For many years, the Swiss have dominated the world watch production market. Today, however, there is a rise in the range of Japanese watchmakers. WatchPCI offers you to clarify the question on this “match” watchmaker.
The best watch movements in general
It is difficult to designate the best watch movement. Indeed, it ultimately depends on what everyone is looking for. For some people, the precision, for others the complications, the duration in time or even the aesthetics of the mechanism. It is rare for a movement to meet all these criteria.
One of the main things to know is that those with the same functions and mass produced by different companies are technically very similar and will require the same level of performance.
For less important productions concerning particular models, one will have in this case generally movements much more expensive. Indeed, since the producer does not make much profit on the volume, he must then recover his investment on a limited number of articles produced.
In general, it is the simpler, more durable and larger production movements that are considered the best. It also happens that the same movements are available in different qualities, such as the famous Swiss movement ETA Valjoux 7750 which sees its price increase depending on the used parts and aesthetic finishes.
The Swiss movements
They are world famous for their high reliability, precision, shock resistance and water resistance. They are also the most expensive (a Swiss movement costs twice the price of a Japanese movement).
For example, the Swiss ETA movements produced by the Swatch Group are particularly durable, extremely precise and their difficult quality is to be matched. ETA produces a huge volume of movements every year, among the best mechanical movements produced in series. The majority of luxury watches are also equipped.
To a greater extent, these same qualities apply to Rolex movements, which are known to be accurate, reliable and easy to maintain.
From the start, Seiko, who reigns supreme today in the world of Japanese watchmaking, has made it possible to combine Swiss quality and American productivity by putting the priority on the volume. The Japanese giant has developed the quartz technology, while developing suitable production lines. It allows to offer quality watches at affordable prices.
Seiko produces a low-end automatic watch in a high-end timepiece equipped with high-performance movement, while going through mid-range models. The other two best-known Japanese manufacturers are Citizen and Casio.
The best-known Japanese movement, called Miyota (Citizen), is renowned for being particularly reliable and robust, also offering excellent value for money. If we compare, the Japanese movement is cheaper than the Swiss but very reliable, more expensive than Chinese but of much better quality.
Japanese movements are cheaper because of their production philosophy. For the most part, if you compare a mass produced ETA with a Miyota, ETA will have a higher level of performance and more attractive parts. But, of course, it will be much more expensive. Japanese movements are happening much more efficiently, and some of them are really close to Swiss performances (reliability, accuracy), even if they are not so pretty.
Japanese movements are often produced outside of Japan where labor is cheaper, while the “Swiss Made” designation requires a Swiss workforce and the price of it. These are some of the reasons why Japanese movements tend to be cheaper.
The latter also tend to be more and more refined and precise while the debate on the “ Swiss Made ” continues to rage (products labeled “ Swiss Made “) but manufactured in China).