Discriminating ad - the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie spits down on amputees as what they call 'fake people' alluding at a prosthetic hand

As a means to work against what they term a 'fake watch' (probably they mean replica watches), the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie uses an ad campaign showing what appears to be a prosthetic hand accompanied with the slogan "fake watches are for fake people". The thing is that ridiculously overpriced luxury watches (Omega, Rolex, and so on) are copied and thus, replica watches are sold. Replica watches are illegal here in Switzerland. But no one really needs these expensive originals: we all have mobile phones now, our computers constantly show the time, and besides, there is an overwhelming choice of really good looking watches at normal prices. So without surprise, they have trouble selling them. The association that represents the manufacturers is the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.

When I saw their ad for the first time I truly was in pain. I cringed. I suffered. It physically stressed me out. I immediately and intensely hated the ad and still do. I assume these are feelings some other people do not go through - but I and other amputees may just really have an issue here as processing such information can be immensely stressful for the brain of an amputee. Of course and rather obviously, there is a technical overlap between mannequins, make up art, mask building and prosthetics. But this ad clearly uses that blur to its assumed advantage. And so it sends the wrong message. Point blank, this really hurts me and I do take offense and Witsch Watsch resurfaces as subject.


(C) Image Copyright Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie

Most intriguingly, "Watches are nothing but a type of prosthetic themselves" (Schweitzer, 2008). We do seem to lack respective proprioception. They are prosthetic components for us to perceive time better maybe more precisely, maybe as show off to others as a little wrist mounted monument to highlight just how successful we want them to believe we are.

Other than that, there seems to be nothing 'more real or more fake' about any watch or any prosthetic hand. If you lack self esteem, you supplement it with a hugely expensive watch that acts as an ego prosthetic, and if you lack a hand you supplement that with a prosthetic hand. There is no point in putting blame to the "fake-ness" of that process. I don't act as if my watch was my built in time sensor. I don't act as if my glasses was an innate ability to see well. I don't act as if my prosthetic arm was anything else but a practical and maybe shape completing add-on. I don't pretend to be a fast runner when in reality I drive my car - another prosthetic substitute of our time. Even a mannequin's hand is a real substitute for the three-dimensional outline of a person. These are all things I regard as legitimate substitutes. Alright? Now, calling the 'fake card' in that context, showing a 'fake hand' and associating that with 'fake people' in context of selling substitute parts such as watches or glasses, prosthetics or mannequins - that does not make sense.

A watch is always a single purpose perceptional prosthesis just as glasses, dentures, hearing aids, cars or mobile phones. So quite clearly we know that spending too much money on watches or other prosthetic replacements or substitutes will always and invariably cause us to feel empty inside: such items can be great support up to the point of functional and aesthetic enjoyment, but never more than that - out of their very nature they are never fulfilling or joyous, never life or breath, they never represent motion and definitely not adventure.

The issue is further complicated because there is self referentiality - checking the time by looking at the watch costs more time, setting a watch by turning the knob or pressing the buttons costs more time. Just as buying a wallet costs money. And it would be good to have a prosthetic arm to aid in buying a tram ticket to visit the orthopedic technician that will build a prosthetic arm for you. Self referentiality of that type is always an alarm sign that utter absurdity may lurk just around the corner.

All of that is missed here in that glorious ad, and that is why I find this ad not just offensive but so utterly absurd. Watches are nothing but a type of prosthetic devices themselves.

But the absurdities stop here and I only laugh for so and so long.

Because there are several serious issues here that I openly oppose.

