If so then why Hand Made on the dial?
Todays post was sparked by the ever returning question that newcomers have to HORAGE on just "how Swiss” our products are or if we are a Swiss brand at all. Any newcomers quickly assume that based on our value offer and “Hand Made” as the marker on our dial that we may not be “ Swiss Made”.
To bare the mark "Swiss Made" a watch must meet the requirements set by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. These requirements state that 60% is the minimum Swiss value for it to be Swiss Made. Additional requirements are the use of a Swiss movement as well as casing-up and final inspection taking place in Switzerland.
So, what do you think?
Is HORAGE sidestepping its way to Swissness behind the veil of questionable “Swiss Value” as laid forth by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry? Or is HORAGE so Swiss that marketing “Swiss Made” on the dial is a laughable joke?
We get it… It would be much easier to just write "Swiss Made" on the dial and be over it due to “Swiss Made" as an instant validation to a watches guarantee of quality, but HORAGE never gives into easy and seeks to wake those that have been asleep under the “Swiss Made” marketing propaganda.
To meet the "Swiss Made" designation from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry a watch must meet or exceed 60% of Swiss Value. At HORAGE our focus is first on recognition of the many hands that help bring our mechanical wonders to life and how Swiss we are is really not needed as we clearly exceed the governments designation for Swiss Made.
Hands hard at work making Swiss Made straps.
Assembly of the tourbillon, here Lenny is placing hands on the movement.
Hands are needed even when machines are in use.
What is "Swiss Value"?
Swiss value is determined by the Swiss based contribution to the watches production value. This means looking in detail at not the volume of the part, but the value of the part to the overall watch construction. Another consideration aside from physical parts such as movement, case and hands is the assembly, testing, regulation and engineering of the watch.
Let's use our tourbillon as a gauge to just how Swiss HORAGE really is.
97.1% is our tourbillons Swiss Value with only 2.9% of the value coming from outside Swiss borders.
The case is a mix of Swiss & China value and contributes 2% to the entire watch production value and the remaining 0.9% comes from the dial ring (Swiss & Thailand) and hands (S.Korea). We are based in Biel, Switzerland, therefore all our assembly, testing, regulation and engineering happens in Switzerland at our HQ, but only contributes 1.5% to the Swissness of the tourbillon, therefore the movement makes up the remainder of the watches value of 95.6%. The movement is made in Switzerland at La Joux Perret just up the road from us.
If you look closely at the centre of the movement you will see Swiss Made.
COSC Certification and Swiss Made
As the largest contributor to value the movement plays a pivotal role to achieving a Swiss Made designation. A quick way to see if a movement is truly Swiss Made is to see if it was ever Chronometer Certified by COSC. If it was COSC certified you can be rest assured it is truly Swiss Made. Wikipedia states that only 3% of Swiss watches ever become COSC certified and the movements HORAGE utilizes meet COSC standards.
The Autark 10 Years is COSC Certified.
Are all parts created equal?
Despite what many believe not all movements are created equal inside Switzerland’s borders. The large players in this movement game have manipulated the play book in their favour and have excluded some parts not needing to come from within Switzerland to contribute to a movements value.
Take the gear train for example, the wheels of the gear train are not considered in the calculation of a Swiss Made movement as many of your favourite most reputable brands have these produced in Asia and ship them in for assembly. They would hate for their Swissness to be tarnished so rather than answer questions around part specifics they have removed them from the calculations entirely.
Additionally not all movement makers have the same costs attributed to engineering, assembling and testing so this leaves the door open for many to inflate the value of that work. At HORAGE as mentioned above only 1.5% of the watches value is attributed to engineering, assembly and testing, but we are left to wonder just how much others with massive teams of watchmakers are inflating that value. In case you were wondering the wheels of our gear train are Swiss 😉.
Swiss Made Jonas doing some Swiss Made Engineering.
What about our other products?
As already mentioned the largest value contributor to the watch is the movement and for all our other HORAGE products we have our own in-house Swiss Made movement K1 that is developed at our sister company and HQ, THE+ in Biel Switzerland. The K1 movement has only two parts coming from Germany as they are not available in Switzerland and this makes K1’s total part count 98.26% Swiss.
Swiss Made marking on the K1 Movement
Can you spot the two German Made parts?
In all honesty 60% "Swiss Value" is laughable to many truly Swiss based brands like ours and the reason we would rather have Hand Made on the dial. Other luxury Swiss watch makers would rather not have any markings on the dial, but without question they too greatly exceed what is deemed to be Swiss Made. For the new enthusiast "Swiss Made” is the easiest mark of quality and provides peace of mind. However as one goes further down the “Swiss Made” rabbit hole they will come to realize that for the most part “Swiss Made”is nothing more than marketable smoke and mirrors.
Our hopes are that the standard for Swiss Made is raised to at least 80% and to achieve this we are of the mind that COSC Certification should be mandatory to bare the markings “Swiss Made”.
To read more on Swiss Made please visit https://www.fhs.swiss/eng/strengthening.html
Till next time...