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  • Writer's picturePhilip Dashiell

does swiss made guarantee higher quality?

Mathey - Tissot Swiss Made Timepiece
Swiss Made designation on the Mathey - Tissot, City, timepiece.

For the better part of the last century, the term "Swiss Made" has been synonymous with higher quality timepieces. Many Swiss luxury brands have built their reputations, and ad campaigns, on the craftsmanship of their timepieces, with Swiss brands touting to be able to trace their Swiss lineage through the centuries since the 1600's, 1700's and 1800's.

To the uninitiated, the term Swiss Made infers that the entirety of the timepiece was built in Switzerland, with 100% Swiss components. After all, Switzerland is the Mecca of watch making, so if a timepiece carries the Swiss Made designation, it has to be of the highest quality possible, right?

Not necessarily. To achieve the "Swiss Made" designation, all a company has to do is have a certain percentage of the watches components be of Swiss origin, and a percentage of the final assembly be done in Switzerland, and many brands take advantage of this rule (or if you prefer the term loophole). The lofty vision of a small handful of Swiss watchmakers building timepieces and giving their final inspections and quality assurance checks, is reserved for the most exclusive, hand-built timepieces, and for that you will pay an extra premium for.

Technology in modern times has definitely made the watchmaking playing field more even, as more companies around the world have access to the same metals, alloys, resins, and strap hides as their luxury Swiss watch bretheren, regarding watch conceptualization, design and manufacturing. And collectors know that quality manufactured timepieces can be found in any corner of the world, whether it is the United States, Canada, Europe, or Asia.

So don't be lulled into a false sense of superiority with the "Swiss Made" branding. Live a little and expand your horizons. Your watch collection will be better off for it.

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