Watches: products of science and works of art
Watches are timepieces that used to be a necessity. But now with the advent of phones that have built-in clocks, most of the watches today are seen as an accessory. There are also gear watches that used by certain professionals and hobbyists such as diver’s watches and sports watches. Despite the high technology today, the production of watches still exist, and there are professional watchmakers who still regard the making of these timepieces as works of art as well as products of science, just like in the olden days.
So which country produces the best watches in the world? It would be a toss-up between the two nations that dominate the wristwatches market: Switzerland and Japan.
When it comes to Switzerland, you conjure up images of the Alps, chocolates, and of
course, watches. Why Switzerland is regarded as a country that produces the best-quality watches in the world? We think that watchmaking there is seen as an established industry. Most Swiss people see watchmaking as also very much a family tradition. Those who belong to the family of watchmakers also get to learn the craft of watchmaking, and stay in that industry. This centuries-old tradition of watchmaking gives the Swiss the momentum they enjoy. And I think Switzerland’s environment — peace, quietness and stability, since the country is neutral and therefore less disturbed by recent wars — is a plus for the watchmakers, since watchmaking requires precision and assiduous attention to detail. No wonder Swiss watches are among the finest in the world, and most of these are luxury watches.
Rolex, although a company founded in London, England in 1905, has been operating in Switzerland since it moved its headquarters in 1919. Rolex produces one of the most lavish, expensive luxury watches ever, and it’s one of the most powerful global brands today. Wearing this watch is regarded nowadays as a status symbol.
Aside from Rolex, many of the biggest watchmakers of the world come from Switzerland: Breitling, Omega, Tag Heuer, Movado, Hublot, Swatch, Tissot, and Zenith — and those are the only more popular watch brands. Aside from those, many of the world’s noted watchmakers of recent originate from the little European country — Daniel Roth, Philippe Dufour, Francois-Paul Journe, and Felix Baumgartner, among others.
Japan is also known as a watchmaking country. The Japanese pride themselves in their technological advancements as well as offer timepieces that are inexpensive compared to their European counterparts. This is what the Japanese watchmakers aim for — to mass-produce quality watches with the cutting-edge technology as well as to design and then sell them at mid-range prices. That’s why they’re not that bothered with the activity in the luxury watches market. However, there are some companies such as Citizen and Seiko which have started to challenge the Swiss lead in the luxury watches domain, and so have begun to create beautiful, jewel-studded high quality luxury watches.
Watch companies in Japan have continued to develop new technologies for quartz movements in their watches. The Japanese quartz watches once took the world by storm from the 1970s until the early 1980s, which threatened the Swiss’ position in the global wristwatches market.
The country is also famed for their excellent digital watches, or hybrid watches (watches that have both mechanical and digital features). Japan manufactures many of the best and the coolest digital and hybrid watches in the market. Casio, another world-famous Japanese wristwatches brand, manufactures popular units such as the G-Shock, ProTek and Wave Ceptor watches. Orient is also a well-known Japanese brand.
So would you go for a watch known for its luxury and craftsmanship or a watch that has cutting-edge technology and affordability? Like the characteristics of their watches, Switzerland and Japan may be worlds apart but they’re also home to many of the best and most reputable watch brands. Which country produces the best watches? It’s up to the consumers to decide, as they have different tastes when it comes to watches. Japan and Switzerland are surely at the forefront of watch fashion.