  • The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie exhibits what I perceive as a lack of respect towards amputees, particularly towards arm amputees. They do so without the slightest excuse that can be recognized. In my view, they implicitly point to a person with a prosthetic hand as 'fake' in an encompassing and generalizing fashion or at least they can be all too easily understood that way. No high society, middle class or workers' union, no pilot, diver, race car driver, adventurer, extreme sports person, base jumping aficionado or sailing boat team member should support that type of misanthropic attitude.
  • By association, this ad equates a prosthetic hand (by visual) and by proxy and direct association a person wearing a prosthetic (by slogan 'fake people') with forgery, with criminal watch replications, with infringing on laws through replica watches. The stereotypical mental or visual image employed appears to be that of a prosthetic wearing pirate, beggar or thief that got a hand chopped off. Those are precisely the archetypal images that were the first ones to show disabilities on film around 1905 (when that genre took off), and so by similarity those are the stereotypes this ad appears to allude to. It resembles that type of exploit extremely well. You may come up with "but..." excuses for why that hand representing a 'fake hand' should be a superb idea for your cause - reality has it that when I see that ad I cringe and it makes me as well as other people suffer, mere visual exposure to me is very stressful.
  • They state that "the customers themselves must realize that wearing a fake luxury watch is empty of meaning". I wear a prosthetic hand - an item that I clearly see represented on their ad. I would argue that this is not empty of meaning at all. I am wearing watches that are not built by who is represented by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie. Much rather, I wear watches that look good, whose design could be seen as similar or comparable to that of very expensive watches. Why should any of that be empty of meaning? What more meaning is there in prosthetics than to wear an orthopedic replacement for hand look and function? What more meaning to a time piece is there than that time piece? Does beauty have to be deeper than skin deep? I mean, what do you want, an adorable pancreas? No, honestly? Is that the view of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie? Is just that 'authentic' what these people tell us - or do we have other avenues of establishing authenticity? Is "time" authentic regardless of the ridiculously expensive chunks being offered by outdated arrogant conservationalists? Is a prosthesis more authentic if the illness or injury hurt beforehand, if I can say "it was far worse than it looks"? What if it was? Is that something y'all want to argue out? Does that make you feel more authentic? What if your watch is real but you are fake? What if you don't even exist? Would you know by checking your watch?
  • They say that "the time has come to challenge this plague on innovative, socially-responsible, high-tech businesses". I have not the slightest idea why paying some 6'000 or 12'000 CHF for a simple tic toc would be an "innovative idea" at all. And I have not the faintest idea why discriminating against amputees in this way is "socially responsible".
  • Here is a joke that I picked for the watch sellers among you: A lawyer opened the door of his BMW, when suddenly a car came along and hit the door, ripping it off completely. When the police arrived at the scene, the lawyer was complaining bitterly about the damage to his precious BMW. "Officer, look what they've done to my Beeeemer!", he whined. "You lawyers are so materialistic, you make me sick!!!" retorted the officer, "You're so worried about your stupid BMW, that you didn't even notice that your left arm was ripped off!""Oh my gaaad....", replied the lawyer, finally noticing the bloody left shoulder where his arm once was, "Where's my Rolex???!!!!!" How genuinely funny? Or is that type of humor 'fake' now.

I wear a prosthetic arm including a hand, that is very authentic. It is real, can be touched. It cost about 7000 CHF - quite in the price range that even a Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie should recognize as 'possibly relevant'. Yet if the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie representatives keep confirming this as 'fake' and 'false' in the criminal sense intended on their ad one more time I may see to it that a more direct experience will lead to their clear perception of such orthopedic aids such as prosthetic hands as "real", "tangible" and not at all "fake".

Today's market outside the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie offers very precise and very elegant watches at a mere fraction of the cost of these so-called luxury watches.

Personally, I prefer digital, high precision or radio controlled, elegant and cool watches rather than the products of sheer arrogance.

They say that smoking can be bad for your health but if you listen in on talks in these shops ("How much is that Omega Hyperionmaster?" - "It is 120'000 CHF, Sir" - "Uaaaahrrrrrrr.....") you doubt how really healthy luxury watches really are. Functional quality of Swiss watch industries' expensive watches should be viewed with great caution these days: as they do not sell sizable amounts of units any more, quality control and customer service are likely to be lost just as easily as politeness, respect and tact (missing from the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie's current public appearance) is lost. I see this ad campaign as clear sign of a dying industry. They are even on Facebook, Watch Wiki and on the Watch Pro Site. We should not have let it come that far. Where were we when that happened!

