By now many of you would be aware that the makers of arguably the best known Swiss watch movements in the world, ETA (owned by the Swatch Group), have advised that they will stop providing ebauche movements (or blanks as they are commonly referred to) to any company outside of The Swatch Group by the end of 2010. The fallout of this decision could potentially be catastrophic for a number of the low to mid-range luxury watch brands who focus predominantly on the design and marketing of their products and rely on ETA made movements to power them.
In anticipation of this many brands have turned to another Swiss movement maker, Sellita. I recently read an excellent article about this manufacturer, specifically focusing on their new chronograph movement, on Perpetuelle’s excellent and always informative blog. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I highly recommend it.
I must admit though that in recent times as I’ve been reading up on all the information about ETA’s plans and manufactures like Sellita stepping up the fill the void and so forth, I can’t help but ask myself “do consumers really care?”
Sellita SW500 Chronograph Movement – Image courtesy of Perpetuelle
It is an undeniable fact that the movement used to power a luxury watch is exceptionally important, especially when the movement is made or at least modified in-house by the manufacturer. However, when it comes to the more mainstream brands who simply make good-looking watches, does it really matter what movement is used, just as long as it is Swiss Made and of a reputable quality? I would suggest that in this price range and in these types of watches, the movement manufacturer is almost interchangeable.
Certainly there is no denying that ETA is a far more globally recongized brand name than Sellita, at least for the time being and my guess is in the short-term we’ll see more than one brand succumb to the pressure and join the Swatch Group, but in the long-run will it really make any difference?
Personally I don’t think so but maybe I’m wrong?
What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this rather topical issue so please do tell us in the comments section below.