Mechanical watchmaking rises in Japan

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Mechanical watchmaking rises in Japan

Post by koimaster » December 13th 2020, 3:50am

For that segment of watchmaking associated with values and tradition, there is a tendency not to see beyond the valleys of Switzerland. This, however, would be to overlook the fact that time measurement is not the preserve of a handful of purists gazing out across the Alpine mountains, and that other countries in the world have something worthwhile to offer. Japan is a case in point, as the development of its watch industry shows. Long considered the axis of evil, after quartz technology drained Swiss makers of their lifeblood in the 1970s, this island nation has since confirmed its major player status, producing around 70 million finished watches a year (compared to 25 million in Switzerland), 85% of which are exported.

It’s a position the country is intent on defending using other weapons than its well-known expertise in electronic watches, hence moves to steadily strengthen footing in the mechanical market. After all, for ten years circa 2000 to 2010, Swiss watchmakers were able to bask in the glow of a return to favour of mechanical timepieces. Pierre-Yves Donzé, professor of business history at Osaka University, sees this more as a response to stronger competition in the mid-range segment. He quotes fashion watches produced under licence for the likes of Diesel, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas or Hugo Boss. Sold cheap, and popular among young buyers, these products simply didn’t exist in the 1980s. Now they are taking market share from Japanese brands. ... -in-japan/


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