How and where watches are made? By Extropian

expensive watch
Swiss watches
luxury brands
Swiss made
cheap watches
Made in China watches
How and where watches are made? By Extropian

Have you ever asked yourself how and where watches are made? You might think the answer is all over the place - America, France, the UK and, of course, Switzerland. And to a certain extent that’s true. But the real answer may come as a bit of shock!  

Where are watch parts made?



We know it may come as a surprise to watch fans but the vast majority of watch parts are actually made in China. Even those by many Swiss brands! Although the Swiss have to be careful that 60% of the manufacturing of a movement happens in Switzerland in order to qualify as Swiss Made.


Switzerland and other countries

Of course the most exclusive watch brands, notably those in Switzerland, will make all, or the vast majority of, their watch parts in house. This is especially true when it comes to high horology -  the kind of watches that you’d need to take out a second mortgage for in order to buy! For most luxury brands, it’s a mix. They’ll make some parts in house and use others manufactured elsewhere. 


What is the quality of watch parts made in China?

Yes, we know that China doesn’t exactly have the best reputation when it comes to quality. And sure, some pretty basic watch parts are made there. But so are some very quality ones! And plenty of others that fall somewhere between the two!


Are most watches also assembled in China?

Many watches are indeed assembled in China. And their quality, like the parts made there, will again vary from pretty basic to excellent! But it won’t come as a surprise that watches from high horology brands are assembled in their home countries.

The same is true of the higher end of the mid-market sector. The higher the quality of the watch brand, the more processes that are done in their own country. That includes the manufacturing of some parts and the assembly.  


So what makes the difference between a cheap watch and a luxury watch?

When it comes down to it, the quality of the parts combined with a brand’s quality control processes, and the finishing of the watch, will all have an impact on the final quality of the watch. High quality parts put together in a slap happy way with little or no quality control are not going to result in the quality of a watch as one that is subject to rigorous checks at every stage of the manufacturing process!



We know the ‘Made in China’ tag is often associated with mass produced, poor quality goods. But when it comes to watches the picture is more complicated! Sure there are some poor quality watches coming out of China. But there are some very good quality ones too. And even if your watch isn’t actually  ‘Made in China’ you can bet a pretty high proportion of its parts actually were! 

Created the 2023-04-18

Modified the 2024-02-08

Subscribe to our Newsletter and stay updated!