Are Swiss Watches Cheaper in Switzerland? (Watch Shopping Tips)

Swiss watches have been a staple of the high-end timepiece trade for many years and a variety of the premium watches are Swiss-Made. 

In reality, the time period Swiss-Made happened within the late 1800s and differed from the naming conventions of different nations that might write ‘Made in X’ versus ‘X-Made’. 

In this text, we can be taking a look at Swiss watches, the components that have an effect on their costs, and if it really works out cheaper to purchase a Swiss watch in Switzerland.

What Defines a Swiss-Made Watch?

To perceive the subject and appropriately reply the query we want a base thought of the watches we’re coping with. This is just not a gimmick however actually, a seal of approval and a global mark of high quality that’s acknowledged by the entire trade.

With this in thoughts, we’re going to have a look at what defines a Swiss-Made watch versus a Swiss-Movement watch.

Swiss-Made Watch – based on legislation the watch wants to fulfill three standards:

  1. The watch’s motion is Swiss
  2. It is cased up in Switzerland
  3. The remaining inspection by the watchmaker is carried out in Switzerland

These standards all have to be current for a watch to be legally known as a Swiss-Made Watch by Switzerland officers. However, the precise components of the watch can come from completely different locations akin to China, Thailand, and others.

Swiss Watch Movement – a watch’s motion is outlined as Swiss if it meets the under standards:

  1. It has been assembled in Switzerland 
  2. The producer has inspected the motion in Switzerland 
  3. The Swiss-Made components make up 60% of the entire worth of the timepiece (minus the price of meeting) – this was raised from 50% in 2017

Now we all know the fundamentals and what defines two of the essential phrases you’ll hear, allow us to have a look at a couple of extra incessantly requested questions round Swiss watches. 

Where Can You Buy a Swiss Watch in Switzerland?

Lucerne, Switzerland

There are all kinds of watch outlets in Switzerland,  amounting to over 250 native areas with a minimum of one watch store, you’ll not wrestle to discover a retailer. 

With this being mentioned, it will depend on what sort of watch you might be particularly in search of. There are a variety of completely different manufacturers and producers inside the Swiss-Made universe. 

For one of the best luxurious watches, most individuals head to Zurich or Geneva, however regardless of what you would possibly assume these aren’t all the time one of the best locations to seek out what you might be in search of. 

In reality, cities akin to St. Gallen, Lucerne, and Basel have many extra manufacturers per retailer and have richer histories of watchmaking. Le Locle close to La Chaux-de-Fonds is barely massive sufficient to be known as a metropolis (in Switzerland cities should be 10,000 inhabitants) but it surely is without doubt one of the most essential “watch cities” of Switzerland.  Several famend manufacturers, together with Tissot and Zenith, had been based there and additionally it is house to The Watch Museum of Le Locle (Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle).

So if you’re in search of extra selection, head to the smaller cities, however in case you have a sure model in thoughts then visiting Geneva or Zurich may show a greater location on your watch hunt. 

If you might be in Geneva head to Rue du Rhône the place it is possible for you to to seek out all the luxurious watch manufacturers in a single place.

Is There a Limit on How Many Swiss Watches You Can Buy?

This is a reasonably arduous query to reply briefly, however there isn’t any actual strict restrict on the gross sales. 

However, you’ll have to contend together with your nation’s customs, taxes, and a bunch of various components if you’re shopping for a big quantity of watches.

For the typical purchaser, this is not going to be a difficulty and you’ll most likely solely be shopping for one or possibly two timepieces.

Factors Affecting Swiss Watch Prices

Most folks assume that going to the supply of one thing would naturally imply the worth is decrease, however this isn’t all the time the case. 

As with something, there are all the time prices that you could think about and perceive when trying to purchase one thing domestically made. This is much more prevalent when coping with a luxurious merchandise in one in all Europe’s richest and costliest nations. 

Every purchaser could have their very own set of things that may change the general worth of their watch, however we are going to cowl a number of the key ones that may be utilized to most individuals.


Geneva, Switzerland.

Understanding how the Value Added Tax (VAT) impacts your buy in Switzerland is extremely essential to determine the worth you’ll pay on your watch.