Other companies produce watches that I find extremely reliable, useful, elegant, affordable and superbly attractive at the same time. They use actual high tech, some are solar powered radio controlled, others are automatic. I work under demanding conditions at times, and cannot say that my own choice of watch brands has disappointed me so far.

  • Invicta - My Corduba model is very comfortable and precise. This is an elegant office and light activity model but even this is robust and successfully survived the one or other mishap.
  • Diesel Timeframes - The most elegant and cool watches in terms of design that are currently available.
  • Aeromatic - I have two automatic watches of that company and they are great. They are alright for heavy duty usage as well.
  • Casio - Their solar powered radio controlled watches give you more temporal reliability than any other watch at a price that is payable. The pathfinder model is as rugged as they come.

So charging an arm and a leg (oops, a pun) or more for a simple watch seems to be well in line with the 'fake' attitude of that ad.

I do love the Bell & Ross watch designs a lot - but similar or better watches can be bought anywhere else at a fraction of the cost.

Footage for Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie people and fans as their sorely needed reality check:

To ease the difficult process for some among y'all visitors that will lead to your realization that a prosthetic hand is not necessarily 'fake' I will show in a philosophically interesting demonstration that in order to put a real watch on or take it off, a real prosthetic hand can be used.

By virtue of this demonstration alone, neither my watch nor my prosthetic hand could possibly be fake. I mean, I could theoretically be imagining this and fake it - but here you can see it with your own eyes.

So here we go, real prosthetic hand, real watch, real person, no tricks, no forgery:

Pretty real, hugh?

Because when you want to start to argue simulacra with me no ground will be left to stand on.

Then, this is not real but a website, the prosthetic hand manipulating the watch is not real but a video delivered digitally onto your screen, and of course the ad shows no real watch but a two dimensional projection that has been printed onto paper or displayed on a computer screen. Then, nothing at all of these artifacts will have anything real left about them.

Now, here comes the hard part for the watch industry.

Even without wearing what they call some 'fake hand' I am a real person. So, is a real prosthetic hand for a real person? Is a fake hand for a real person or is that not so? And even then, I am able to wear, put on or take off a real watch - as conflicting this may be with your 'fake'-centered world view. Even the money I paid to buy my watch was ... REAL!

Real watch, real person, no tricks, no forgery:

Real watch, real person, no tricks, no forgery:

Compare watch technology and prosthetic technology to see whether they are both real or both prosthetic

As we discussed earlier, watches are nothing but prosthetic components for us to perceive time better. The following images and movie clip will allow you to check for 'fake' and 'real' aspects in a side by side display of a prosthetic wrist and some watch parts. If you compare the visuals below, you will be drawn into similarities beyond initial belief:

Prosthetic parts: Real photos for real people.

Watch parts: Fake watch animation for fake people? Go figure. Hit 'play' and be bewildered.

Do you truly believe that the people that mis-spell fake in various ways here know what life is about?

Do you really believe they represent "authenticity" in any conceivable way?

What if the idea to rip off people with overpriced watch making was, intrinsically, a fake to begin with?

Do you truly believe they know what time and patience really means? What authenticity in face of adversity really means? What fake and real contain in terms of authenticity?

Isn't that what luxury watch sellers do: place 'fake' watches into their shop windows?

When I see such a 'fake' watch offered in the shop window and then get a 'real' Omega presented to be by the shop keeper, who's the crook?

Would you consider that we may be rendering ourselves senseless with the sheer amount of prosthetic support systems none of which is more real or less fake than any other?

I don't think these people have any idea. So right now, We Are Not Amused.

(C) Image Copyright Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie

Reality check. This is real.

Watch this video.

Don't look down on people with prosthetic hands - a type of replacement that you call 'fake'. I know that does not come naturally to some. That's why I wrote it down for you. Now this is a real prosthetic arm. And I use it to type. Really. Be authentic. Be real. Don't buy expensive things that fake reality.

