COSC Sets Record for Chronometers

The Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres, or COSC) certified 1,255,515 mechanical and quartz chronometers in 2001—a 23.3% increase over the previous year’s figure and a new record. The total number of watches registered for testing rose to 1,315,752.

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 receiving COSC certification in 2001, 1,198,073 were mechanical chronometers. That’s 25.9% more than in 2000 (when the COSC topped 1 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.

Certifications of quartz chronometers were down 13% in 2001, to 57,442 certificates. According to the Federation’s report, the drop is “the consequence [of] new test regulations” for quartz chronometers.

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), and 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.