Monday, October 04, 2010

Swiss Watches: 50 Percent Chinese, 50 Percent Swiss

When can you call a watch a Swiss watch?

- its movement is Swiss, cased up in Switzerland and the manufacturer carries out the final inspection in Switzerland.
- a watch movement is Swiss if the movement has been assemled in Switzerland, the movement has been inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland, the components of Swiss manufacture account for at least 50 percent of the total value, without taking into account the cost of assembly. Read more about the 50 percent rule on the site of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH).

Felix Addor, deputy director general of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property is not happy with the 50 percent rule for "Swiss made". Neil Gough of the South China Morning Post (SCMP) quotes him saying: "This situation could lead to an insidious dilution of the [Swiss-made] designation, which is damaging for the image of Swiss watches because consumers expect more."
The draft legislation that must lift the percentage of Swissness of the watch to 60 to 80 percent already started in 2007 and is finally under review by the legal commission of the Swiss National Council.

Mr Gough of the SCMP wrote that China and Hong Kong are respectively Switzerland's first and fourth most important markets in the world. Switzerland imported 2.05 billion US dollar of watches and related components last year by customs value, according to UN commodity trade data. Mr Gough quotes Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of FH that when it comes to China, protecting both the watch brand and the Swiss national marque are major concerns. FH helped with the seizure of about 600,000 counterfeit watches in China, in 2009, out of a total of one million fake watches, seized globally.

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