Bienne, Switzerland (Le Temps, Fre) – Time moved on in the world’s watchmaking capital yesterday when the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry voted overwhelmingly, after 26 years of discussion, to tight the rules for their Swiss-made label. Under the new agreement the group will insist on more of the work and production of a Swiss watch being done in the country. The current requirement for movements to be 50% Swiss made, for example, will rise to 80% for mechanical watches and 60% for electronic and quartz movements.
The greatest impact will be felt with mid-range watches, SFr150-2,000, where prices are likely to start at 250-300, writes Le Temps, if the new agreement goes into effect. Consumers have time to think about buying watches under the new rules: the association must first
convince the federal government to back the change, then the
European Community must be consulted. If the change is approved, the
industry will have five years to adjust to new regulations. With or
without new rules, watchmakers have told the Swiss newspaper, the
problem of counterfeit labels remains.
The industry exports watches worth SFr1.26 million a month. It is
the country’s third largest export industry and in 2006 its exports
rose 3.3%, according to the federation.