‘Swiss Made’ Watches and Their History: What Is the Real Story?
01 May 2019
Switzerland has a long and illustrious history with watchmaking. In fact, for many years the ‘Swiss Made’ watches from this country have been revered as the best in the world for their workmanship, styling and accuracy.
Definition of ‘Swiss Made’ Watches
Only certain watches are permitted to carry the ‘Swiss Made’ mark on them. All of them must adhere to the following rules to do so:
• A minimum of 60 percent of the total production costs for the watch must be from Swiss sources.
• Half of the value of the components in the movement of a ‘Swiss Made’ watch must be made in Switzerland and 60 percent of the production of the movement must be performed in Switzerland.
• All of the technical research and development for a ‘Swiss Made’ watch and its movement must be performed within the borders of Switzerland, including smart watches.
A Brief History of ‘Swiss Made’ Watches
The origins of these watches go back to the 16th century. During this time, the well-known religious reformer, John Calvin, was changing the way people lived their lives through preaching his controversial views. He even decided that Swiss citizens should not be permitted to wear decorative jewellery, but just watches. Jewellery makers in the country were facing financial ruin due to this fact. Instead of being defeated, though, they turned their attentions to making watches that continued to be in demand for years to come. As a result, Geneva watchmakers had established their reputation of creating high-quality, desirable watches by the end of this century. Even the first watchmaking guild in the world originated with the Swiss at this time.
During these early years, the ‘Swiss Made’ watches were more aesthetically pleasing than they were accurate time keepers. It was not until after 1850 that accuracy came into play with the popularity of these watches. Geneva became such a hub for watchmaking that it was soon overrun by watchmakers. Since there was not standardization, as of yet, each watchmaker made their own unique versions. Soon, many watchmakers decided to relocate to the Jura Mountains. One such person was Daniel Jean Richard, who wound up making a significant contribution to the history of the Swiss watch industry. He introduced the concept of ‘division of labour’ in which the tasks were broken up into categories, and each one was performed by a person who was trained specifically for his task. Also, he standardised the use of machinery and tools along with the apprenticeships of generations to come. This was the birth of the ‘Swiss Made’ watches as we know them today.
For further interesting facts about ‘Swiss Made’ watches, rely on Ken Ross Jewellers. One of our many jewellery specialties is selling quality watches that carry this historic mark.