Chen Zhi and Prince Group Bring the Art of Swiss Watchmaking to Cambodia

January 20, 2021 - 05:57
Chen Zhi and Prince Group Bring the Art of Swiss Watchmaking to Cambodia

BEIJING, CHINA - MediaOutReach - 20 January 2021 - The global pandemic has changed theworking lives of many people across the world, including in Cambodia. ChairmanNeak Oknha Chen Zhi (公爵) and Prince Group,being a responsible corporate citizen, have opened the PrinceHorology Vocational Training Center, Cambodia's first independentwatch school. The training center gives Cambodians theopportunity to learn a new artisanal skill -- watchmaking -- and gain thenecessary experience to help them in job markets in Cambodia and abroad. Thetraining center follows the strict regulations for watchmaking outlined byregulatory bodies in Switzerland.

As a country steeped in history, Cambodia has long preservedartisanal skills for generations, with the Kingdom well-known for its ancienthandwoven silk and traditional handicraft industries that boast a heritagedating back to the time of the Khmer Empire, a significance that Chen Zhi andPrince Group have always understood and appreciated.

New artisanal skills, however, need to be introduced to improve jobopportunities for Cambodians, especially as the textile and garment industry, muchlike other sectors, has suffered greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic withmedia reports indicating that more than 55,000 workers have been strandedwithout an income.[1]

Many Cambodians have returned to agriculture and setup smallbusinesses in a bid to restore balance to their lives. To that end, Chen Zhi andPrince Group have launched the Prince Horology Vocational TrainingCenter in Phenom Penh, Cambodia to help introduce opportunities to learn newskills.

The state-of-the-art center offers a full-time, two-year coursemodelled on the certificate fédéral de capacité (CFC), standardsfor vocational training defined by the Swiss government that are widelyconsidered the industry norm for basic watchmaking education.

As a component of Chen Zhi and PrinceGroup's environment, social and governance (ESG) endeavours in Cambodia, thecenter also offers scholarships to local students and those requiringfinancial assistance, ranging from a 50% subsidy of the school fees to a fullypaid scholarship that includes accommodation. The first group of students havestarted their watchmaking journey.

Prince Group has hired world-leading watchmakers, including MaartenPieters, a former director of Switzerland's leading watchmaking school, theWatchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (WOSTEP).

Furthermore, Anthony McGonigle, the center's chief instructor and oneof the brothers from Ireland's most famous watchmaking family, compiled thesyllabus, which encompasses lessons on the history and culture of watchmaking,as well as benchwork, including machining, micro-mechanics, and production ofcomponents like the winding stem and balance staff etc. The center also focuseson traditional artisanal skills like decoration and turning.

"Iam honoured to announce the launch of the Prince Horology Vocational Training Center,Cambodia's first independent watch school. All the center's modernmachinery and equipment have been imported from Switzerland, Germany and othercountries," said Chairman Neak Oknha Chen Zhi of Prince Group. "We have alsoput together a world-class team to teach Cambodian and international studentsnew skills that will make them competitive in job markets in Cambodia andabroad."

Last year, Prince Group lived up to itsESG responsibilities in other fields. It made several large-scale donations tohelp in the fight against the pandemic and assisted flood victims in Cambodia. Tilldate, Prince Charitable Foundation Organization has organized more than 240charitable events and donated funds and other materials worth more than US$11million, benefitting more than 320,000 people. In early December, Chen Zhi andPrince Group donated US$3,000,000 to Prime Minister Hun Sen to help Cambodiapurchase 1 million COVID-19 vaccines as well.

The Prince Horology Vocational Training Center is acceptingapplications for the next school year that will begin on June 2, 2021. Thecenter accepts eight students -- at least five of whom will be Cambodians -- eachyear. For more details, please visit

[1] Cambodia'suncertain economic rebound in 2021, East Asia Forum feature series on 2020 inreview (link)

About Neak Oknha Chen Zhi

Neak Oknha Chen Zhi of Cambodia is the chairman of PrinceGroup, short for Prince Holding Group. As chairman, Chen Zhi has turned PrinceGroup into a leading conglomerate in Cambodia that adheres to internationalstandards, invests in the future of the Kingdom and is committed to sustainablebusiness practices.

In Cambodia, Chen Zhi has expanded Prince Group's businessoperations to encompass various sectors, such as real estate development,banking, finance and tourism. Aside from his business activities, ChenZhi actively engages in helping Cambodian communities with hisphilanthropy work.

About Prince Holding Group

Prince Holding Group, better known as Prince Group, is one of the largest corporate conglomerates in Cambodia, withbusinesses spanning across multiple industries, including real estatedevelopment, banking, finance, aviation, tourism, logistics, technology, foodand beverages, and lifestyle sectors. Prince Group adheres to its mission of"Building a Better Life" and the Group's philosophy espouses thevalues of "Commitment, Responsibility, Respect, Generosity and Innovation".