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HomeJewellery InsuranceWatch InsuranceWhat Are Swiss Movement Watches? Guide to Swiss Movement Watches & Brands

What Are Swiss Movement Watches? Guide to Swiss Movement Watches & Brands

Swiss Movement Watches.

In Switzerland the manufacture of wristwatches falls in to two main groups:

1-Manufacturers who build every aspect of the watch.

2 Etablisseurs who assemble watches using parts obtained from other companies.

The internal working of a mechanical watch is known as the movement. Surprisingly, very few manufactures actually use their own proprietary movements, preferring instead to use one of the “tried & tested” calibers from a movement specialist. The simple reason for this is that movements are complex to design and even more complex to test, often the sheer cost of research and development on a new movement would make its sale not viable financially, far better to use one of the “work horse” movements that are easily available and whose traits and reliability are well known throughout the industry.
That said, a proprietary watch movement is a prized item and connoisseurs and collectors are prepared to pay large sums of money for them, particularly for very rare examples.

The number of full watch movement manufactures is dwindling but some that still make their own movements include: Breguet, Blancpain,Jaegar Le Coultre Rolex, Patek Philippe. Each movement will have a separate reference number and may be similar to other calibers but with subtle differences.

Until fairly recently there where a number of movement manufactures operating in Switzerland but the digital quartz revolution has put most of them out of business, the demand for mechanical watches has dropped and thus so has the need for movements.

One company still trading and with the vast majority of the market share is ETA (ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse). ETA is a full manufacturer in it’s own right but it is best known for it’s supply of “ Ebauche” movements. Ebauche” is basically a term that means “incomplete” or” un-assembled” and to this “block” associated components have to be added to make the full working movement.

ETA has grown through a series of consolidations with the industry and now includes within the group other well-known movement makers such as Valjoux and Lemania.

Watch movements or calibers are referred to by the makers name and a serial number, ETA are responsible for producing two of the most well-known; the ETA 2824-2, an automatic movement and the more upmarket ETA 2892 available in three different grades. Included in the group are Valjoux who make the ubiquitous Valjoux 7750, the movement installed in most chronographs on the market today.
It’s interesting to note that whilst the majority of watches are using the same movements, the prices can vary quite dramatically depending on the manufacturer’s name.

Is it Important to know the watch movement type ?

Knowing the calibre of the movement in your watch can give you an indication as to its pedigree. If you are buying second hand it will give you clues to its value and will help you check it’s not a fake.
If you take the back off the watch (and you should only do this if you have the correct tools and probably not all if it is waterproof) the movement will have the manufactures recognition stamped on it along with the calibre number. There are databases online where you can check these and find out more.

Once you have located your Swiss watch, we at Assetsure will be pleased to offer you a quotation for Watch Insurance. We cover single watches on their own. We provide “All Risks” Insurance on a worldwide basis

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