The Swiss are famous for their cheese, bank, exotic location, and, you guessed it, wristwatches. However, the Swiss watch industry began as a replica of French wristwatches sold at affordable rates. When the French wristwatch industry crashed, Swiss watches became the new premium brand in the wristwatch industry. Since then, the Swiss have been leading the wristwatch market closely, followed by Japanese wristwatch makers. In this blog post, we will share the difference between the Swiss and Japanese wristwatch movements. So, keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Watch Movement?
Among many notable features of a good wristwatch, the watch movement is the most popular and crucial feature. Watch movement refers to the part of a wristwatch responsible for moving the hands of a watch. It’s often called the “heart” or a wristwatch but calling it the “brain” is more accurate. Besides tracking time, the watch movement is responsible for powering features such as calendar and chorograph. Different watchmakers have their unique designs embedded in their watch movement.
What Is a Swiss Movement?
Everyone knows that Swiss watches have set the standards by which all wristwatches are judges. Their expert craftsmanship and meticulous design elements have become industry benchmarks. So much so that the “Swiss made” tag has become a symbol of pride and prestige among wristwatch enthusiasts. Despite their expensive price tag, swiss watches have high demand.
Swiss watches are held in high regard by many watchmakers. Finishing is another important aspect of Swiss watches. The metal is polished, shaped, and designed to perfection with little to no room for errors. Most Swiss watches are hand made which increases their price. The primary characteristics of a swiss movement watch are,
- Detailed Finishing
Japanese Mechanical Movement
Japan has a long history of manufacturing wristwatches. Most watch-making companies use Japanese mechanical movements due to their precision, fast turnaround, and automated workflow. Unlike Swiss watches, Japanese mechanical movement is produced by an automated robot assembly. Using this production method reduces the margin of error and produces comparatively better watches sometimes. However, the quality of Japanese wristwatches isn't up to par with Swiss watches, perhaps because Japan manufactures more watches than Switzerland. However, this no way implied inferior quality for Japanese mechanical movement watches.
The main characteristics of the Japanese watch movement are,
- High reliability
- Value for money
However, Japanese mechanical watches tend to have a lower resale than Swiss watches. But the overwhelming prices of Swiss watches are not in everyone’s budget. Therefore, Swiss watches have a niche market while Japanese watches are made for everyone. That is why Japanese mechanical movement watches have less focus on quality.
Difference Between Swiss and Japanese Watch Movement
While both watch movements have significant market share and loyal customers, their difference makes them unique. Here are all the differences between Swiss and Japanese watch movements.
- Swiss movement watches are more expensive because they are handmade. A basic swiss watch movement will cost around $200 or more, while a Japanese watch starts from $100.
- If you buy an open heart wristwatch, you’ll notice that Swiss watches are more decored than Japanese watches. Perhaps because swiss watches are handmade and they pay more attention to detail than their counterpart.
- The automatic movement has a built-in power reserve. While Swiss watches have 40 hours reserve, their Japanese counterparts have 45 hours of power reserve. Since Swiss watches don’t have a ball bearing, hence its watch winding is more efficient.
- The Swiss watch movement doesn’t stop at a time, unlike Japanese watches.
- A Japanese watch movement can be identified on the bottom of the wristwatch. While the Swiss watch movement consists of 3 letters, C.T.A followed by a number.
Which Works Better? Swiss or Japanese?
The Japanese proved in the 1970s that they knew how to make a watch that customers would buy. Their watches are known for being affordable. However, they lack the reliability that their Swiss counterparts offer. Japanese and Swiss wristwatches cater to different segments of the wristwatch market. While the former is designed for the average consumer, the latter focuses on a niche market, the wealthy 1%.
Some Swiss watches have been tailored for the average consumer, but their prices are still too high. Primarily because Swiss wristwatches have high manufacturing costs. On the other hand, Japanese watch movements are produced through a line of robots. They produce more watches in an instance than their Swiss counterparts and reduce cost through maximum efficiency. However, the increased level of production decreases the reliability of Japanese watches.
Swiss watches take the lead in terms of resale, and if you are buying a wristwatch that you can treasure for a lifetime, Swiss watches are your champions. However, if you are looking for an affordable timepiece that will last you 5-8 years, a Japanese wristwatch is the best option.
Final Thoughts Swiss vs. Japanese Movement
Both Swiss and Japanese watches geet the job. But the final decision between Swiss and Japanese watches falls on your personal preferences. If you prefer a luxury watch meticulously designed to perfection, your first thought should be a Swiss watch.
However, Japanese watches are great if your preferences are getting value for money and high reliability. Nevertheless, both watch movements are phenomenal and used by wristwatch manufacturers all over the world. This doesn’t imply that either one of these two watch movements is inferior to the other.
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