What Makes Swiss Made Watches So Special?

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swiss made watches

If you’re in the market for a nice watch, chances are you’ve run across a lot of talk about Swiss made watches. You might have even heard about the reputation of Swiss watchmakers before you started looking at watches. After all, we all knew someone who had a Swatch growing up.

But what is it about Swiss-made watches that makes them so special? Why should you spend $800 or more on one of those watches instead of a $10 watch made in China?

Read on to learn about what sets Swiss watches apart and why they’re worth the investment.

What Counts?

As with any quality product (glass from Murano, champagne from France), there are sure to be copycats claiming to sell authentic Swiss watches. As often as not, these companies and vendors may have only the faintest claim to this distinction. So what is it, exactly, that makes a watch Swiss-made?

In the briefest terms, in order for a watch to qualify as Swiss-made, at least 60 percent of its production must happen in Switzerland. This means that 60 percent of its manufacturing costs must be Swiss-based, and 60 percent of the movement must be created in Switzerland.

Not only that, but the technical development of the movement, including for smartwatches, had to have happened in Switzerland.

Higher-Quality Metal:

The first factor that sets apart Swiss-made watches from any watch you could pull off the shelf at Walmart is the quality of the metal. In general, Swiss watches are made of 316L surgical steel, one of the highest quality metals on the market. The use of this particular alloy gives Swiss-made watches a few unique characteristics.

For one thing, surgical steel is among the hardest metals in the watch-making industry. This means your watch will take and maintain a polish better than any other material, and if it does get scratched, it can be re-polished. But it also will not rust, since this particular alloy is the most corrosion-resistant of any steel alloy (thus why it’s used in surgery).

Stronger Links and Case:

You may have noticed that lesser-quality watches tend to be lighter than Swiss-made watches do. This is partly because many of these watches use hollow cases and bands to save money on metal. In some cases, companies will use rolled steel or a different base metal that will rust and warp with use.

The reason for having solid links and case, as Swiss watches do, is that they are much more durable. Hollow watches warp after very little use, which can create spots that rub on your wrist. With a Swiss watch, you can be confident that your watch will stand up to quite a beating without suffering any significant damage.

Better Movement:

The movement is the heart of the watch, the mechanism that makes it “go,” as it were.

This is the most expensive part of the watch, with the price of the movement often making up as much as half of the total price of the watch. This piece is so expensive because it is a delicate and finicky part of the watch to get right, and if it’s wrong, your watch won’t work properly.

Swiss watches use metal gears in their movements, which are much more durable than the plastic ones produced elsewhere. Each watch gets meticulously checked to make sure all the components fit together the way they’re supposed to.

Having a Swiss-made watch means you can be confident that your watch will always keep perfect time.

Crystal Clarity:

The face of the watch is another area that gets scratched and damaged most often and so should be of the highest quality.

You may have noticed with other watches you’ve owned that after a while, the face of the watch becomes too cloudy or scratched to be able to easily read your watch. This is because non-Swiss companies use lower quality materials that wear down over time.

Swiss-made watches use a synthetic sapphire crystal as the face cover material. This material rates at a nine on the Mohs hardness scale; for context, diamonds come in at a ten. This means you could take a set of keys to the face of your Swiss watch if you had a mind to, and it wouldn’t look any the worse for the wear.

More Reliable Joiners:

We’ve all dealt with the frustration of having a watch band break or losing a link pin in the middle of the day. Once the band is broken, it’s hard to repair again, and you shouldn’t have to walk around with the fear that your watch might go flying off your wrist.

That isn’t something you ever have to worry about with Swiss watch brands.

Swiss-made watches use link pins and sleeves, as opposed to other watchmakers who just use link pins. The addition of the sleeves protects the pins from wear and makes sure they stay in place. Swiss watches also use solid band caps, which help prevent the links from breaking under duress.

The Quality of a Legacy:

When it comes down to it, though, a big part of what you’re paying for when you buy a Swiss watch is the quality of the legacy. Yes, all of the factors that we just talked about contributing to making Swiss-made watches the finest on Earth. And there are more factors we haven’t covered here that go into crafting these superb timepieces.

But while you can spend days reading about movement types and case materials, that won’t cover the quality of the reputation that you’re buying.

In having a Swiss-made watch, you can take pride in your ownership of a fine piece of artistry. Only in Switzerland are the finest details of the art of watchmaking preserved, and that is what you’re paying for when you buy a Swiss watch.

Learn More About Swiss Made Watches:

Swiss made watches are the finest on Earth — there’s no doubt about it. Every detail from the quality of the materials to the care of the assembly is given the utmost attention. You can be proud of owning such a stupendous timepiece every time you look down at your wrist.

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