VAT in Switzerland is a normal fee of seven.7%, nevertheless, if you’re a non-resident and over the age of 18, you may declare a refund on any purchases over the worth of 300 Swiss Francs (Approx $350 USD).

So in case you have paid over 300 Swiss Francs and have your receipt you’ll be able to declare again the VAT in your product, on the caveat that it’s exported from the nation inside 30 days.

To put this into context, allow us to say your watch involves 10,000 Swiss Francs you’re going to get round 770 again ($850 USD).

VAT charges differ massively in several nations so that is definitely an element that it’s best to take into account, particularly when nations like Switzerland have the vacationer VAT scheme. 

Scandinavia for example is understood for its 25% VAT, regardless of this, they’re typically fashionable for watches too.

Exchange Rates

This is an element that may drastically have an effect on the worth you find yourself paying. 

Despite what lots of people assume, Switzerland doesn’t use the Euro and isn’t a part of the European Union, as an alternative, they function as a single market.

So, you could choose a time the place your private home forex is performing properly in opposition to the Swiss Franc. They are much more self-reliant, however due to this, the Franc fluctuates much more than a multi-country forex, such because the Euro.

Picking a time to get your watch when the Franc is performing properly is a sure-fire option to spend more cash in your watch when shopping for it in Switzerland.

Customs & Duty Tax

Having to cope with customs officers generally is a difficult scenario, and in some nations, you may face massive penalties and fines if you’re not forthcoming with details about your purchases.

The rule of thumb is to all the time declare your international purchases particularly if they’re high-ticket gadgets akin to watches or jewellery.

Each nation has its personal guidelines on declaration. Often when you’re returning house many nations will wish to know what you’ve gotten purchased and the precise worth of these gadgets. This consists of airport purchases and even items in most cases.

Lots of people make the error that by shopping for gadgets overseas they keep away from having to pay any customs, when actually that isn’t the case. Customs obligation is commonly payable upon re-entry to your private home nation

Customs officers are educated to identify and spot latest purchases so don’t assume you’re going to get away with it. You will simply trigger your self extra bother and value down the road.

Cost of a Trip

As easy an element as this may increasingly appear, it’s an extremely essential one. People are inclined to neglect once they plan a visit to Switzerland to get a watch that it’s best to embody the quantity of the flight in your remaining buy value.

Although it’s unlikely you’ll simply go to a watch store and switch round and fly house, even when you did that might be a worth related. 

Most folks nevertheless will tie it into a visit, and if you’re together with your resort prices, meals, and transportation, then you might be spending much more on a watch.

This level could possibly be debated, however as we’re speaking watch value, then these are definitely gravitational components that might not directly increase the price of your new Swiss timepiece.

Other Factors to Consider

Some extra components that you could be wish to take into consideration are as follows:

  • Brand of Watch – some worth match throughout all markets and a few differ from nation to nation, relying on a variety of things.
  • Limited Editions – for sure, if a watch is a restricted version or particular piece then the worth can be considerably increased, no matter the place you get it.
  • Legality – every nation has its personal algorithm and border restrictions, so watch out and all the time analysis earlier than importing or exporting watches.
  • World Economy – relying on the circumstances it could be cheaper or costlier to purchase a watch, so be aware of what is occurring globally.
  • Value Retention – Some watch manufacturers maintain their worth higher over time than others.

Are Watches Cheaper In Switzerland? A Summary

As we’ve seen, there’s a entire vary of things that have an effect on the costs of your potential Swiss timepieces. 

Understanding the variables that may have an effect on your spending and total prices is extremely essential to purchasing a Swiss watch in Switzerland.

The oversimplification is that in case you have accomplished your analysis and choose the proper fashions, it is possible for you to to get a greater deal in your Swiss watch when you purchase it in Switzerland. But you would simply pay extra if you don’t time your journey appropriately, or alternate charges are in a state of flux.

Making a luxurious watch buy is just not one thing that needs to be accomplished evenly and understanding the varied circumstances and components will mean you can make one of the best shopping for determination for you.

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