Why Are Swiss Watches So Expensive?

Swiss watches have a reputation for being of the highest quality, both in terms of operation and individual components.

Let’s look more closely at what Swiss watches are and why they are so expensive.

Before going into detail on “Why Swiss Watches Are So Expensive?“, I would like to give you a short answer.

Swiss Watches are expensive due to several reasons which include the build quality and material, the time taken for the watch to manufacture, and the brand name among several other things.

What Exactly is a Swiss Watch?

Before we begin to discuss the reason behind the large price tag of a swiss watch, we should first know what makes a Swiss watch.

For so long, Swiss watches have been the industry standard for excellence that it can sometimes appear that “Swiss” is merely a generic synonym for quality rather than a geographical classification. In fact, in order to be labeled as Swiss, a watch must adhere to strict guidelines.

The current laws defining whether or not a watch can be labeled “Swiss Made” were compiled in 1971, and while there have been revisions since then, they have largely remained unchanged for nearly 50 years.

Though many definitions of a Swiss watch will focus on three basic elements, it is more appropriate to think of the definition as having five major rules:

  1. The movement should be Swiss.
  2. The watches are made in Switzerland.
  3. The movement of the watch is cased up in Switzerland.
  4. At least 60% of a timepiece’s manufacturing costs are based in Switzerland.
  5. The final inspection should be done in Switzerland.

These are the fundamental guidelines that have been followed by all Swiss watch manufacturers since the 1970s. They ensure that all Swiss watches are operated with extreme precision, ensuring that they are both accurate and long-lasting. As a result, Swiss watches, particularly those of the highest quality, can be expected to retain their value.

Why Swiss Watches Are So Expensive?

There are many reasons for the large price tag of Swiss Watches, and in this section we’re going to try and cover all of it.

1. Historical Background

The distinguished history of Swiss watches is a significant reason for their popularity. When you wear a Swiss watch, you are carrying on your wrist hundreds of years of fine watchmaking tradition. Swiss watchmakers have long pursued horological innovation and dedicated their careers to extremely accurate timekeeping. Luxury Swiss watchmakers like Patek Philippe and Rolex pioneered the wristwatch industry with innovations like the perpetual calendar and water-resistant wristwatch.

Wristwatches became popular during World War I because soldiers couldn’t always reach for their pocket watches. Soldiers began strapping their watches to their wrists as a hands-free solution, and they continued to do so after the war. In the years that followed, wristwatches such as Cartier’s Santos pilot watch and Tag Heuer’s Carrera racing chronograph were designed to support the daring. Swiss wristwatches are still associated with adventure, aviation, diving, and the military today.

2. Craftsmanship

Another reason Swiss watches are well-known is their exquisite craftsmanship and philosophy of constant refinement. Swiss watches are made of high-quality materials such as titanium, 18K gold, and sapphire crystals to ensure that the timepiece is exceptionally accurate and dependable. Richard Mille, for example, spent millions of dollars developing cutting-edge materials used in rocket ships and Formula One cars.

These timepieces are produced in limited quantities due to the extensive skill, precision, and artistry required when crafting a Swiss watch. Patek Philippe watches, for example, can take years to produce. The movement of a watch is what allows the timepiece to function. These are composed of hundreds of tiny components that must all fit and function flawlessly in unison. Watchmakers can spend years designing and building intricate movements with multiple complications.

Swiss watches can last for generations due to expert watchmakers and high-quality components. As the iconic ad for Patek Philippe proudly proclaims, “You never actually own a Patek Philippe.” You simply look after it for the next generation.”

3. Quality

The phrase “Swiss made” is synonymous with luxury and high quality. The Swiss watchmaking industry has established high quality standards, and their watchmakers work hard to maintain this prestigious reputation. According to Georges Kern, CEO of Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen, “the Swiss have that image of producing quality at the highest level, just as the Germans have that image of producing the best cars in the world.”

As a result, when purchasing a Swiss watch, you can shop with confidence, knowing that you’ll be getting a high-quality, dependable timepiece that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.

4. Luxury

Swiss watches are associated with not only luxury, sophistication, and power, but also with status. People are willing to pay a premium for these watches due to their exclusivity and prestige. A-list actors, world-class athletes, singers, and models are among the brand ambassadors of many luxury Swiss watch manufacturers. Swiss watches have become the epitome of luxury in the accessory world, worn by everyone from James Bond to US Presidents.

5. Valuable Investments

A quick look at the market will reveal that luxury watches retain their value far better than mass-produced or smartwatches. Mass-produced watches only last as long as their battery life, and smartwatches can quickly become out-of-date once the new technology is introduced, resulting in a negligible resale value. Luxury timepieces, on the other hand, fare far better on the secondary market due to their illustrious reputation, meticulous craftsmanship, and longevity. In the world of luxury watches, certain brands excel at retaining the value of their timepieces, such as Rolex and Patek Phillipe, whose expertly crafted watches are in high demand and have short production lines.

6. Time

When you purchase a luxury watch, you are paying for an intense amount of time and effort that went into manufacturing that watch. That may appear to be a corny remark, but it is true. The value of labor – a lot of expert labor – should be included in the price of high-end watches. What truly distinguishes mainstream from luxury timepieces is not only the materials used but also how they are constructed. The best high-end watches have hand-assembled and decorated movements that take a long time to complete. This is what you are paying for in terms of tradition and status. Anyone can purchase a timepiece with a mass-produced movement inside. The longer it takes to create a movement, the more valuable it is likely to be.

7. Exclusivity

A Swiss-made watch is not simply made with a longer amount of time. They exemplify exclusivity, heightening feelings of luxury and prestige. What you pay for is not only the production time and materials but also the fact that only 5,000 people out of a global population of 7 billion will wear the same wristwatch.


We discussed several reasons about Why Swiss Watches Are So Expensive? which included their history, build quality, brand name, etc.

All things considered, we think that swiss watches are expensive as they should be, due to their quality of materials, the time it takes to manufacture a single unit and most importantly the exclusivity they provide.

AK Iqbal

A University of London’ student with a passion for writing. Clocks have always intrigued me and the importance that they have in our lives is way beyond phenomenal. So, on this site, I write everything about clocks, everything from answering any clock-related queries that you might have along with recommending some of my favorite clocks accordingly. Moreover, I will also be conducting some researches on clock related topics and sharing the things that I learn. So stay tuned to ohmyclock for all the fun clocks related content

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