Swiss Watch Federation Wants Tougher Criteria for ‘Swiss Made’

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH wants to strengthen the criteria that govern use of the claim “Swiss made” on watches. It will offer a proposal for its members’ vote at its general meeting June 28 in Biel, says a March announcement. If approved, it will be sent to Switzerland’s Federal Council.

How and when the “Swiss made” label may be used for watches is covered by an ordinance of the Federal Council dated Dec. 29, 1971. The so-called Swiss Made Ordinance has long been criticized in the industry for allegedly being too lax. In addition, says FH, many in Swiss legal circles believe it “no longer fully meets the legal mandate specified in the law on trademarks.”

“The FH is convinced that this label is of tremendous benefit to the Swiss watch industry, and a vehicle for consumer expectations across the globe,” says the Federation. So, to protect the value of the label on world markets and safeguard public confidence in it, FH and its board, after review, concluded “stricter criteria of origin” are needed to qualify as Swiss made.

The main provisions of its proposal to tighten the Swiss Made Ordinance concern the definitions of Swiss watch and Swiss watch movement. The proposal says a mechanical watch in which “at least 80 percent of the production cost is attributable to operations carried out in Switzerland” would be considered Swiss. For other watches, particularly electronic watches, the rate would be 60 percent. Technical construction and prototype development would have to be done in Switzerland. Raw materials, precious stones, and the battery would be excluded from the production cost.

For watch movements, at least 80 percent of the value of constituent parts of a mechanical movement and 60 percent of electronic ones would have to be Swiss. Technical construction and prototype development in Switzerland would also be a requirement.

The proposal includes provisions on the definition of Swiss constituent parts and assembly in Switzerland and also takes into account the place of manufacture and the origin of components.