The Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres, or COSC) certified 1,255,515 mechanical and quartz chronometers in 2001. That is a 23.3% increase over the previous year and a new record. The total number of watches registered for testing rose to 1,315,752 pieces.
The COSC, headquartered in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, is the official independent bureau testing the accuracy of Swiss-made watches submitted for eligibility as chronometers. If a watch’s movement passes stringent tests lasting 15 consecutive days, it is certified as a chronometer.
Of those in 2001 receiving COSC certification, 1,198,073 were mechanical chronometers. That is 25.9 % more than in 2000 (when the COSC topped a million mechanicals for the first time) and “is proof of the growing interest among the public for these top-of-the-range products,” says the Swiss Federation of Watchmakers in making the report Aug. 29.
However, there were fewer certifications of quartz chronometers. These were down 13% in 2001, to 57,442 certificates. According to the Federation’s report, though, the drop doesn’t indicate a market trend. Instead, “it is the consequence [of] new test regulations” for quartz chronometers.
“[Movement] calibres meeting certification criteria have become increasingly complicated, more rare and more costly. Many firms have stopped producing them,” it says. However, it notes, “the quartz chronometer has become an exceptional product with an appeal that is set to last.”
In terms of brands that received COSC certificates in 2001, Rolex maintained its lead, with 762,175. Others in the top 10 were Omega (207,879), Breitling (142,825), Bulgari (36,380), Panerai (27,275), TAG Heuer (20,650), Baume & Mercier (10,416), Chopard (7,273), Zenith (5,664), Vacheron Constantin (3,038).
They were followed by Ebel (2,837), Ikepod (2,687), Tissot (2,600), Krieger (2,267), Ulysse Nardin (2,253), Eterna (2,119), Ventura Design on Time (1,741), Mühle-Glashütte (1,290), Patek Philippe (1,286), Hermès (1,115) and Paul Picot (1,085). All other applicants had fewer than 1,000 certificates.