SWISS MADE OR SWISS MAD?

There's been a couple of interesting stories in the world of watchmaking recently that I thought might be useful in highlighting a couple of key facts about my ETIQUS brand.

The first 'Swiss mad' story concerns long time Swiss family watch maker H.Moser and Cie. They decided to make a watch from Swiss cheese to highlight how narked they are with administration of the label 'Swiss Made'. The marque normally appears at the bottom of the dial on what are considered to be quality Swiss made watches.

Until January 1st this year the qualification for a 'Swiss Made' watch was that only 50% of the value of the watch manufacturing process, including final assembly and testing, had to be done in Switzerland, providing that the watch had a Swiss Made movement ... again not all elements of which had to be made in Switzerland. This percentage has now risen to 60%. Unfortunately many manufacturers, including some famous names, have been importing sub assembled watches manufactured elsewhere, often in Asia, for just those final elements of the process to be undertaken in Switzerland. Once Swiss Made appears on the dial the watches are then listed and sold at premium prices.

Now there's two things that make me uncomfortable about that. Firstly as a watch for golfers founded on the principles of etiquette and in the spirit of the game that values courtesy, honesty and integrity - it still does doesn't it? - this underhand activity would appear to be a blatant 'leather wedge' cheat that we don't like to think about in golf and therefore not appropriate for our brand and reputation.

Secondly many premium quality products are made in China and the far east where major corporations have based manufacturing plants with highly skilled work forces and modern technology manufacturing capabilities. Once considered a poor source for quality products the transformation has been quite remarkable with products, such as many of those from Apple as an example, meeting exacting quality standards. Most of your golf clubs are made there too!

So when I reviewed the component sources for ETIQUS golf timepiecesĀ I decided that we would use the best value products wherever they could be sourced but insisting the soul of the watch, the movement, was sourced only from Switzerland. That is what we did and that's partly why we are able to offer a great quality product at an attractive price. (The other key reason is of course that by selling direct to the golfer online and cutting out unnecessary costs of retail and the huge cost of celebrity product endorsement, you are paying the greatest percentage of your money for our product and service.) So that's why we have 'Swiss Movement' on the dial, not Swiss Made, even thought my watches are as much 'Swiss' as many Swiss made watches at price points three to five times greater than ours.

The second story is that of quality watch maker Tag Heuer and their new association with football. As many people know I am a little obsessed with watch bezels and most importantly that the correct bezel is used when a relevant link is sort between a watch and a particular sport or pastime.

So Tag Heuer launch their new Football Match Timer with their new bezel. See below. It's not a new idea but all credit to them for adopting it.

Football-Bezel

As you can see it clearly relates to the 45 min periods of the first and second halves of a football match. In these days when kick offs, especially in the Premier League can be at very odd times I think it's actually a quite useful feature to know not only where the game is up to, but importantly when the first and second half will end. So great, new watch, newish bezel.

Whilst watching 'Match of the Day' I then see the fourth officials holding up their half time and substitution boards which now feature a time elapsed diving bezel! And to cap it all, Tag Heuer have now launched a watch for Manchester United fans but with a Tachemetric bezel capable of measuring speed and most often associated with Motor sports. Perhaps they're trying to encourage Mr Mourinho to play at a faster tempo?

So there we have one sport, Football, where TAG Heuer are now using 3 bezels! A football, a Diving and a Motorsport version. In my humble opinion, totally inconsistent and a complete lack of attention to detail. Swiss Mad indeed!

So we'll keep making affordable quality products exclusively for golfers where every point of detail is consistent and relevant to golf. I feel good about that.

Anyway, lighter nights on the way - time to dust off my golf clubs! :)

Your in Golf

Gary Butler

Founder