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Swissness 2017 is final

News 5 July 2016

The new Swissness legislation will take effect finally in 2017. After several meetings with representatives of the watch industry and the Institute for Intellectual Property, the Executive Federal Council passed the watch industry regulation in June.

Executive Federal Council passes conversion regulation

Tightening up of former Swiss Made Definition
Basically, the 60% rule will come into force. This relates to the watch as a whole (not including the bracelet) and comprises the production costs together with the execution of an essential production step in Switzerland.

With effect from 1.1.2019, the technical development of a watch or a watch movement must take place in Switzerland. This includes the mechanical construction and production of prototypes, as well as the design of quartz watch movement electronics. 

Transition regulations for watches and components
All watches produced until the end of 2016 according to the current Swiss Made regulation will be allowed to be distributed for a further two years until 31.12.2018.

Watch cases and glasses in stock as at 31 December 2016 will still be allowed to be used in watch production for a further two years, until 31 December 2018, without having to be included in the new Swissness calculation basis.

Watches and watch movements, which are not developed in Switzerland and produced up to the end of 2018, may still remain in circulation until 31 December 2020.

Future ongoing updating
Insufficiently available material in Switzerland, which may be excluded from the Swissness calculation, will have to be objectively justified and monitored by the watch industry through the FH. In the event of disagreement within the industry, such a situation will be supervised by an independent third party.


After years of discussion about the new Swissness regulation, the legal position is now clear, even though decided at a very late stage. However, questions about the details may continue to arise, due to the nature of the matter.

Basic information is available on the Institute for Intellectual Property web site.

Regulation for watches & explanations

Here you can find all the currently available information about the new watch regulation (available only in German or French)

Here you can obtain further information!


News 23 September 2015

The latest information and relevant deadlines are summarized on this page.

The Federal Council passes conversion legislation

On 2 September, the Federal Executive Council completed its work in Parliament and approved the regulation law on the Swissness question. This enacted the agreed guidelines on the protection of the “Swiss“ brand name and the Swiss flag.

Although 72 National Council members voted in favour of an adjournment of the Swissness legislation, the political motion of Mr Germann was rejected on 8 September 2015, and the introduction of the Swissness legislation will take effect finally on 1 January, 2017.

Watches produced before this date - according to the existing legislation - can be sold only until the end of 2018.

The method of calculating the minimum 60 percent Swiss production cost content agreed for the industry’s products will be confirmed specifically in the revised brand protection legislation.

Revision of the Swiss Made Watch Legislation

The consultation period for the revision of the new Swiss Made Watch Legislation - the so-called industry ordinance – started on 2 September.

A draft adaptation of the “Swiss Made” Watch legislation, prepared by the Association of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, has been checked and amended by the relevant government administrators.
According to the resultant proposal, “Swiss made” watches in future must not only incur at least 60% of their production costs in Switzerland, but in addition, their technical development and that of their movements must take place in Switzerland.
This change in the legislation has the support of the Federal Executive Council which, accordingly, has initiated a corresponding consultation period, which will run until 2 December, 2015.

Information about the use of the name Swiss for watches is not available in English.

It is available in German: Verordnung Benützung Schweizer Namen für Uhren

It is available in French: Ordonnance reglant utilisation nom Suisse pour montres 

General information on the 2015 consultation process can be found here.

Here you can obtain further information!

As uncertainties regarding the guidelines and deadlines of the new law continue to persist, here is a link, which provides further answers to specific questions:

Answers to FAQs

News 1 July 2015

The introduction of the new Swissness Law is making progress and its implementation in 2017 seems to go without saying. Below the latest information on this subject.

Swissness law status

The new Swissness legislation was accepted by Parliament in July 2013. According to this, the Federal Executive Council, in its capacity as the executive institution, is commissioned to define the law in detail and introduce it. This preparation work has already been underway for two years. It is foreseen that the work will be completed towards the end of this year.

However, in order for this to happen, another generally accepted regulation for industry and a specific ruling for the watch branch must be drafted. The Federal Institute for Intellectual Property in Bern is responsible for this task and the Federal Executive Council has the final decision on its introduction.

