From all of us here at Watchallure, Happy New Year! In our first article in 2017 we bring you one of the biggest news regarding the watchmaking industry – the changes concerning the “Swiss made” label. As of the 1st January 2017, a new regulation has come into effect requiring at least 60% of the value of a watch to be made in Switzerland in order to be considered eligible for the “Swiss made” label. This represents an increase over the previous regulation which required no less than 50% of a watch’s value to be generated in Switzerland. The new, more strict legislation will further establish the legendary label and conclusively provide the customers with a more genuine “Swiss” product.
One of the world’s most iconic labels, the “Swiss made” points out that a certain product was made in Switzerland. Established in the late 19th century, it is unique because almost every other country uses the phrase “Made in (country name)”. Used to describe some of the world’s best products, it is usually found on Swiss timepieces. The watches bearing the “Swiss made” label are known throughout the world for their remarkable quality, aesthetic excellence and technical innovation.
However, the previous regulations were often abused as certain companies found ways to “trick” the system. These companies usually bought movement kits and key components from lower quality Asian manufacturers and then purchased higher priced parts such as balance wheels, jewels, springs and mainsprings in Switzerland. Watches produced by this way are technically “Swiss made” but without the quality expected to go with it. Needless to say that this practice hurts the Swiss economy and deteriorates the value of the “Swiss made” brand.
Adopted by the Swiss parliament on June 21, 2013, the new “Swiss made” or “Swissness” legislation has the objective to secure the long-term value and trustworthiness of the geographical indication, guarantee the customers’ satisfaction and prevent any further abuses of the law. The new regulations specify that at least 60% of the production costs of a watch must be Swiss-based. The movement still requires 50% of Swiss-made components (in value), but now at least 60% of its manufacture needs to be realized in Switzerland. Finally, the new legislation states that the technical development of a “Swiss Made” watch and movement must be carried out in Switzerland. All of this also applies to smart watches. After all, it is 2017 and smart watches are a thing .
So what does “Swiss made” means now in 2017? Will it significantly change the watchmaking industry? Well, the overall impact the new “Swissness” legislation will have is, for now, somewhat unclear. Sure, there will be increases in prices, but according to several surveys, most people are actually fine with it. People are, in general, willing to pay more, if that will guarantee them a premium Swiss made watch. And while the change will certainly be welcomed by big watchmaking companies, it is uncertain what effect it will have on smaller brands, as they have so far heavily relied on foreign imported components. Also, this may discourage people from starting watch companies in Switzerland as they will encounter a higher barrier to entry to the market.