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At the Origins of... - Swiss-Made Indication on Watches

At the Origins of... Swiss-Made Indication on Watches

While most of us will be familiar with the Swiss-Made mark on certain timepieces (although its exact signification may be more obscure), what do we know of its origins?

Formally introduced at the end of the nineteenth century, the seeds for the Swiss-Made indication on watches were sown much earlier, as protection against spurious claims

The first measure intended to defend the interests and skills of Swiss watchmakers came with the establishment of the Corporation of Watchmakers in Geneva, in 1601. As a growing industry, watchmaking was already attracting less skilled professionals. The purpose of the guild was to maintain a high standard of craftsmanship.

As such, the Corporation set out the rules and regulations by which a watchmaker could acquire the title of Master in Geneva; a city that would rapidly become synonymous with excellence in the manufacturing of timepieces.

In 1876 Jacques David (of Longines) travelled to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where American watch companies demonstrated the advances they had made in mechanised production. David’s report, which described the superiority of American watchmaking technology, came as a shock to Swiss manufacturers who, confronted with the growing number of American watch companies, were spurred into action. The Swiss-Made indication was introduced around the 1880s as a symbol of Swiss manufacturing. The decision to use English was a direct consequence of fierce American competition, with the additional benefit that such a concise term takes up only a small amount of dial space (in the absence of any official indication, where on the dial was entirely up to the dial-maker).

A century later, in 1971, at the request of the Swiss watch industry, the federal government passed a decree which enforced the conditions under which a watch can be labelled as Swiss-Made. This marked the introduction of the Swiss-Made indication under law. This decree has been amended several times since then, most recently in 2017. But that’s another story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Based in St. Imier since 1832, Longines has a long tradition in watchmaking, characterised by the elegance of its watches. Using expertise gained as the company has evolved, Longines has gradually forged ties with the world of sport, where it demonstrates its excellence in precision timekeeping. Today, Longines is the oldest brand still in business, unchanged, in the international registers held by the World Intellectual Property Organization...

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