The Swiss watch industry fear of Seiko

Posted by Harry Bishop on Jun 25th, 2013
Jun 25

From Watches by SJX … Organised by the great and the good of Swiss watchmaking, including the Neuchâtel cantonal government, COSC and the Besançon Observatory, the biennial Concours International de Chronométrie, or International Chronometry Competition, professed a noble aim. It wanted to continue the tradition of the chronometer contests of the 19th and 20th century, not just for movements, but for finished watches destined for the purchase by consumers.

… But amongst the rules of the contest, one governing the provenance of the timepiece stands out. It reads: “All parts used to build the movement must be made within Europe.”

Seiko astronomical observatory chronometer 45GS (13)
Image from blog Watches by SJX

By the late sixties Seiko dominated Swiss observatory chronometry trials, just before the contests were cancelled for good. From 1968 to 1970, 226 watches were certified by the Neuchâtel observatory and sold to the public as Astronomical Observatory Chronometers, making them amongst the rarest and most desirable Seiko timepieces ever.

2 Responses

  1. Mark Sanders Says:

    Hi Harry,
    I had to laugh, firstly at your article title, and then the quote “All parts used to build the movement must be made within Europe.”
    I think that you’re absolutely on the mark with this observation.
    I’m sure the Swiss know, that this time around, it wouldn’t take Seiko 3 or 4 years to get ‘up to speed’ for competition….they’d wipe the floor with them from the word go! :)
    All the best with the Seikos.

  2. Paul Anders Says:

    Hi Harry…concerning the battle between the Swiss Watch industry and Seiko, do you think there is a possibility that somebody in the large Swiss watch industry has destroyed GMTplus9? This web cite was quite outstanding, discussing the various Seikos in such an intelligent and beautiful way. I am sure that GMTplus9 was drawing a larger and larger crowd to Seikos.
    Thank you for publishing your site.
    I get a lot of pleasure reading your articles. Paul

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