Two years ago Swatch Group announced that the division responsible for the watch movements, ETA, was no longer going to sell watch movements to watch makers who are not within the Swatch Group brands in 2010. As 2009 quickly fades behind us, this dramatic news gets ready to be enforced.
ETA is the largest and most popular watch movement maker in Switzerland, and it supplies its product to most Swiss watch brands, and many other brands that uses Swiss movements. Chairman of Swatch Group, Nicolas Hayek, has just reaffirmed his position that ETA will “cease providing movements to competitors.” The decision has shaken up many in the watch community, and ETA has even been under investigation by Swiss government authorities to explore whether this move is illegal and anti-monopolistic.
With this change coming into effect, it’s anyone guess as to where watch brands will go now to get their movements. It could create chaos for the wide range of brands that rely on ETA to offer “Swiss Made” watches. On the other hand, it is a prime time for competitors to come in and provide watch movements to those who can no longer get a hold of ETA’s product. It’s possible that the Japanese, who have been making quality movements for years, may be getting an incredible boost in business from Swatch Group’s actions.
The exact date in 2010 that ETA will cease or begin to stop selling watch movements to outside Swatch Group brands remains unknown, but what is known is that it’s coming; it’s only a matter of time.