Superior Craftmanship Key To The Biggest Brands In Switzerland
Everyone knows that Swiss watches are expensive, but why exactly are they so sought-after? Learn more about their unrivalled quality.
Whether you’re shopping for chocolates, army knives or cheese, Switzerland has a reputation for manufacturing quality produce and their contribution to watch-making is no exception. Switzerland has been involved in the timekeeping industry since the beginning of watch-making and were renowned for their excellence from as early as the 16th century. Of course, wrist watches weren’t the norm at this time, but the Swiss have played a role in the evolution of watch technology, developing innovations such as the first electronic quartz watches in the 1960s. But what makes Swiss watches still so desirable today?
The Big Names
In terms of brand recognition, it helps that some of the biggest names in the watch industry hail from Switzerland; manufacturers such as Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe watches really put Switzerland on the map. Rolex are instantly recognisable as being a luxury item – everyone knows the importance and exclusivity that such an accessory holds. Those who don’t own a Rolex, would like to! And the high price tag associated with this brand means that consumers expect it to be exceptional.
Omega is certainly not a brand to be overlooked either. The Omega Speedmaster Professional has earned its place in history as it was the only model of watch to survive rigorous testing carried out by NASA and therefore ventured into space on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin in 1969. Omega watches are not just known for their durability but also for their style, with several models featuring in James Bond movies.
Patek Philippe watches are synonymous with high-end craftmanship. It’s thought that less than 1 million timekeepers produced by this brand have been manufactured since 1839. With so few in production each year, they are incredibly sought-after. Some even require an application process to prove that the potential owner is worthy of wearing such a piece.
All three of these luxury watch brands, along with others from Switzerland have something in common: they have been made using the strongest of materials and put together with incredible artistry.
Strong As Steel
If you’ve been lucky enough to hold a Swiss watch, one of the first things you’ll notice is how strong it is in comparison to a non-Swiss piece. This is largely because Swiss watches are typically made from 316L surgical steel which is tough and resists corrosion well. Essentially, the quality of the steel ensures that it holds a polish and looks good for longer. The band is also made of steel, rather than a common alloy made up of plastic or a base metal mix. If you own a Swiss watch then you can be assured that the steel band will not wear away and become unsightly.
The quality control process of Swiss watches applies to each individual piece which is hand-crafted by a professional. In comparison, other non-Swiss brands are known to use assembly lines to make their watches. While quality checks are certainly carried out by all major watch brands based outside of Switzerland, often these inspections are based on a spot-check of a select group of pieces within a production group.
Swiss watchmakers also prefer to use metal gears in the interior mechanics, rather than the plastic alternatives. Plastic unfortunately tends to wear down and needs to be replaced, whereas metal provides a superior quality.
If you’re hoping to go shopping for a watch in the January Sales, then start by looking at Swiss brands. Although the price tags are greater, the extra quality means that you’re receiving a real investment for your money.