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Swiss Made

"Swiss Made" - The Little White Lie of the Watch Industry
The phrase "Swiss Made" on the dial of a watch seems so simple - the watch was made in
Switzerland. But what exactly does "made" mean? It's not as easy to pin down as you might
think. Certainly the raw materials were mined elsewhere... what other components of the
watchmaking process can be outsourced before a watch can no longer be considered "Swiss"?
As outsourcing to component suppliers becomes ever more common, the legal definition of
"Swiss Made" has become the fuel for continual debate.
Legal definition
According to Fédération de l'industrie Horlogère Suisse (FHS), of which all Swiss watch
manufacturers are members, a movement is considered to be "Swiss" if:
1. it has been assembled in Switzerland;
2. it 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 account the cost of assembly.
A watch can legally be labeled "Swiss" or "Swiss Made" if:
1. its movement is Swiss;
2. its movement is cased up in Switzerland; and
3. the manufacturer carries out the final inspection in Switzerland.
Watches assembled outside of Switzerland but containing "Swiss" movements may use the
label "Swiss Movement".
These definitions are accepted by consumer protection agencies in some, but not all, other
It is important to note that the above requirement specifies that least 50% of total value, not
quantity, of movement components must be of Swiss manufacture. Given the low cost of
Chinese labor, as compared to Swiss labor, a fair amount of Asian components are turning up
in "Swiss" movements these days.
An interesting example of a "Swiss" movement with a substantial non-Swiss content is the
Claro-Semag calibre CL 888. This movement is in fact the Chinese Sea-Gull calibre ST16,
refinished by Claro-Semag of Switzerland with sufficient Swiss content (by value) that it may
be legally installed in watches signed "Swiss Movement".

Edouard Lauzieres watches fitted with the CL 888 are marked "Swiss Made" in accordance with Swiss law. History In a recent GQ Magazine article entitled "How to Buy a Watch" the author says that buying "Swiss Made" matters because.the entire watch was assembled in Switzerland such that at least 50% of the total component value is Swiss. claiming (legally) their in-house calibre uses a genuine Swiss movement blank. or Japan and it’ll probably serve you just as well. not necessarily the movement. Swiss Components) .it might be either a Swiss Movement. i. particularly with reference to the word 'Swiss'. France. finished in Switzerland.some Swiss parts were used in a Chinese assembled movement. that’s what it’s all about. And in watchmaking. despite the Chinese origins of their movements. "These days you can buy a watch from Germany. For the US market the movement itself may be labeled 'China'. The owners of the Invicta brand have recently admitted that their own use of 'Swiss' is not equivalent to 'Swiss Made' (see link below) as they are not a member of the FHS. hand-assembled by artisans whose grandfathers taught them and whose ancestors crafted timepieces for Napoleon and his ilk. Montres Edouard Lauzieres of Switzerland re-refinish the SEMAG CL 888 and redesignate it as calibre least 50% of the component value of the movement is Swiss and the movement was assembled and inspected in Switzerland. The movement will almost certainly be labeled 'China'.e. and the movement is a certified Swiss Movement. It has not been used by other brands) Any other usage of the word 'Swiss' has no particular meaning with regards country of origin e. Below is a rough guide to some of the terms used: Swiss Made . Russia. however the rest of the watch and final assembly are not Swiss. (Swiss Comp is a new designation invented by Invicta. And tradition. Swiss . Assume final assembly in China. brand or company names like Technica Swiss Ebauches or Swissebauches Ltd. finished and assembled outside of Switzerland but using Swiss parts. Swiss Comp (i. (Swiss Movt was a common discription used in Hong Kong watches in years past) Swiss Parts Movement .when positioned below 6 o'clock on the dial.e.g. Swiss Movement .some Swiss components have been included in some part of the watch. Swiss Movt .e." .Going one step farther. But when you invest in a watch that’s been made in Geneva. i. what you’re buying into is history. Related Definitions Fans of US focussed international watch brands such as Invicta and Stuhrling Original have occsaionally expressed confusion over some of the country-of-origin terminology used. or a Swiss Parts Movement (aka Swiss Ebauche Movement). on most markets this is legally equivalent to 'Swiss Made' (see above).

Marques such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin may have these in spades. The industry prospered in the absence of any real competition. the American watch producers brought together the entire production of watches under one roof." Ray MacDonald. prior to the 1970s {and the Quartz watch revolution}. noting: "In 1871 the Swiss were compelled by US law to put "Swiss Made" on their watch movements. Cartier. They thus. 19th century Britain is the best example. the Swiss watch industry had 90% of the world watch market. but the Swiss watch industry is vastly larger than the handful of boutique houses which pose as its vanguard. The Swiss resorted to faking American designs and names to stay alive in the US market.and moved away from cottage industries . According to Wikipedia. elaborates further. Their chronometers were better than best produced during this nadir of Swiss production. could reach a generally higher level of precision. American advances in production and technology posed a real challenge in the marketplace to Swiss timekeepers. That's when "Swiss Made" became something to talk about. "As a result. its horological industry has gone into irreversible decline. "This is because American mass produced watches were kicking some serious Swiss butt in terms of quality and performance. with volume production of pocket watches appearing at the turn of the 19th century. Finally they gave up and for years were a non-factor. When other prominent Swiss brands such as Rolex." . The 19th century Swiss difficulty in competing with the Americans is found in Chapters 1920 of Lande's 'Revolution in Time' (2000). "During World War II. "Whereas Swiss manufacture was stammered by its piecemeal production system. Swiss neutrality permitted the watch industry to continue making consumer time keeping apparatus while the major nations of the world shifted timing apparatus production to timing devices for military ordnance. which was the most widespread form of production. a Moderator on the WatchUSeek Forums. They tried to hide it in a lot of damaskeening or in an obscure spot but it had to be there.History. "It was only after the Swiss adopted and refined US factory methods . Wikipedia states that. "Swiss fakes [of American watches] are covered in detail in Shugart's 'Complete Price Guide to Watches. The decline of British watchmaking is described in Chapter 17 of the same book.' I have the 2003 edition and there it's found on pp 93-94.that they were able to compete effectively. or are they little more than marketing propaganda? The Swiss watch industry began in earnest during the close of the 18th century. The American System. machine-made parts along with improved machines and tools. Thus. Omega and Tag Hauer produce millions of watches a year. as it came to be known." Ray further notes that. "Whenever a country stuck to local artisans making a few non standardized watches. By mid-century however. the Swiss watch Industry enjoyed a well protected monopoly. employed standardized." The Swiss watch industry did not rise to global market dominance until the post-war twentieth century. are their messages of history and tradition worth their weight. tradition.