Watches have dominated the fashion world since the 19th century. Whether we use them to tell time or as a fashion accessory everyone loves a good watch. With the advent of smartphones, the majority of people rely on watches as a timekeeper, less and less. Today watches are used far more as a fashion accessory. The other role of watches that continues to grow is as a health and fitness tracker. Specific sports rely on advanced watches while the average health seeker also uses them as a fitness device to track steps, heart rate, or calories burned. This means that despite the changing role of technology watches still have a place in society and will for a very long time.
A key question we have been asked in the past is “What country produces the best watches?”. If you are looking to purchase a new watch should you look at the spec, the brand, or the country of origin? In reality, you should look at all of these factors and more but today let’s focus on the country of origin. While watches are purchased and made all over the world there are two countries that stand out as the leaders in watch manufacturing. They are Switzerland and Japan.
Switzerland is regarded as the home of wristwatches. In fact, Patek Phillipe invented the first wristwatch in 1868 and gifted it to a Hungarian countess. Since then the Swiss have been dominating the game. The reason why they are so good is that they have a history, a tradition, and a passion for watchmaking. While you may get a job in a watch factory in any country, in Switzerland it is a skill that is passed on from generation to generation and regarded highly in society. The Swiss people are generally considered very punctual, polite, and straight-edged. This persona matches that required to not only produce great watches but to care about their precision.
Many of the most famous watch brands in the world come from Switzerland including Omega, Hublot, Swatch, Tag Heuer, Zenith, and many more. Even Rolex which was created in London quickly moved to Switzerland to be at the center of watch magnificence. These brands offer luxury and quality to the highest degree. If you want a watch that will always keep you on time – buy a Swiss one.
Japan is a great rival of the Swiss for the number one spot in the watch world. In fact, there was a period in the 1970s and 1980s when a new Japanese quartz invention took the world by storm and gave the Japanese the advantage in the watch department. They took a massive bite out of the Swiss market share and the Swiss companies have been slowly pulling it back since then. The Japnese are known for technological innovations and it is no different in the watch world.
This means that they usually don’t compete in the luxury market although there are a number of brands like Seiko that are starting to make a massive dent in that market. The key market for Japan is in the area of technology and digital watches. Companies like Casio and Orient are well known Japanese brands that try to stay ahead of the game by producing watches using the latest technological advances. If you want a fashionable, affordable watch that can go underwater and perform well – choose a Japanese brand.
These two countries dominate the watch market. While smartwatches are being produced by many American and Chinese companies they have not overtaken the market yet. The Swiss and Japanese brands will be concerned about the growth of these outside brands but they are always firmly fixated on enemy number one. Purchasing a classic watch from Japan or Switzerland will leave you with a fine timepiece to be proud of.