It's general knowledge that a Swiss-made luxury watch like a Patek Philippe watch or a Vacheron Consantin is of the highest quality, but many don't know why. Swiss watches are of the highest quality due to the stringent regulations put in place by the Geneva Seal, a quality seal placed on a luxury watch made in Geneva that can only be applied when watches are constructed with the requirements set forth by the statue.
If you are unfamiliar with the Geneva Seal, here are some facts to help shed some light on the subject. The Geneva seal is considered a high-accolade in the watch-making industry and has been in place since 1886. There are two pieces of legislation concerning the Geneva Seal. The first is the law on the voluntary inspection of watches from Geneva, and the second is the regulations of the voluntary inspection of watches from Geneva. These set the criteria for the award of the seal.
For a luxury watch to be considered for the Geneva Seal it must meet strict requirements. The technical requirements are just on area of the submission requirements that must be met. Here is a list of the technical requirements that makes a luxury watch entitled to the Geneva Seal of quality.
1) The good workmanship of all the parts of the caliber must be in conformity with the requirements of the office of voluntary inspection of the watches from Geneva. The steel parts on the luxury watch must have polished angles and their visible surfaces smoothed down. Screw heads must be polished, with their slots and rims chamfered.
2) The entire movement must set using ruby jewels placed in polished holes, including the going train and escape wheel. On the bridge side, the jewels must be olive-drilled with polished sinks.
3) The hairspring must be pinned in a grooved plate with a stud having a rounded collar and cap. Mobile studs are also approved for use.
4) Split or fitted indexes are required with a holding system except in extra-thin calibers where the holding system is not a necessity.
5) Regulating systems with balance with radius of variable gyration are allowed as long as they meet the conditions of article 3, subparagraph 1.
6) The wheels of the going train must be chamfered above and below and have a polished sink. In wheels 0.15 mm thick or smaller.
7) In wheel assemblies, the pivot shanks and the faces of the pinion leaves must be polished.
8) The escape wheel has to be lightweight. It can't be more than 0.16 mm thick in large calibers and 0.13 mm in calibers under 18 mm. Also, its locking-faces must be polished.
9) The angle traversed by the pallet lever is to be limited by fixed banking walls and not pins or studs.
10) 10 shock protected movements are allowed under the seal requirements.
11) Wire springs are not permitted for use.
As if these intense and intricate guidelines weren't strict enough, there are dozens more requirements in terms of inspection and testing that the watch maker must submit to before being granted the Geneva Seal. So the next time someone asks why a luxury watch like a Patek Philippe watch is considered the best, be sure to fill them in the Geneva Seal.
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