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Does Anyone Know what the Japanese Equivalent of "Swiss Made" is?

2065 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  kmcnyc
threads like this one come up pretty frequently:

in these kinds of threads often folks argue about watches that carry the Made in Japan designation as being evidence that the watch met the legal requirements to be identified as having been manufactured in Japan. while I understand that different countries have different labeling laws and that watch companies often label watches differently depending on the intended market, can someone confirm that "made in Japan" is an actual Japanese designation for watches?

The reason I ask is because I have always understood the Japanese designation that identifies watches of Japanese manufacture, that is similar to the Swiss Made mark carried by swiss watches, is not "Made in Japan", but Rather just "Japan". As i understand it when the watch is not fully manufactured in Japan it can carry identifiers of components (such as "Movt. Japan" for when only the movement is manufactured in Japan). What I have never seen proven is that "Made in Japan" is a required Japanese designation or what the content threshold (if any) for that designation is.

Can anyone please chime in with what you know of these origin markings and maybe point to some legal code that might explain it?
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There was a post by an individual familar with Japanese import regulations who stated that a watch manufactured outside of Japan, but in a Japanese owned factory functioning with Japanese quality standards could be labeled "Made in Japan". I quoted the main post below along with a link to the entire thread as there is some other interesting reads in there as there is a peppering with biased opinion.

.......Orient is infrequently mentioned in the trade press here, and only sold through discounters, at least in Tokyo. To the best of my knowledge, Orient is all manufactured offshore. I've heard Manus, Brazil mentioned and no doubt there is considerable manufacturing in Asia too. In terms of cost, it's just not fiesable to manufacture a watch this economically in Japan. Casio is unquestionably all manufactured off shore.

Here is something that will come as a shock. I have represented some of the finest Swiss brand names in Japan. This places me in frequent contact with Customs and makes me quite knowledgeable about Japanese tariffs and country of origin branding laws. According to Japanese law, a watch which is manufactured overseas in a Japanese owned (or contracted) factory to Japanese quality control standards under Japanese supervision by a Japanese owned firm may be labeled "Made in Japan".

This is why Japan, with a population of 120 million imports about 90 million watches a year, not because Japanese buy a new watch every year. They're for re export .Statistics show that the average person buys a new watch somewhere around every five to seven years. Given this figure, Japan's internal watch demand would be somewhere between 17 to 24 million watches a year. Swiss watches represent only about 2 million pieces of the approximately 90 million pieces imported yearly. Chinese exports are around or even below this same figure. The rest of the approximately 85 million pieces imported are for re export. They are made by Japanese companies overseas, and Japanese law allows them to be branded "made in Japan". this is entrepot trade.

Lest this seems too surprising, a number of companies in France, Germany and Italy also have the right to label their watches "Made in Switzerland" under certain circumstances, and I believe that under some circumstances, watches made in the US Virgin islands and that re enter Europe (The US Virgin islands have a customs union with Denmark, hence with the EEC) may also be labeled "Swiss made".

Japanese price levels for everything, be it the price of housing, food, moveis or wrist watches are Swiss levels. In Switzerland (and the USA too, for that matter) it's just not possible economically to mass produce inexpensive wrist watches. There are some special exceptions, such as Swatch, but it essentially has no competitors in Switzerland. Japan is in the same situation. The price of everything here makes the production of inexpensive mechanical watches prohibitive, and such production as there is remains limited to highly exclusive, quite pricey prestige pieces that are well beyond most people's pocket books--just like most Swiss watches.

This makes sense to me for most models. It makes no practical sense for Seiko and Casio to have duplicate in Japan and another elsewhere...both making the exact same entry level model.

But I do recognize that this is based on a single person's opinion. I would be curious to know if there is any information to validate this.
another question in the same vein: is there a different marking ie "made in japan" vs "japan made (i used this term just as an example)" to differentiate between the use of the different lume materials for different periods?

for some swiss watches, "swiss" designated the used of radium, "swiss - T<25" or it's closely worded counterpart designated the use of tritium (and for a short time a transitional luminova dial) and "swiss made" denotes the use of luminova.

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Having worked in the television business for years sometimes its about country of origin.
The country of origin of the goods imported is a big deal to some countries.

For a long time Sony studio equipment was made in Japan, and for years Sony offered an identical brand of cameras, switchers, tape machines,
Identical to the Japan made Sony, made in other countries, branded BTS.
This BTS brand was intended for sale to countries, that would not purchase or import or are having trade embargo's on Japan.

Naturally some countries can offer quality labor at a discounted price.
But I think it has more to do with trade restrictions or trade politics.
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