Swiss Made: What Are Swiss Made Watches & Why Do They Matter?

Ask a horologist what makes a watch high quality and you may receive a long-winded answer detailing materials, watch movements, and water resistance. However, there is a less obvious answer that has become synonymous with excellence in the watch industry. This being, the ‘Swiss Made’ label.

Whether you are familiar with the prestige of Rolex or the elegance of Uniform Wares. The watch-lovers among you will have noticed the abundance of the phrase ‘Swiss Made’. Which can be found in the specifications of countless high-quality watches. 

So, what does ‘Swiss Made’ actually mean? And how can you use it to your advantage when purchasing a watch?

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

The History of Swiss Made Wrist Watches

swiss made

Nowadays, we certainly associate high-quality watches with Switzerland. However, this isn’t only a modern phenomenon. 

Interestingly, the origins of watchmaking in Switzerland are intertwined with the Protestant Reformation. 

When the French theologian John Calvin arrived in Geneva to help lead the Reformation, his teachings closely followed.

Soon enough, Switzerland was governed by new rules including the prohibition of jewellery in the 1500’s. In order for Genevan jewellers to continue to make a living, they began to produce watches.

Calvin perceived this as more acceptable due to the practicality of watches as contrasted with the cosmetic appeal of jewellery. 

Thus, in 1601, the watchmaking industry was born. It was primarily led by talented protestants who had escaped France. 

As the industry grew, innovation became vital. One important figure who aided this was Daniel Jean Richard.

He introduced the idea of dividing the watchmaking process into smaller tasks. 

That way, each worker was an expert at their particular task. And therefore, watches were made with more accuracy and quality.

Furthermore, Abraham-Louis Perrelet’s 1770 ‘perpetual watch’ also spurred on Swiss innovation. It may have been the inspiration for the modern automatic watch, as the movement was self-winding. 

It is evident that inventions such as this have had a long-lasting impact on the watch industry. Today, we see an abundance of Swiss made automatic watches for men and women.

What Made Switzerland So Successful?

swiss made watch

We now understand that innovation was closely tied to the success of Switzerland. 

However, we also know that other countries were known for their watchmaking competence. So, how did Switzerland outlast their victories?

Another country that was famous for its watches was here in Britain. In the early 19th century, it produced around 50% of the world’s watches.

However, Britain could not keep up with the intense mass production of Switzerland.

The importance of craftsmanship was central to the British watchmaking industry. And it was something they were not willing to compromise. 

As a result, though the watches produced were high-quality, the production wasn’t fruitful enough. 

This stagnation was not unique to Britain. Years later, Swiss watchmakers were threatened by the Quartz Crisis. 

Whilst these battery-powered products were dominating the industry in the 1970s-1980s. Switzerland continued to produce its traditional mechanical watches.

Unfortunately, the great success of quartz watches had a negative impact on the Swiss watchmaking industry. Which refused to conform to the modern ways of watchmaking.

What Makes A Watch Swiss Made?

swiss made watch

Now that we have an idea of why these watches are so prestigious, it begs the question. What are Swiss-made watches?

Brands can use the distinguished ‘Swiss-made’ label for their products if they have been made in Switzerland. Or had particular watch pieces imported there.

Still, the rules behind labelling a watch Swiss made are more complex than implied above. 

According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the following has to be included for a watch to be referred to as Swiss-

  • 60% of manufacturing value
  • 50% of movement costs
  • 60% of movement manufacturing  

As well as this, at least some parts of the watch must have been developed in Switzerland. 

Finally, the final inspections of the design must be carried out in Switzerland.

Why Are Swiss Made Watches Prestigious In 2021?

swiss made watch

With the ease of mass production, it’s no surprise that the Swiss watchmaking industry thrived in its early years.

Nonetheless, times change and mass production is the norm nowadays. 

So, why do Swiss made wrist watches continue to carry such prestige? In other words, what do watches made in Switzerland possess that other watches don’t?

When addressing this question, the rich history of Swiss watchmaking cannot be dismissed. 

Owing to the great success of Switzerland for many years, consumers find these watches more reliable. In fact, they’re willing to pay up to 20% more for watches made in Switzerland.

Swiss watches tend to be made of metal as opposed to plastic. Evidently, this makes for a more durable watch. As well as presenting a more sophisticated aesthetic. 

A prime example of this is the Swiss brand Jaeger-LeCoultre. Which uses sapphire crystal in the manufacturing of its watch faces. 

Finally, here at Uniform Wares, we work with scratch-resistant sapphire to fabricate our elegant products. 

Where Can I Purchase Swiss Made Watches?

uniform wares watch


Rolex is one of the leading trade names in the world of Swiss made watches.

Based in Geneva and credited with producing more than 50% of watches in 2005 (COSC).

Rolex takes mass production to a new level without neglecting craftsmanship. It involves more than 2,000 employees in the manufacture of each watch. 

What’s more, it lives at the heart of innovation. In 1953, Rolex revealed the first watch case that was waterproof to 100m.


Finally, another brand that dominates the business is Cartier. Though this company was founded in Paris in 1847, it is undoubtedly Swiss in its production. 

Coming in just behind Rolex, it has been named the second or third most successful Swiss watch brand. 

True to Swiss luxury, Cartier describes its style as a blend of “boldness, passion and elegance”. 

Uniform Wares

If you want a Swiss-made watch from British watchmakers but don’t have thousands to spend, look no further than here at Uniform Wares

Our London designed, Swiss made watchmaker has an incredible reputation. Especially for its classic elegance, high-quality parts, and finishes. As well as it’s artful application.

Although we’re biased, our stunning collection of swiss made watches are objectively captivating. 

We create watches that embody character and distinction through intelligent design. And believe that we truly cannot be beaten.

Hopefully reading our article on Swiss made watches has offered you a better understanding of what it truly means to be Swiss made.

Though we see this label everywhere, we mustn’t forget the 500 year history that precedes it. 

Ultimately, Swiss made watches are backed by a rich history, intelligent innovation, and the finest of materials. 

If prestige is what you’re seeking in your next watch, you can’t go wrong with a Swiss made design. Especially from us here at Uniform Wares.

Whilst you’re here, why not check out some of our beautiful British swiss made watches and find your perfect match!

1 thought on “Swiss Made: What Are Swiss Made Watches & Why Do They Matter?”

  1. Pingback: Antique Watches Restoration: How To Restore Antique Watches

Comments are closed.

Select your currency