It’s Swiss Made

If you look close, the small statement “Swiss” or “Swiss Made” is often printed on the dial of a watch produced in Switzerland. The Swiss are rightfully proud of not only their watchmaking past but also their future. To that end, the Swiss have designed stringent rules regarding the use of the terms Swiss and Swiss Made as it relates to watches. The Swiss want to ensure that consumers know that purchasing a Swiss watch means they are getting a quality product from the timekeeping masters.

What does it mean when you see the Swiss or Swiss Made stamp on the dial?

The original Swiss Federal Council ordinance regarding the use of the terms for watches was conceived of on 12/23/1971.  Since then, the ordinance has been amended but, most recently the ordinance was amended on 1/1/2017. Let’s get into the nuts and bolts of Swiss Made.

First, the Swiss Federal Council defines the term watch as a time measuring device destined to be worn on the wrist whose main function is to measure time.  As a side note, this part of the definition puts the Apple watch in question as to whether it is a watch by the Swiss Council’s definition. The Council goes on to describe a watch physically as not having a movement with a length, width or diameter more than 60mm or whose thickness does not exceed 14mm.

Now, we can get to the nitty-gritty of this post.

A watch is regarded to be Swiss if:

  1. its technical development has taken place in Switzerland:
    • In the case of mechanical watches, at least the mechanical construction and prototyping of the watch as a whole,
    • In the case of watches not exclusively mechanical, at least the mechanical construction and prototyping of the watch as a whole, together with the conception of the printed circuits, the display and the software;
  2. its movement is Swiss;
  3. its movement has been cased up in Switzerland;
  4. final inspection by the manufacturer took place in Switzerland ;
  5. at least 60% of the manufacturing costs are generated in Switzerland.

For some of you, the above outline may be enough. But, there may be a few of you watch aficionados asking what makes a movement Swiss (point 2 above). The answer looks a lot like the above list with some finer details.

A Swiss movement has:

  1. undergone technical development in Switzerland:
    • In the case of mechanical watches, at least the mechanical construction and prototyping of the watch as a whole,
    • In the case of watches not exclusively mechanical, at least the mechanical construction and prototyping of the watch as a whole, together with the conception of the printed circuits, the display and the software;
  2. been assembled in Switzerland;
  3. been inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland;
  4. at least 60% of the manufacturing costs are generated in Switzerland and,
  5. at least 50% of the value of all constituent parts but excluding the cost of assembly, must be of Swiss manufacture.

Continuing to drill down further, the calculation of the value of constituent parts applies to:

  1. the cost of the dial is included:
    • if it performs an electronic function for the watch and
    • if it is intended for fitting to watches with an electro-optical display or with a solar module;
  2. cost of the assembly may be included when a certification procedure stipulated by an international treaty guarantees that, by reason of close industrial cooperation, quality evidence equivalence exists between the foreign parts and the Swiss parts;
  3. the cost of assembly, where this is appropriate, cannot exceed the total value of foreign constituent parts acknowledged being equivalent.

I will wrap the post with a few definitions that were sprinkled around the post and germane to the topic at hand.

Swiss constituent part – is a part inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland and of which 60% of the manufacturing cost has been generated in Switzerland.

Assembly in Switzerland  – a movement is deemed to have been assembled in Switzerland when all constituent parts are assembled in Switzerland.  Only the subassembling of the following constituent parts may be effected abroad:

  • in the case of mechanical watches: the gear trains
  • in the case of non-exclusively mechanical movements
    • electronic modules
    • electro-optical display module
    • energy collecting module
    • regulating organ
    • gear trains
    • motor or motors, including the rotors or coils

Determining manufacturing coststhe following are not considered for calculating manufacturing costs:

  • the cost of natural products that cannot be produced in Switzerland because of nature;
  • cost of materials that are not available in sufficient quantity in Switzerland;
  • packaging costs;
  • transportation costs;
  • commercialization and promotional costs;
  • battery cost.

The bottom line is that if your watch says Swiss or Swiss Made much of the work and component parts come from the country that is known to be masters of time measurement.

If you really want more information on the topic head over to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry website and enjoy.