Constitutive assembly of the AOL watchmaking category

As of Tuesday, 2 July 2013, the Lombard Goldsmiths' Association has been enriched by a new category, the artisan watchmakers, in addition to those of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, metal counters and stone dealers. Attendance at the Assembly was high: in addition to a large audience, 33 companies including watch workshops, shops and suppliers of watch parts were present. Twenty-eight delegates from all over Italy took part: Rome, Rieti, Nardò, Lamezia, Matera, Pescara, Ragusa, Giovinazzo, Ospedaletti, Monterotondo, etc. During the evening, 36 workshops formalised their membership of the Associazione Orafa Lombarda, thus forming the new category of watchmakers and assuming the status of 'founding members'. After the opening speech by Andrea Sangalli, President of the AOL, who greeted the participants and presented the essential features of the AOL, Rodolfo Saviola, the historic leader of Italian watchmakers, explained the reasons for this convinced and no longer prolonged associative choice and outlined the category's future work programme centred on the struggle to obtain spare parts from watchmakers and the watchmakers' code of ethics. Then it was the turn of Rino de Feo, AOL Treasurer and Retail Councillor, who has always been close to the demands of watchmakers, who focused on the decisive and fundamental issue of the distribution of watch parts. After a brief historical excursus, the position of the watch manufacturers was analysed, with particular reference to Richemont and Swatch Group, and our association's approach to the issue was outlined with an eye always turned to the European Commission, the final arbiter of the long-standing dispute. The speeches of the large audience emphasised the close connection between the demands of watchmakers and the need for shops to provide assistance to their customers, the central role of the European Community, which will have the final word on the matter and with which to keep a channel of dialogue open at all times, the national dimension of the problem that the Lombardy Goldsmiths' Association is taking on, as witnessed by the memberships from all over Italy, and the problem of suppliers, whose work is being undermined, like that of watchmakers and shops, by the watchmakers' bans. Registration for the AOL watchmakers' group opened on 2 July and will continue with the aim of achieving maximum representation of the category. The members as at 30 September 2013 will be the voters, in October, of the Council of the category, which in turn will elect the President of the Watchmakers, according to modalities that will be indicated. The hope and wish of the historic Assembly of 2 July 2013 are for a massive membership of watchmakers in AOL to give maximum weight and strength to the new organisation.