The ‘Swiss Made’ brand includes some of the highest-quality and most venerable watch makers and products. In the same way that wine labeled as ‘Champagne’ must be from that area of France to qualify for the label, ‘Swiss Made’ watches must meet specific criteria, such as being assembles in Switzerland. Any watch which is designated as ‘Swiss Made’ increases in retail value as a result.
With these rules in mind, one can’t help but wonder why Apple has recently taken on board a sales executive directly from the company TAG Heuer. The owner of the LVMH group (which owns Swiss watchmakers TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith.) Jean-Claude Biver told CNBC News that TAG Heuer’s sale’s director left the company “to take a contract with Apple” and help launch the upcoming iWatch.
Analysts have already noticed that Apple have been looking to get employees working for Swiss watchmakers on board for the iWatch launch recently, but without much success.
Now, according to the laws which govern whether an item can be labeled as ‘Swiss Made’, Apple still won’t be able to include the label on the iWatch without either finding a loophole or precedent for the inclusion.
Several amendments to the guidelines have been made since they begun using the label during the 19th century, which form a ‘grey area’ which Apple may be able to use to their advantage, as the label has also been included on other products which are not watches, such as model trains and Swiss Army knives.
You can read up on the rules which define whether a watch is ‘Swiss Made’ here on Wikipedia.
However, luxury goods analyst Mario Ortelli of Bernstein isn’t too sure.
“For sure they are trying to approach the Swiss manufacturers, but the Swiss have got no great interest in working with Apple – if you are a luxury producer and you cooperate with Apple, you have got a dilution,” Ortelli said, in an interview with CNBC News.
“[Swiss watchmakers] do not want to create a device like the iPhone, the iPhone is designed in California and assembled in China – so they don’t want to dilute the value of the Swiss name,”
The long-standing tradition of watchmaking in Switzerland is a brand which has every right to be protected, and, regardless of whether Apple print ‘Swiss Made’ on their iWatch or just market it as being Swiss Made, traditional Swiss Watchmakers will not be happy.
Source: CNBC News –