What Makes A Swiss Watch Tick?
May 23, 2007 by Michael Redbourn
The words "Swiss made" embody a concept of quality that has been forged over the years. They signify high technical quality and imply, accuracy, reliability, water-resistance and shock-resistance as well as suggesting elegance and the originality of their design. They also relate to both the traditional manufacturing methods and to the new technologies such as micro-electronics.
In order for a watch to be considered “Swiss made” its movement must be Swiss, the movement must be cased up in Switzerland and the manufacturer must carry out its final inspection in Switzerland.
The Swiss are no longer the only watchmakers to manufacture high quality timepieces and they are now faced with strong competition but thanks to their unique infrastructure and to their know-how and spirit of innovation they have succeeded in maintaining their leading position.
The inherent value of the "Swiss made" label is the result of considerable efforts on the part of watch making companies who are ultimately responsible for maintaining its reputation and whilst many other prestigious brand names have proliferated, they have never relegated the "Swiss made" label to a secondary place.
It is hardly surprising therefore that this asset attracts counterfeiters and that the "Swiss made" label has to be constantly protected on every market. The task of providing this protection is one of the principal responsibilities of the FH (Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry) which carries out an on-going battle through both the legal and administrative channels in order to frustrate anyone attempting to exploit the "Swiss" name.
The weapons used in this battle are the various laws of each of the countries concerned plus the backing of international agreements such as bi-lateral treaties that were signed by Switzerland and several European countries. The industry is also aided by multi-lateral conventions drawn up by the World Intellectual Property Organization and by the World Trade Organization - the TRIPS agreement.
Certain regions in Switzerland also have their own "place of origin" labels and one of the most famous is "Genève" which signifies high quality timepieces made in the city and canton of Geneva.
Similar to "Swiss made", this label is also very popular with counterfeiters and therefore receives constant protection within the framework of the FH's anti-counterfeiting program.
The consumer can also help
The watchful consumer can also play an effective supporting role by always buying from reputable sales points and by not being tempted by deals that are as suspicious as they are ‘fantastic’ he or she will help to prevent counterfeiters and at the same time protect his or her own interests and also contribute to the defense of fair trading.