Rounding out the list of crises are not one, but two major downturns actually. Both stemming from the middle of the s. At the time, in to be exact, the industry was at its best, producing about 84 million watches a year! Clearly, the oil- and quartz- crises could not have come at a worse time or be any more painful of a hit for the Swiss.
Uber great article! I have learnt a lot in a short time with it! Much respect to that brand, and a lot of thanks for the article! Now this is the type of article that I come to ablogtowatch for! I love the long form conversation. Thank you David, for a taking us on a journey a true testament to content discovery. Save the marketing speak for the short-of-attention types, none of which are here…… at least I hope. Thanks for the detailed post.
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Really great David. If Swatch owned Intel, then all of the PC makers would be told to make their own chips. Think how ridiculous that would be. I understand Hayek both Sr.
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But that is precisely what they told the entire Swiss watch industry in the 80s. Only to reverse position once they had consolidated everything. But it made strategic planning difficult for independent Swiss brands. Companies such as Sellita and Soprod will do well by filling the void. But short term, they can only increase production so much each year. Bigger non-Swatch brands are increasingly making their own movements. But that certainly does not reduce near term costs.
So the net effect is that in the next 5 — 10 years, expect to see the price of watches with Swiss mechanical movements to only raise. I think already the price leash was lost and the price race begun. I totally agree with Hayek hey man if you hear me make me a discount but with the antitrust regulation they are their own victims.
I am angry on TAG because their new prices are very harsh. And agree very much in what Hayek senior said that everybody in the watch industry is a lier not referring to you Mark of course. Excellent review article, well-researched and balanced. I learned a lot. Thanks for writing it! That seems to be about as low as you find these days for a Manufacture movement in a Swiss watch.
Brands like TAG Heuer are only going up-market with their in-house movement watches and overall I suspect.
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LapYoda Yes. January 1st prices will sadly have to go up. Very informative, there is a long path ahead for the watch industry with plenty to gain for us the consumer along the way. George Daniels was right all along!! The chart on pg. One thing not mentioned, in this otherwise excellent overview, is the emergence of the Asian players into the game.
It is wise to consider their growing importance in the caliber and all parts manufacturing scheme.
Thanks for the article Mr. Assembling it all here with such great perspective makes it a great resource for all horology fans. How did all of this stuff happen? There was no monopoly. It only seemed so because everyone needed something manufactured in Switzerland so they could write Swiss Made and charge too much money for the final product. The industry is all happy to have the government regulate these marketing terms, but they are unhappy about them making it possible to use them for anyone but the incumbents.
If the moneybags and thought leaders would just buy watches with Seiko movements, Hayek would have no problem selling ETA movements to all comers. Thanatos42 Until recently, the movements in the Seiko Monsters for example, did not hack stop seconds or hand wind. The latest generation of Seiko movements not talking Grand Seikos here are much improved and have better accuracy.
But before that one could easily argue that an ETA movement was a better product.
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Whether an ETA movement is a good value is something each consumer has to decide for themselves. The other factor is the increased valuation of the Swiss Franc against other currencies like the U. What is good for the Swiss businesses is good for the Swiss economy so the politicians play ball. The figure their competition was outside of Switzerland more than within.
I know, a strange concept in the U. MarkCarsonTotally fair. But the point remains, nobody selling luxury watches will use a movement that prevents them from writing Swiss Made on the dial. That this market niche exists at all is a bit of a miracle. I mean, these watches keep terrible time, after all. Why do we have silly regulations in a far away country about where the spinning bits need to be made?
The other argument to be made here is that the Swiss Made rules are irrelevant because nobody in their right mind would invest in developing mechanical watch movements. The market is completely saturated and the technology is severely outmoded. Nobody will pay to develop competing hairspring technology, so most of the industry will just dry up leaving the whole pie for the big players.
Is that bad for Switzerland? They did it because adoption of their newest CPUs and core logic chipsets were too slow. Essentially, they were forcing their clients to be more competitive by creating a competitor. They were happy to abandon the market once matter improved. PC Makers have thin margins because the component manufacturers keep all of the profits.
Except for Apple, of course. They are the Cartier of the PC business. Thank you all for your fantastic feedback! I must say that I am genuinely motivated by your comments and that I hope I can bring you several other, similarly detailed articles over time.
The history of Eterna: pioneering innovation in watchmaking
Thank you all once again! Thanatos42 Being a computer software guy for about 30 years, I have a somewhat different idea of Intels motives in the motherboard business. But that discussion would go too far off topic.