And of course Mr. Franco Cologni, my mentor for 20 years to whom I owe where I am today.

9. What are you most proud of? 

My children, as for any mother.

10. What advice would you give to a 20 something thinking of taking a similar path as you? 

I will not say better than René Char: " Impose your luck, hold on to your happiness and go towards your risk. They will become accustomed to the look on your face.

11. Name three things on your bucket list.

Write a book, be in a movie, become a crazy grandmother.

12. Where do you think the industry is going to be in 10 years’ time?

My crystal ball tells me that we are fortunate to have a very resilient, responsive and creative industry, creating and making beautiful things that last and that people will always want to own. But it will of course have to live in its era and adapt to new techniques and technologies that will impact its entire ecosystem, manufacturing, distribution, communication, customers. Watchmaking will have to anticipate and adapt, this will be key to its success.

I am sure that the Swiss watch industry will have a bright future if it can retain or even increase its desirability in the world.

To learn more about the FHH