They are demanding that for a watch to warrant the Swiss-Made label, 60% of its value must originate in Switzerland. At a recent press conference, Jean-Daniel Pasche, President of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH), reminded the audience that the current legislation, passed in 1971, does not provide for a minimum added value for timepieces that qualify as Swiss Made. This loophole allows foreign manufacturers, mainly Chinese, to sell “Swiss” watches whose made-in-Switzerland components barely reach 20% of total value.
This stance is in line with debates currently taking place at Switzerland’s political authorities. The preparatory commission of the Conseil National, and the Conseil Fédéral, both propose that industrial components that have been made in Switzerland account for at least 60% of cost price. The vast majority (85%) of FH members support the draft law. Its biggest opponent is the Union Suisse des Arts et Métiers which groups together some 300,000 small and medium enterprises. It argues that the project is too complex and that it goes against the interests of the country’s SMEs.
Philippe Merk, Chief Executive of Audemars Piguet, declared that “the purpose is to protect and build on the unique expertise, ingenuity and craftsmanship which have developed in the country over the years.” And to stop taking the customer for a ride.