H. Moser & Cie. says no to Swiss-Made label

No to Swiss made, Yes to Swissness, says the artisan watch manufacture in a press statement and on its website. The traditional watchmaker from Neuhausen am Rheinfall, just outside of watch epicenter Schaffhausen, Switzerland, has decided to forgo the “Swiss Made” label in light of the new rules, which it considers to be too lax.

Effective 1 January 2017, an update to the “Swiss made” law stipulates that 60% of a Swiss watch must be of Swiss origin to claim Made in Switzerland status.

 


Swiss traditional watch manufacturer H. Moser & Cie does not think reforms to the "Swissness" law are Swiss enough. - Screenshot

 

But H. Moser & Cie argues that there is a big gap between what the customer thinks the Swiss Made label means, namely that the product is 100% Swiss, and the fact that in reality, many brands produce many components abroad.

Switzerland’s update to the “Swissness” law actually requires that more parts of a Swiss watch now be made in Switzerland. Previously, the wording of the law essentially meant that 50% of watch components had to be made in Switzerland, namely just the watch movement. The updated legislation effective January, 2017 applies to all parts of the watch.

H. Moser & Cie claims its own production processes are 95% Swiss, and would have advocated for a much more stringent standard. The protest move by the boutique watchmaker is risky at best. Made-in labels for European countries with long traditions of artisan craft are a very strong selling point, especially in non-western markets.

But that is not deterring this less high-profile brand, somewhat an insider’s tip for fine watch aficionados. “We are strong believers in Swiss values and we fight to defend traditional mechanical watchmaking every day,” said CEO Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie in a statement. “In our Manufacture, we design, develop and produce all of our components from start to finish…Anything that we cannot achieve internally is sourced from Swiss suppliers.”

Meylan feels it is unfair that brands outsourcing up to 40% of their parts be allowed to embellish their watch dials with the same Swiss made label as a 95-percent Swiss-made H. Moser & Cie watch. “Today, the Swiss Made label is devalued because it is used by entry-level brands to justify their very existence or price point. Ultimately, our own image is undermined by this. In fact, we need no justification from this label, because our products speak for themselves,” said Meylan. 

H. Moser & Cie. was founded in 1828 by Schaffhausen native Heinrich Moser, who emigrated to St. Petersburg, Russia and achieved great notoriety as a fine watchmaker. The current version of the company, re-founded by family descendants in 2002, is based in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland. The artisan watch company currently employs 50 people, has eight manufacture calibers and annually produces approximately 1,200 watches. 

 

Translated by Susan Spies

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