It is possible that a watch labelled as ‘Swiss made’ can be made from components almost entirely manufactured in Asia. We have decided to make our watches in a completely transparent manner, and have therefore created the TTO label, standing for Total Transparency on Origin.
‘SWISS MADE’ according to the ‘Law of SWISSNESS’
Under the current Law of Swissness, a watch is considered to be ‘Swiss made’ if:
- It features Swiss movement, meaning:
It was assembled in Switzerland
It was inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland, and
At least 50% of the components (in terms of value) were made in Switzerland, excluding the cost of assembly;
- Its movement was assembled in Switzerland;
- Final inspection of the watch was made by the manufacturer in Switzerland.
It is possible that a watch labelled as ‘Swiss made’ can be made from components almost entirely manufactured in Asia.
What does that mean in plain english?
In principle the ‘Swiss made’ label is a good thing. It aims to protect and promote the Swiss know-how and values seen worldwide as a guarantee of quality. Unfortunately in practice it is a monumental sham which ultimately misleads customers.
Basically, the Law of Swissness means that the majority of entry-level and middle of the range watches which are labelled ‘Swiss made’ in fact have cases, dials, and bracelets which were manufactured in Asia, and a movement made up of components mostly manufactured abroad.
The law stipulates that at least 50% of the components of the movement (in terms of value) must come from Switzerland; however in terms of the actual number of components rather than the value, the proportion is closer to 20%. For mechanical movements this usually means balance wheels and springs, as well as mainsprings and jewels. The cost of these ‘Swiss made’ components easily exceeds the legal threshold of 50%.
Yes, but there is a new law coming in 2017!
On January 1st 2017, the new Law of Swissness will make the criteria for being ‘Swiss made’ stricter. It will stipulate that at least 60% of the production of a watch (in terms of cost, and not just for the movement) must be carried out in Switzerland. It will also require that all engineering and prototyping is carried out in Switzerland.
As far as mechanical watches are concerned this new law will not change much, because the price of a ‘Swiss’ movement and labor costs alone will total the required 60%. In contrast, it will become more complicated for quartz watches. Some of the external components (case, dials, and bracelets) will have to be made in Switzerland in order to meet the requirements of the new law. The irony of it all is that a Swiss made quartz watch will be more Swiss than a mechanical watch.
Has anyone thought to tell those who have recently purchased a Swiss watch that as of January 1st 2017, it will be a Chinese watch?
We are thinking about doing things a little differently
Swiss made watches are renowned and appreciated around the world for their high quality. As we have seen, it is not Swiss manufacturing that makes these pieces unique, as a significant majority of the components comes from Asia. So then what is it?
Switzerland knows how to coordinate Swiss and foreign talent like no other country. It has high standards in terms of quality and aesthetics, and knows how to create heritage and prestigious brands that the whole world wants to be a part of.
Swiss Watchmaking: High quality, strong design and masterfully coordinated international talent.
TTO Label: Total Transparency on Origin
We will manufacture our watches in a transparent manner. To accomplish this we have created the TTO label: Total Transparency on Origin. A kind of identity card will be attached to each of our watches and made available online. It will feature a very precise indication of each element and operation of the manufacturing process.
A platform has been created to enable anyone to consult the identity card of each model. In actual fact this platform is open to all brands; Swiss, Chinese, or Martian. The only rule is transparency. To be completely honest we do not anticipate a great deal of demand; transparency is not – how can we put it? – very trendy.
All of this is not to say that Swiss made should be abandoned as a label, rather that it should be explained more clearly. A watch can be labelled TTO and still meet the Swiss made criteria. We believe that this transparency will strengthen the link between the consumer, who already knows the quality of ‘Swiss’ watches, and Swiss brands.