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Meilleur ouvrier de France

Henri Privat

For Henri Privat, a third-generation jeweller, this is a dream come true. The title of MOF (Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France – one of France's best craftsmen) in the Jewellery section and in the Precious Metal Jewellery category is the crowning achievement of 35 years of passion and the recognition of an entire profession.

For almost 20 years, no jeweller in the département had won the tricolour collar. Henri is proud to associate his title of national excellence with his expertise as a Catalan jeweller.

The general jury, made up of nine jewellers who are themselves Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, congratulated Henri Privat on his courage, self-sacrifice and hard work, confirming his mastery of the highest standards of craftsmanship.


Year of accolades

This 27th edition of the MOF competition focused on creating a yellow and white "velocimane" measuring 18 cm long and 7 cm wide. The "velocimane" is a hand-powered tricycle invented by Joseph Monet, an engineer and the son of a watchmaker, at the beginning of the last century to provide a means of transport for soldiers who had been mutilated in the First World War.

It took Henri Privat 22 weeks (from October 2022 to March 2023) to create this piece in 750/100 gold and 1st quality silver, based on a gouache drawing and detailed specifications. The whole unit is fully articulated, functional and can be disassembled. This complex and technical piece calls on all the skills involved in jewellery making, such as sawing, fitting, welding, re-drilling, stamping, and soldering.

The required work is 18 cm long and 7 cm wide
is made up of:

  • a woven gold trunk,
  • a fork, wheels and articulated cranks,
  • a gold cushion with silver buttons,
  • a chain (not compulsory) between the wheel and the cranks,
  • wheels and spokes crossed by three.

The MOF competition

The competition was launched in 1925 by the Comité d'Organisation des Expositions du Travail and the Société Nationale des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (COET-MOF). Held every three or four years, it rewards masterpieces of near-perfection in 17 groups representing more than 230 skilled trades.

The title of MOF, awarded for life, is much more than a prize or a simple distinction. The Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition is a genuine level V diploma examination awarded by the Minister for National Education and Youth.

The medals are awarded at a ceremony at the Sorbonne in Paris, followed by a reception at the Elysée Palace, with the French President in attendance.