Swiss-made watches are among the best in the world. Interestingly, a new federal law introduced in Switzerland on 21st June 2013 enshrines the concept of ‘Swissness’, that a watch which uses the Swiss-made label, at least 60% of the value must originate in Switzerland. Hence, there’s a high demand for these luxury timepieces as evidenced by the number of Swiss-made watches exported.
To understand more, let’s dive into the wonderful world of Swiss watches as we guide you through what makes a Swiss-made watch so special and unique in its own right.
A rich history
The Watchmakers Guild of Geneva was formed in 1601, and as the number of watchmakers grew in Geneva, many took their business into the Jura mountains now called Watch Valley. The valley stretches from Geneva to Basel and is still the primary location of the Swiss watchmaking industry. Swiss-made watches are opulent and Switzerland remains the world’s largest exporter of watches, employing around 60,000 people and accounting for 1.5% of the country’s gross domestic product. With such a rich history, it’s no wonder that a Swiss watch holds a respectable place in the watch industry, full of the nation’s culture, innovation and heritage. Wearing this timepiece is aspirational for most people because it means owning a piece of excellent craftsmanship.
What it means to be Swiss-made
Not every brand can use the Swiss-made label as different requirements must be adhered to before you can call a watch ‘Swiss’. The timepieces must adhere to strict rules to sit alongside the world’s best Swiss watch brands. These are called the Swiss-made or Swissness regulations. They prevent manufacturers from using nonSwiss-made parts or manufacturing processes and falsely declaring them Swiss. To be regarded as a Swiss movement, the watch must:
- Have undergone technical development in Switzerland
- Be inspected by a manufacturer in Switzerland
- Have at least 60% of its production costs generated in Switzerland
- Contain at least 50% Swiss-made components in value
- Be cased up in Switzerland
In the event that the movement and mechanics are Swiss, but the manufacturer doesn’t fully assemble the watch in Switzerland, the Swiss-made label can’t be placed on the case or the dial. If you see some watches that say Swiss quartz, it means that while the quartz movement has been made in Switzerland, the watch might not meet the criteria to be a real Swiss watch. The Swiss watch industry implemented these regulations to protect the credibility of the Swiss-made label, ensuring that every customer receives a top quality timepiece.
Swiss-made vs Swiss
Swiss-made and Swiss are two different products. Swiss refers to a watch made in Switzerland. Swiss-made watches are manufactured in the country and meet the specific criteria for quality and production, as explained earlier. Genuine Swiss-made watches will feature the world’s Swiss-made or Swiss Movement on the dial or case back.
Prestige, power, purpose
Swiss watches are luxurious, and they bring a real sense of prestige to the wearer. A lot of this is to do with the rich and longstanding history in watchmaking that epitomises expert workmanship, particularly Rolex. From having the most skilful craftsman and finest materials to its exclusivity for every individual, a Rolex watch on one’s wrist is a benchmark of your reputation and class. It’s not only an investment on an elegant timepiece, but also in yourself. Rolex wears the crown in Swiss watchmaking, specialising in developing precision instruments for the most challenging conditions, specially for diving and motor sports, to its signature models that have become a status symbol. As such, Swiss-made labels remain coveted aspirational objects.
Swiss watch manufacturers are at the forefront of design innovations. There are future-proof materials like silicon, ceramic and carbon spiking; or trendsetting styles such as a square face; vintage inspired designs from the 50s and 60s fashion trends; gender neutral watches that are unisex and provide wearers the freedom of choice, and case size watches that have remained constant throughout generations.There are numerous designs and aesthetics to choose from, and you’ll have no problems finding one that suits your needs and lifestyle.