The Swiss watch industry has been in existence for several centuries and brands coming from Switzerland have built their legendary reputation on the production of beautiful, accurate and reliable watches all this while. For many, owning a Swiss watch is all about owning a piece of mechanical art that has a certain sense of prestige attached to it.
That said, there are definitely other watch industries that exist from various regions of the world. These cultures have also been involved in the creation and production of timepieces at least since the 19th century (and some coming from even further back in history). The Germans, with their Teutonic style of designs for their watches, are famous for their watchmaking region of Glashütte. The Japanese have been making fine watches since the late 1800s and are well known for their very own designs and technical achievements separate from their European counterparts.
(Photo: Sturmanskie Gagarin watch. The original watch of this brand was the first watch to work in space back in 1961)
The Russians also have a great history of fine watchmaking. Many of them have histories and legacies that are closely linked with the Swiss watchmaking industry even before the Communist era. However, what makes it interesting is that during the times when the borders of Russia were somewhat closed to the West, the Russians had to create their own movements or replicate Swiss watch movements in order to power their watches.
The regions in which the production of watches thrive are normally installed with an infrastructure that wholly supports this industry. In such regions, it is common to fine makers of watch ébauches, straps, cases, dials and other components necessary to make a watch. Without such an infrastructure, it is exceedingly difficult for a watchmaker to craft and finally assemble a watch with all the necessary parts. With international trade, a watch brand in the modern era, is now able to source for all the needed parts from any watchmaking region in order to bring about their own watches into the market.
Today, the borderless world makes it really difficult to lump certain brands with their countries of origin. Even more so when some watches are made by independent parties and are made available on platforms such as Kickstarter. With all that said, it is essential to boil down your choices and select a watch that has a solid and trustworthy brand reputation, a good service network with great retail support as well as proven reliability.
Ultimately, your choice should lie upon the most important factor of all – you must LIKE it for yourself. You should like the design of the watch and the brand story of the watch should speak to you. The watch should reflect your taste and personality. After all, you will be the one wearing the watch!