TAG eyes Seiko after losing Swatch movements

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The move by Swatch Group to curtail supplies of its manufactured movements to other Swiss watch brands has caused several to look at alternatives, the latest being TAG Heuer which has announced plans to switch to Japanese movements made by Seiko.

TAG has said that the move will not let the Japanese-made movements damage is Swiss-made appeal as it is a member of the Swiss Chronometry Society.

Due to Swatch pulling back supplies from the wider industry, many brands have had to look elsewhere or establish in-house movements, a process that is both time consuming and expensive.

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TAG Heure’s chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin told Reuters this week: "We are the first company to announce in a transparent way that we are going to fit our movements with parts from Seiko, which are known as among the best.

"The Swiss brand guarantees quality and reliability but not necessarily the fact that 100% of the components come from Switzerland.”

Babin explained that the industry is not as fussy, however, when it comes to importing dials and cases.

The brand is now expected to use Seiko components in its Calibre 1887 mechanical chronograph.

Looking ahead, the changes in regulations to the Hallmark of Geneva (Poincon de Geneve) will tighten how ‘Swiss’ a timepiece is, moving beyond simply having an excellent Swiss-made movement and being produced entirely in Geneva to now focus on how well its complications function.

In terms of sales in 2012, TAG Heuer has forecasted sales of CHF 1 billion (£631 million). It also have plans to build a new production site to create a further 100 jobs. Swatch, in comparison, says it created 2,800 in 2011, covering its stable of brands such as Omega, Longines, Tissot and Breguet.

 

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