Regardless of the fact that the process is not yet complete and that some details are still to be resolved, the Government is neverthless planning to introduce it in 2017. – In addition, there is to be a two-year transition period to allow the clearance of old stocks.

Link to the information available from the Institute of Intellectual Property

Hesitation due to exchange rate problems?

In connection with the uncoupling of the Swiss franc from the Euro in January this year, there have been a number of initiatives in Parliament to take this new financial situation into account in the Swissness developments. A large part of Swiss industry, and in particular the many SMBs, is labouring under this hugely increased burden to export marketing. The objective was to obtain an adjournment of the new Swissness legislation, or the simplification of its implementation, in order not to increase the burden to industry on top of the exchange rate difficulties. However, these proposals were rejected.

Even though all of these initiatives have not yet been processed, it is clear that the new Swissness legislation is expected to come into force on 1st January 2017.

In this regard, we ask our valued customers to undertake their necessary measures swiftly, in order to absorb the impact of the new law.

Here you can obtain further information!

As uncertainties regarding the guidelines and deadlines of the new law continue to persist, here is a link, which provides further answers to specific questions:

Answers to FAQs

News 18 November 2014

In Switzerland the preparations for introducing the new “Swissness” law are in full swing. 

As matters currently stand, the first changes here should enter into effect as early as January 2017. So securing the sourcing of cases, dials and hands in Switzerland is a top priority right now for all watch manufacturers.

“Swissness” law approved

Swiss Parliament voted in favour of the new Swissness legislation on 21 June 2013.
This means that a new law will now definitely enter into effect on the use of the “Switzerland” brand.

The Swiss Federal Council opened the consultation process on the implementation provisions for the new “Swissness” legislation this summer. The process will continue until around mid of 2015, and centres on the general implementation provisions for industrial products.
The new legislation is intended to create more specific provisions for enforcing the decision to enhance the protection of the “Swiss” name and the Swiss cross. It should also provide more clarity on the issue, along with a sounder legal foundation (see media release of 20 June 2014).

Consultation procedure “Swissness”
The chronology of the new legislation

Watch manufacturers’ milestones 2017/2019

The new law is expected to enter into effect on 1 January 2017. 
From then on, all Swiss watches will have to be manufactured in compliance with the new industry ordinance. The “Swiss Made” designation will no longer apply to the watch movement, but will apply instead to the entire watch (possibly excluding the strap/bracelet). In addition, at least 60% of the watch’s manufacturing costs will have to be incurred in Switzerland. The watch will also have to be assembled in Switzerland. And further requirements are part of the definition.

The two-year current-stock consumption period for watches manufactured under the present ordinance will end on 31 December 2018. 
From 1 January 2019 onwards, only watches complying with the new legislation may be sold.

The “IG Swiss Made” interest group is currently endeavouring to have the Federal Council defer the present 2017/2019 deadlines. We would like to emphasize, however, that it is felt to have little chance of doing so.

Have you as manufacturer of Swiss watches started making the necessary arrangements to secure the sourcing of the components you need? Please bear in mind that this new legislation is certain to come into effect!

Industry implementation provisions & ordinance for watches

The “industrial products” category covers all goods that are not natural or food products. This includes watches. For a “Swiss Made” label to be applied to such products, two conditions must simultaneously be met:

  • At least 60% of the manufacturing costs must be incurred in Switzerland.
  • The activities that have given the product its prime characteristics (e.g. assembly of a machine) must have been performed in Switzerland.

Now that the general implementation provisions for industrial products have been established, the next step is to draw up – with full regard to Switzerland’s obligations under its bilateral agreements with the European Union – an additional specific ordinance for the watch manufacturing sector. This will require the FH (Swiss Watch Federationand the “IG Swiss Made” interest group to precisely define the watch manufacturing process.

FAQs on the new legislation

The importance of the Swiss watch

Products that have been manufactured in Switzerland are a byword for precision, reliability and top quality. The “Swiss Made” label enjoys an excellent reputation all over the world. In this whole field, no product is associated as closely with Switzerland as the Swiss watch. So the “Swiss Made” label is a key selling point for the watch manufacturing industry. According to studies by St. Gallen University, consumers are prepared to pay up to 20% more – depending on the market segment – for a watch of Swiss origin.

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