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“The Swiss made label is useful to brands trying to justify themselves”

OPINIONS EPISODE 1

March 2017


“The Swiss made label is useful to brands trying to justify themselves”

Edouard Meylan, the young and dynamic boss of the venerable H. Moser & Cie brand, created one of the buzzes he’s so good at generating (having tried his hand in the past at smartwatches) by releasing a strong statement in favour of stricter regulation of what can be called “Swiss made”. Because, despite remaining grey zones and a period of ambiguity, the new legislation setting the gauge at 60 percent of a product’s value came into force on 1 January 2017.

B

eyond his Vacherin-cheese watch and his taste for provocation, Europa Star asked Edouard Meylan to expand upon and clarify his thoughts on the notion of “Swiss made” – as well as the solutions he recommends, such as a multi-speed quality label. Here they are.

Throughout 2017, the first year of the new criteria for “Swiss made”, Europa Star will be talking to public and private stakeholders about this thorny issue: those who believe the new legislation is balanced, those who find it too restrictive and too hastily implemented; and, lastly, those who – as here – decry a definition of “Swiss made” which is insufficiently…Swiss.

Edouard Meylan, CEO, H. Moser & Cie

“Originally, Swiss Made was defined to protect various Swiss industries and their savoir-faire. Unfortunately, different industries mean various needs, with different specificities and competitive environments. Today, the Swiss made label is not strong enough for the Swiss watchmaking industry as it is still possible to produce almost all components of a movement abroad and still be Swiss made. If we want to defend traditional mechanical watchmaking, we need to be very strict. At H. Moser & Cie., we design, develop and produce all of our components from start to finish, including the hairsprings and regulating organs from our sister company, Precision Engineering AG.

And anything that we cannot achieve internally is sourced from Swiss suppliers. We believe in Swiss values and fight every day for them. The Swiss Mad Watch that we recently launched during SIHH is more than a watch; it is a symbol. Our idea behind this product was to tackle the Swiss Made debate head on to bring more transparency around this label. With this unique watch, H. Moser & Cie demonstrates the importance and urgency of returning Swiss Made to its former heights. “Make Swiss Made Great Again” is our call to action, to the Swiss watchmaking industry, the authorities and watch enthusiasts.

The Swiss Made label is useful to brands trying to justify themselves, this is not the case of the high end manufactures for which the product should express on its own the highest level of quality and craftsmanship. It is necessary to have a label better defined and controlled. A system with different levels or categories could be a solution, under the strict control of an independent and authorised entity. While potentially difficult to implement, such a solution would be less misleading to end customers, for whom there is a big gap between their perception of Swiss Made, assuming that the item is 100% Swiss, and the reality of the 60%. At H. Moser & Cie, we have opted for the 100% Swiss label. Our watches are truly Swiss, watches that are steeped in watchmaking tradition and centuries of experience. Concretely, all new watches created from 2017 onwards won’t have the Swiss Made label on their dial but will be engraved on the back of the case with the mark ‘100% Swiss’.”

More on the question of “Swiss made” from another opinion leader in the next issue of Europa Star!