Other comments about disability and the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie

The full text of their ad for documentation: A global response to counterfeiting worldwide « FAKE WATCHES ARE FOR FAKE PEOPLE ! »The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry are joining forces to launch an international anti-counterfeiting campaign. Their objective is to inform the public on the damage caused by this global scourge. In spite of the many efforts made, the problem of counterfeiting and piracy continues to wreak havoc on virtually every economy worldwide, and is expanding rapidly through multiple distribution channels, especially online.

Astronomical amounts Calculations based on Customs seizures show that counterfeits and piracy worldwide amount to US$ 200 billion to 360 billion a year, or 5% to 7% of international trade. Swiss watches are no exception, as the sector is hit full-on by this modern-day plague. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) estimates that over 40 million fake Swiss watches are made each year (compared with exports of almost 26 million authentic Swiss watches in 2007) and that they generate net profits of around one billion dollars. This illicit trade, whose main victims are the most prestigious Swiss brands, is equivalent to around 6% of total Swiss watch exports for 2007. Everyone suffers In this context, it would be naïve to imagine that counterfeiting can be defeated simply by targeting the counterfeiters and their means of production. This wouldn’t be such a thriving industry without the individuals who buy fake watches, and who fail to realize the full extent of the damage they cause, in particular in human terms. The priority in the fight against counterfeiting must therefore be to speak directly to these potential customers and have them realize that what they believe is a harmless purchase has serious consequences on companies and nations. Legislative weapons and international measures still lack the impact to defeat this global scourge; hence the customers themselves must realize that wearing a fake luxury watch is empty of meaning. Counterfeiters increasingly target internationally renowned Fine Watch brands, whose reputation, capacity for innovation and sales all suffer as a result. These brands must also invest significant amounts in the fight against illicit copies in all their forms and to protect their intellectual property. As counterfeiting continues to spread, an even more serious consequence is the generalize loss of confidence in companies that nevertheless create jobs and added value. At national level, counterfeiting forces governments to invest heavily in the fight against fakes while losing out on tax revenues, and takes away employment opportunities. Finally, the phenomenal amounts of money generated by counterfeiting go on to benefit the mafias, criminal organizations and terrorist groups that reign over this illicit trade, where child labor is commonplace, and health and safety standards are openly flouted.

A powerful message Faced with a scourge that undermines companies and countries alike, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) has joined forces with the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) to launch a vast information campaign aimed at the general public. It will take the form of powerful visuals backed by a simple, hard-hitting message: "Fake Watches are for Fake People." The campaign will be unrolled in the international media that are supporting this initiative. Clearly, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, whose vocation is to defend and promote the values of Fine Watchmaking and its professions, could not stay silent in the face of counterfeiting. The time has come to challenge this plague on innovative, socially-responsible, high-tech businesses. We can no longer stand by and do nothing, so let’s say it out loud: « FAKE WATCHES ARE FOR FAKE PEOPLE ! »

So no one needs a A.Lange & Söhne, Alain Silberstein, Antoine Preziuso, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Blancpain, Bovet Fleurier, Boucheron, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Corum, Daniel Roth, De Bethune, De Grisogono, DeWitt, Eberhard&Co, Favre-Leuba, F.P.Journe Invenit et Fecit, Franck Muller, Gérald Genta, Girard-Perregaux, Glashütte Original, Greubel Forsey, Vianney Halter, Harry Winston Timepieces, Hautlence, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jaquet Droz, JeanRichard, Kari Voutilainen, La Montre Hermès, Léon Hatot, Longines, MB & F SA, H. Moser & cie, Montblanc, Omega, Panerai, Parmigiani, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Perrelet, Philippe Dufour, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Rolex, Speake Marin, TAG Heuer, Ulysse Nardin, Union Glasshütte, Urwerk, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef and Arpels or Zenith right now. These appear to be the brands that support the FHH and that stand behind this ad campaign.

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: swisswuff.ch - Discriminating ad - the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie spits down on amputees as what they call 'fake people' alluding at a prosthetic hand; published 16/07/2009, 14:45; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=205.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1653028912, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{swisswuff.ch - Discriminating ad - the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie spits down on amputees as what they call 'fake people' alluding at a prosthetic hand}}, month = {July}, year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=205} }