The defense of"Swiss" branding continues, and takes another twist - the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the FH, will cut its ties with economiesuisse, the Swiss Business Federation, at the end of this year.
FH board members took the decision because they are unhappy with theperformance of economiesuisse on the Swissness campaign, stating that rather than support the amendment to trademark law, known as Swissness, economiesuisse "not only stands in the way of strengthening the protection of this label, but raises the likelihood of it becoming weaker than it is at present".
The safeguarding of the "Swiss" in Swiss watches is of paramount importance to the Swiss watch industry, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to preserve it. The crux of the matter is the defined percentage of production costs which mustbe incurred in Switzerland for a product to be declared as officially Swiss-Made, and as you'd expect the industry most affected by this is the production ofwatches.
Perhaps you consider the addition of the words "Swiss Made" on the dial of your watch to be superfluous to your requirements - that the actual watchmakers name is foremost in your mind when purchasing ... and, even if your timepiece has its genealogy acknowledged on its dial, exactly how Swiss is it?
Living in the Jura region in the 17th Century the main challenge was survival - isolation and harsh winters meant that a level of resourcefulness would be required in order to supplement a farmer’s sporadic income - the production of tools which evolved into the manufacture of watch and clock components produced meticulous handcrafting which was as totally in-house as it could possibly be. Nowadays, only the Independents are capable of (and committed to) the manufacture of everything required to make a timepiece, for everyone else, outsourcing and subcontracting have become the norm - and for Swiss watches, this often means sending business outside Switzerland, to France, to Germany and beyond. Production costs and supply deficiency have been gradually diluting the essence of "Swiss Made". In order to minimise the weakening and thus conserve jobs, Swissness proposes to increase the Swiss Made value of products to 60%, the FH want to raise this to 80% and is prepared to continue its campaign.
Monopolization, or preservation, whatever your opinion, the debate continues. Commenting last week theSwiss Watch Industry Federation expressed the wish that although the FH no longerhas a place in economiesuisse, it does howeverremain open to dialogue with economiesuisse.