Why Does Switzerland Have A Reputation For Making Great Watches?

August 1, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

On Reddit users discussed why the clock industry is so strong in Switzerland. Here are some highlights:

  • Wrist watches became popular in part as a result of World War I where, what was once considered a female accessory, was adopted by (male) soldiers who didn’t have the time to pull out a pocket watch.
  • Around the same time several well-known Swiss watch companies were formed and they capitalized on this demand.
  • During World War II Swiss brands provided pilot’s watches to both the RAF and the Luftwaffe. These watches were considered superior to those available to others – a reputation that followed after the end of the war.
  • Quartz watches almost killed the Swiss watch. Such watches are far more precise than mechanical ones, yet Swiss watchmakers chose not to develop the technology because they believed that consumers would still demand mechanical watches.
  • They didn’t. Sales plummeted and several well-known names had to close shop.
  • In the 80s Swatch came along and produced cheap quartz watches with odd designs that managed to become incredibly popular.
  • Swatch then purchased other Swiss companies like Omega and Tissot and marketed these as luxury products, playing upon the history of Swiss watchmaking.

Read the rest of the fascinating discussion, including a look at how religion might have played a roll over here.

Source: Reddit