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Why are Swiss Watches So Expensive? – Updated Guide 2023

Many people who are new to watches are asking why are Swiss-made watches are so expensive, and in this 2023 guide we answer all your questions and more.

Swiss watches are known for their brilliant and luxurious design.

And because these watches are the very definition of luxury, it’s easy to understand why they are so popular and desired by many watch aficionados.

Top Swiss watches like the Rolex, Patek Phillipe and IWC are known for their sheer brilliance, premium quality and superb functionality.

What we love about Swiss watches is their intricately designed components.

And yes, this is the reason why they are the most expensive timepieces you’ll ever come across.

Besides their incredible components, exciting functionalities, and more, Swiss watches also have a diverse innovation history that resonates with lovers of luxury timepieces.

And just so you know, Swiss watches feature some of the most complex movements in the watch industry.

Thanks to advancements in watchmaking, these distinct aspects of Swiss watches have been further refined and improved, pitching Swiss timepieces amongst the best luxury watches out there.

In today’s post, you’ll learn everything there is to know about Swiss watches and why they are so expensive.

What it means to have a Swiss Watch

The tag Swiss-made was officially adopted in the late 19th century to describe pristine watches that met the rigorous Swiss watchmaking standards of the day.

That said, those standards were changed in January 2017 to ensure that watches that wear the Swiss tag meet the high expectations of the luxury watch community.

Even though watches produced until the end of 2017 were still allowed to carry the Swiss-made tag, the standard was tightened a bit to prevent brands at the lower ends from exploiting the loopholes in the old criteria.

So before 2017, watches must meet the following standards before they can wear the Swiss-made tag:

  • For a watch to carry the Swiss-made label, at least 50% of its movement and components must be Swiss.
  • The watch must have its movement cased in Switzerland
  • The watch must be fully inspected in Switzerland

But as we mentioned, the standard was tightened in 2017 to prevent lower brands from exploiting the loopholes in the old standard.

With the new standard, watches must meet the following criteria to carry the Swiss-made tag.

Everything you need to know about Rolex Diver Watches

  • The watch must have 60% of its production cost in Switzerland
  • 50% of the watch’s movement and components must be Swiss
  • For a watch to carry the Swiss tag, 60% of the movement production has to be in Switzerland.
  • All technical development of the timepiece, along with its movement, must be done in Switzerland.

A brief history of Swiss watches

Swiss watchmaking took shape after clockmakers in the seventeenth century began exploring with small mechanical movements.

The early eighteenth century saw innovation and craftsmanship taken to a whole new level.

Top brands like Patek Phillipe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin were among the first luxury brands to embody the Swiss watchmaking tradition.

Right from the get-go, these brands craved perfection and went all out to build watches that were almost perfect.

By leveraging delicate craftsmanship, beefing up their mechanics and taking advantage of the many innovations in the watch industry, Swiss luxury watchmakers were able to build watches with self-winding movements and date complications.

Despite the insane popularity of quartz watches that swept the watch industry in the 1960s, Swiss watches were able to shrug off the competition posed by cheaper quartz watches and remained relevant to this day.

Today, Swiss watches are still very much in vogue and loved by the luxury watch community.

Why are Swiss watch brands so expensive?

Even though the exquisite craftsmanship and impeccable components fitted in Swiss watches are largely responsible for the high prices of these watches, other components also add to the steep prices of Swiss watches.

Here, take a look at some of them:

  • Brilliant movements: When it comes to movements, Swiss watchmakers have taken things to a whole new level as they are constantly working on designing innovative and top-notch movements. And because some of these movements take years to refine and perfect, it’s easy to understand why a Swiss watch costs as much as it does. More so, these movements are built and assembled by hands.
  • Extended production time: Most top Swiss luxury watches take many months to build. Because of the slow production time coupled with high market demand, it’s easy to see why luxury watches are priced super high. For instance, a Patek Phillipe Grand complication takes almost six years to produce.
  • Premium quality component: Swiss watches are made using only the best materials. This explains why Swiss watches are insanely accurate and durable. Some high-end Swiss luxury watches even come in gold and diamonds.
  • Luxury appeal and image: By virtue of their design and pristine look, Swiss watches come with a feeling of luxury that appeals to the luxury watch community. Despite their steep pricing, luxury watch enthusiasts aren’t deterred and will go all out for a Swiss watch that ticks all their boxes.

Frequently asked questions

Are Swiss watches worth it?

Given the insane price of these watches, you’ll expect them to deliver exactly as promised.

And guess what, they don’t disappoint.

Featuring top-notch components together with outstanding time-telling accuracy, Swiss watches are worth every penny spent purchasing them.

And just so you know, Swiss watches aren’t built for everyone as they are only tailored for those who can afford them.

What is so special about Swiss watches?

Swiss watches are not only popular because of their steep pricing.

Oh yes, these watches are also celebrated for their impeccable precision and unrivalled pedigree.

And because Swiss watches are synonymous with luxury and style, we see watch enthusiasts go all out to add these watches to their collection.

What makes Swiss watches better?

What makes Swiss watches better than other regular watches out there is the quality and standard of their mechanism.

To start with, Swiss-made watches use metal gears.

Not just that, these watches are made by hand and can be serviced.

Plus, only quality materials are used to make Swiss watches.


Swiss watches have long appealed to the luxury watch community.

And despite their steep pricing, watch enthusiasts don’t mind spending a fortune to add these watches to their collection.

If you’re a fan of luxury watches, you’ll find Swiss-made watches worth giving a try.