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The watch industry is a rather strange one to work in. Allow me to take a moment to outline what is/has been going on for the past 15 years:
Ball's customized 2824 can be found in watches that go upwards of $2000 USD. Photo credit: watchbase.com
Ball's customized 2824 can be found in watches that go upwards of $2000 USD.
Photo credit: watchbase.com
There is a huge corporation, Swatch, that essentially had a monopoly on the Swiss automatic movement market through their subsidiary movement manufacturer, ETA. They sold/sell to huge brands such as IWC, Breitling, TAG Heuer, and Longines, as well as relatively tiny brands such as Squale, Christopher Ward, and Steinhart, the latter two of which only started after 2002, a very important year in this narrative.
In 2002, the late Nicolas Hayek, then chairman of the Swatch Group announced that ETA would stop supplying movements to watch companies outside of the Swatch Group. This led to complaints from competitors, claiming that such a move would put them out of business, which in turn, led to an investigation by the Swiss Competition Commission in 2003. In 2005, ETA was ordered to continue supplying movements until 2008, at which point they were allowed to gradually reduce their deliveries over two years. This timeframe has since been extended to 2019, by which point, ETA would be allowed to reduce supplies by 70%. Likewise, Nivarox (more on them later) will be allowed to reduce their supply by 70% by the year 2023. This means that at that price point (~$250USD) ETA’s product was so good that their attempt to stimulate innovation and encourage competition would essentially backfire, driving all their competitors to bankruptcy.
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