A Brief History of Swiss-Made Watches

When it comes to timepieces, Swiss-made watches have become synonymous with luxury and quality. Even in this digital world, where smartwatches are becoming more common, the phrase swiss-made remains the hallmark of a premium watch, but how did Switzerland become the epitome of excellence?

The beginning…
Although they might now be the most famous nation for watchmaking, Switzerland was not the first nation to be making portable timepieces. That accolade goes to Germany, when Peter Henlein made the first mobile watch in the early 15th century; however, Switzerland was not far behind, with records showing products were being produced from around 1509.

While portable, these timepieces were over three inches long and would be worn like a piece of jewelry. As technology advanced, watchmakers began partnering with goldsmiths and enamellers to make smaller and more innovative products.

By the 1700s, pocket watches were the most common form of timepiece for gentlemen across Europe. At that time, British-made watches were considered the best on the market, but Swiss-made products were quickly building an impressive reputation, and by the end of the century, they were exporting over 60,000 watches a year.

Leading the way
It was not only the reputation of Swiss-made products that was growing. Switzerland was also leading the way in developing newer styles, mechanisms, and production methods. These production methods allowed Swiss watchmakers the ability to mass-produce timepieces, and by the mid-18th Century, they were producing over two million a year compared to the few hundred thousand of their closest competitors.

The origins of the world’s first wristwatch is a hotly contested question, with horologists pointing to various timepieces produced throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The Guinness World Records, however, state the first wristwatch was Swiss-made, produced by Patek Phillipe in 1868 for Countess Koscowicz.

Regardless of its origins, as the 20th century dawned, there was no denying that Switzerland was leading the market in terms of both quantity and quality of chronograph watches.

A symbol for quality
Nowadays, the world’s leading watch manufacturers are based in Switzerland, and the term Swiss-made is a symbol of quality. However, in order to carry that stamping, each watch must adhere to strict rules.

Known as the ‘Swissness’ legislation, these government rulings came into effect that stated in order for a watch to feature the Swiss-made stamp, it must:

  • Feature technical development that occurred in Switzerland
  • Have a Swiss movement
  • Have the watch and movements cased within Switzerland
  • Have at least 60% of the manufacturing costs generated within the country
  • Have all inspections taken place in Switzerland.

Enjoy high-quality timepieces with Arcis
Here at Arcis, our mission is to provide modern professionals with the tools needed to help them achieve their very best. From gorgeous leather goods and luxury writing instruments to unique accessories, we hand-pick our products to ensure our customers are able to enjoy the very best items possible.

Of course, no discerning modern professional would be complete without a luxury timepiece, which is why we stock a range of high-quality Swiss-made watches. Available in a range of styles, ensuring you can always find the perfect option for any occasion, our watches are produced using the finest Swiss-made movements, guaranteeing their quality and performance.

So if you are looking for a high-quality watches, check out our range of luxury timepieces here.

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