An Interesting change in requirements for "Swiss Made" certification

  1. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Dec 27, 2014

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    For some time there has been pressure, mainly from Swatch Group, to make it harder to achieve the "Swiss Made" label. The reason is simple- Swatch group control most of the major suppliers to the industry (Singer dials, Nivarox hairsprings, etc) and so can therefore have some control over who gets the Swiss made label and who doesn't.

    Swatch group's first move when it was allowed to restrict the supply of parts by the Swiss regulators? Cut supply of Hairsprings to TAG Heuer for the 1887, forcing TAG Heuer to source from Seiko/ Atokalpa (Swiss).

    So the new changes are very interesting: http://www.timeandwatches.com/2014/12/strengthening-of-swiss-made-label.html

    In essence, the rules will now stipulate:
    • Minimum 60% Swiss value for the movement
    • Assembly and final inspection of the movement carried out in Switzerland
    • Minimum 60% Swiss value for the watch, which must also incorporate a Swiss movement
    • Assembly and final inspection of the watch carried out in Switzerland
    • Technical development of the movement and watch carried out in Switzerland

    That last one is potentially very interesting for TAG Heuer's Calibre 1887, which is based on the Seiko TC78 design. TAG Heuer bought the rights and have significantly modified the movement (e.g. making it larger) as well as making almost all parts themselves in Switzerland. But is that enough to pass the hurdle that "technical development" has been done in Switzerland?

    The article states:

    "The stipulation that technical development must be carried out in Switzerland, in particular design work and prototyping, has been introduced to comply with the new requirement of the law on trademarks, whereby "Swiss made" must correspond to the place where the activity which gave the product its characteristics was carried out. Since watches are a blend of the technical and aesthetic, it follows that design work and prototyping do indeed confer the characteristics of the Swiss product." (my emphasis)

    Watch this develop over the next few months- either way, the new rules don't come into force until 2017...and if there were any problems, I know where TAG Heuer could find another chronograph movement if needed!
     
  2. Hubert

    Hubert Dec 28, 2014

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    Very interesting; the plot thickens!
     
  3. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Jan 1, 2015

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    I remember reading a while back that for some American watch companies that use Swiss / ETA movements it was actually easier to have Swiss Made on their watches than it was to meet the criteria for having Made In USA on it, think Kobold in particular had that issue
     
  4. drunken monkey

    drunken monkey Jan 1, 2015

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    I don't think the 1887 has much to worry about with regards to this considering the prototyping for the movement and indeed the equipment for its manufacture were both done in Switzerland.

    The interesting thing to me is does this now mean the Japanese companies that have recently bought into Swiss companies will now (have to) establish an actual Swiss (design) presence?
    Maybe I'm thinking about that in the wrong way.
     
  5. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Jan 6, 2015

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    Not sure myself- it all comes down to how you interpret "technical development". To me, "the place where the activity which gave the product its characteristics was carried out" is where the initial movement was designed, which is Japan. TAG Heuer have taken this design and improved it, change the characteristics (e.g. size) and set up local manufacture.

    You can guess who will be arguing for which interpretation!

    dc
     
  6. Bahoomba

    Bahoomba Jan 12, 2015

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    I'm all for these more stringent Swiss rules - if they're enforced. I find it maddening that brands like Tag Heuer strive to bring Swiss quality and workmanship to their products, but lesser brands (I'm thinking "TV watches" here) flaunt "Swiss Made" on their faces while never revealing where or by whom they're actually made. It's such a travesty.
     
  7. Kuby

    Kuby Jan 13, 2015

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    I also collect Christopher Ward and their approach has been to develop an inhouse movement, SH21 (28.800 vph), manufactured solely in Switzerland. The watches are also assembed in Bienne before being shipped to the UK where the watches are sold to over 100 countries worldwide. Small brand but with a big ambition.

    “The launch of our first in-house movement, which is perhaps the most important development for a British watch brand for 50 years, tops out our first ten years perfectly. Having also merged with our long-time supplier, Synergies Horlogères, we now have the perfect platform to make Christopher Ward’s second decade even more innovative and exciting than the first. I can hardly wait!” Chris Ward.

    The movement base is very clever as it can host a number different complications, the first being the 5 day auto chronometer. Described as 'tractor like with all the resilience of a Valjoux 7750, one of the world’s hardiest mechanical movements'. My impression is more like 'refined' especially as the movement is hand finished.

    image.jpg image.jpg
     
    Edited Jan 13, 2015
  8. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Jan 13, 2015

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    It's certainly understandable why there has been a behind-the-scenes war going on with regard to "Swiss Made". My take is that Swatch Group's push to choose who they supply to has driven a lot of this, with other brands racing around trying to find smart, economical options that allowed them to continue using "Swiss Made" but without the impossible task of re-creating an entire parts industry.

    It's fair and right that "Swiss Made" means something, even if it will always practically allow some work to be done outside Switzerland. I don't think it's right that commercial games are played to change the definitions to suit only one group, which is a monopoly, or at least one that skirts very close to the definition of a monopoly