Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Okay, I want to start out by saying that I appreciate that it is a global economy.  Things have changed.

We want watches, we want new watches, and we want them to be priced at a point that we can live with.  Oh, and by the way, they must be SWISS made, because apparently everything else is junk.

Now let's talk about SWISS made and what that really means - 60%???

60% of the value must be Swiss - 60%?   That is a little bit like saying that 60% of milk must come from a cow for it to be "milk".  It is splitting hairs on a a profoundly goofy level.  

Do you REALLY think that you could buy a 100% "down-home" made in Switzerland watch for $700 US?  In a country with a very high standard of living, where a "reasonable" lunch is going to cost you 15 - 25 francs, do you REALLY think that a Swiss company can afford to make and sell that watch for $175 completely within the borders of Switzerland?   

"Wait a minute" you say, "you said $700, didn't you?"  Well yes I did, but that is the suggested retail price. Consider that a retail store sells the watch for $700 (hopefully).  The retail store bought the watch for $350 - i.e. their margin is 50% of the total value.
And then reduce that number again - because don't forget the distributor, or in some instances the brand's regional manager, the marketing costs, service, etc. - $175 is a safe number.  

Now this is not exactly "ground-breaking" information.  Most people can figure out these figures.  Moreover, this is not unique to the watch industry.  But back to "provenance" - consider the car industry, most particularly consider the HIGH end auto sector.  Think your BMW was made in Bavaria?  In terms of design, vision (and maybe even performance) sure.  In terms of where the components were made, and where said components were assembled - it's no more Bavarian that I am.  And for the record, I am NOT Bavarian, or even German ; )  And yet, we don't tend to question the quality and VALUE of a BMW or Porsche.  Why should the watch industry be different?

Back in the mid to late 90s, a certain German auto company assembled a portion of their sports car in a factory in western Finland.  And it's worth mentioning that the SAME factory assembled Ladas ; )

In fairness, I've worked in the industry.  I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly.  If you want  a 100% made in Switzerland watch, you don't necessarily have to consider a second mortgage, but you will not be able to buy one or more watches a year like you maybe do now.

So for me, the 60% is truly neither here nor there.  Quality is quality.  But as always, I encourage you to draw what conclusions you will.


  1. James...I agree, think your Detroit built car is made in the USA? or your Apple product comes from CA? I think the main point should be designed and engineered, weather the company makes the components or not, having them made to their specs,in the best quality is usually good enough for me, I would also like to think that the company/brand is the one putting the product together in the country of origin. Just my 1 and 1/2 cents...

    1. Actually "Anonymous" - this is in fact my point ; )

      Because calling something 60% to be SWISS MADE is really sort of silly. 60% is a failing grade in school, it's just over 50%. I agree - we are after quality and performance, not necessarily "image".