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4 Things to Think About When Buying a Swiss Watch

Switzerland is the home of the largest and most revered watchmaking industry in the world, so much so that a lot of the country’s income comes from watches. Horologists all over the world look toward Swiss made watches as the best of the best. So if you’re a budding connoisseur, it’s no surprise that you’re looking to add a Swiss watch into your collection; it’s just natural that you’re moving in this direction.



“Swiss Made” vs “Swiss movement”

So what does it mean for a watch to bear the “Swiss Made” text on their dials? There are, after all, a lot that goes into making a watch, with it having so many moving parts. But before we get into what “Swiss Made” means, we first have to elaborate on one particular part of watches: their movements.

The criteria for a watch’s movements to be considered Swiss are as follows: at least 60 percent of its components (in value) should have been of Swiss manufacturing, the movement should have been assembled in Switzerland, and the movement should have been inspected in Switzerland.

Watches that qualify for these criteria can already have “Swiss movement” printed on their dials, but they’re not considered as part of the cream of the crop as “Swiss made” watches are. So what goes into watches that are “Swiss made”? It’s not that different from how Swiss movements are determined Swiss; in fact, the movements themselves having to be Swiss is already one of the criteria.  The second is that after the movement’s assembly, it has to be cased in Switzerland. And, of course, it should have a final inspection in Switzerland.

It’s a lot of hoops—though not enough, argue some, but that’s a story for another day—that watches have to go through in order to be deemed Swiss enough, but that’s what gives Swiss made watches their value and what makes the label “Swiss made” so special.


In-house versus Outsourced Movements

The making of movements is so elaborate and expensive that it demanded to be separate from the watch as a whole in the making of the 60 percent rule. Making a movement requires a watch house to have bigger factories and more artisans. Many watch brands choose to leave their movements to other manufacturers, the most prominent one being ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse (more commonly referred to as ETA). There are also other manufacturers such as Sellita and Soprod who are steadily gaining their share in the movement market.

There are, however, luxury watch houses dedicated to making in-house movements, which make them all the more desirable to Swiss watch enthusiasts. So if you’re the kind of person who likes a brand that’s committed to making every single component in their watch, this is something you should take into account when looking at Swiss watches.



Testing, 1, 2, 3
If you’re a stickler for precision and accuracy when it comes to telling the time, but at the same time still looking to stay away from digital watches, determining whether a watch is COSC—short for Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the institution that certifies a watch’s accuracy and precision—certified or not will be important to you. Even those that aren’t time-conscious, but rather, are just collectors, prefer COSC-certified watches, given that only 3 percent of the entirety of Swiss watches pass their tests.



The Price: Is it right?

At the end of the day, the price is still a determining factor. It’s important to look around carefully and rigorously and see what you’re willing to spend money on. More than likely, brands that tick everything aforementioned are priced higher than most.

So, in determining what you’re willing to spend on, it’s important to see what would suit your lifestyle the most, along with what would look and feel best on your wrist. After all, in our day and age, a watch is not just for telling the time; it can tell others what you value and who you are. And this doesn’t always mean that you need to buy the most expensive and sought after watch. (But sometimes, it definitely could. For those times when you just need to flex on potential clients or business partners.)

If you’re still undecided, don’t panic. It’s completely fine to delay your decision; no one’s judging you. After all, it is your decision. Just keep in mind that what could cost you thousands (or hundreds of thousands… or more) should not be something that you’ll regret, but rather, something that you can cherish for a lifetime.


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