It is known that a item with”Swiss Made” tend to stands for quality and social status of owner. Recently, as he Swiss National Council announced that only products that meet the requirement of containing at least 60% Switzerland made materials can be counted as”Swiss Made”, increased from 50%. There is no doubt that the watch industry will be highly under surveillance, especially for those producers who want to play edge ball of the old rule of 50%.
If you’ve been into watches for a while, it will not take you long to realize that “Swiss Made” on a watch dial commands a premium over a similar watch without this marking. In the world of watch companies, there is certainly an economic incentive for being seen to produce Swiss Made watches. Clients and collectors typically see Swiss watches as inherently better, and this is thankful to successful marketing of Swiss watch industry.
After all, there are a large number of watch companies started with foreign money, who have had to open a facility in Switzerland to attain “Swiss Made” status, before being taken seriously by watch buyers. It seems manufacture in Switzerland find a new way to get further development.
Rightly or not, it is not easy to say whether a Swiss watch is better due to the numerous arguments that can be made on either side. The world is very different from what it was 50 years ago when economies were more local, and when the origin of a product could be more easily traced. Now we live in an age where talent, materials, and money flow through porous economic borders, and the difficulty comes in deciding where the country of origin is and when it can change due to your definition of it.
The luminal space where emotion ends and where business begins is perhaps what this law aims to make concrete. Lots of economic interest rides on it, both for the Swiss and for foreign watch companies wanting to get a piece of the “Swiss Made” action by routing some of their production through Switzerland. Actually, this is certainly a national protective measure, either reduce the number of “Swiss Made” products, or promote the development of the national manufacture.
What requirements a Swiss Made watch need to meet? According the official website of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) , a watch is considered Swiss, according to Swiss law if, 1) its movement is Swiss and, 2) its movement is cased up in Switzerland and; 3) the manufacturer carries out the final inspection in Switzerland.
Of course, people would wonder what a Swiss movement is. The definition of a Swiss movement is tied into rule 1) as above, and states that: A watch movement is considered Swiss if 1) the movement has been assembled in Switzerland and 2) the movement has been inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland and 3) the components of Swiss manufacture account for at least 50 percent of the total value, without taking into consideration the cost of assembly.
Reading these definitions, it is not hard to come up with scenarios to see how the system can be gamed in order to produce a “Swiss Made” watch. It is funny when a Swiss movement, say an ETA or Unitas, is assembled outside of Switzerland, then brought back in to have the ultimate screw turned and the movement cased up. In this case, the other parts of the watch such as the strap, case, crystal and dial, can be of foreign origin. Then people may wonder, where does the “Swissness” start and where does it end?
The most surprising thing that’s been said is with the old rule of 50%, the fact is that a watch that is Swiss Made can also, by extension, mean that the same replica watch can be labelled “Asian Made”, which may can dilute the value of “Swiss Made”, and thus the new 60% rule attempts to address this criticism by defining a greater proportion of the watch’s value.
I don’t know what to make of this if I’m honest, as I have admittedly been brainwashed as well. In purchasing decisions, I have used the “Swiss Made” criteria and have attached a premium to that label, even though I know of the somewhat slippery definitions involved.
At the same time, though the “Swiss Made” seems to retain its value in foreseeable future, according to many collectors I have spoken with, they tend to believe that clients are gradually attracted by those new dependent watch producers instead of initially merely focus on that label. Savvy watch buyers will know all this, and will know what they are buying, and the “Swiss Made” label will be but an increasingly smaller part of the purchasing decision, eclipsed by other factors such as the intrinsic parts of the watch itself.
That being said, I expect that members of the 500 strong Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, made up of small to medium manufacturers, will welcome this move. Replica Watch manufacturers who have reason to, will have to tighten up their game in order to meet the new 60% requirement. This would involve either using more Swiss sourced components and/or more Swiss labour in their production. No matter what, Swiss financial interest is protected and rightly so.
Under a larger context, there is no doubt that the “Swiss Made” logo would maintain its prestigious value, as least in near future, because of the large amount of buyers and collectors. Though “Swiss Made” products may charge more, customers are willing to pay for it. Furthermore, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to grow for other new luxury watch producers due to the extremely expensive expenses and extensive efforts.