Hugues began his watchmaking studies at a historical watchmaking school in Besancon France. One of his student projects—a skeletonized pocket watch with reversed time indication, a particularly challenging assignment—won a prize in the Concour des Metiers d'Art, a France national competition. He subsequently studied at l'école d'horlogerie and microtechnique in La Chaux-de-Fonds Switzerland graduated with a diploma of horologist. Hugues completed an apprenticeship at the Musée international d'horlogerie where he focused on museum-quality timepieces restorations. Hugues truly enjoyed rebuilding a complete detent escapement of a Marine Chronometer and other precision Marine regulators. In 1984 Hugues traveled to the U. S. and landed his first job in Marine County to worked in a clock restoration workshop. Soon after he settled in Carmel and opened a watch boutique with many exclusive watch brands. In 1997 Chatel became one of the first Panerai official sales and service center for North America. In 2018 Chatel ended the Panerai dealership, however, Hugues is continuing the repair of Panerai watches as an official Panerai service center. Chatel is located in a quaint village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a must-visit for watch enthusiasts.
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