The watch factory is obviously a sacred place for all those who love watchmaking. Although it is not appropriate to say this, many people visit the Swiss watch factory as a ‘pilgrimage’. We love watches, focus on quality, explore the mysteries, and enjoy the fun it brings, but where does it all come from? The watch factory obviously allows you to find the most direct answer. However, there are only a few people who really have the opportunity to visit the watch factory, and its mystery makes more people yearn for it.
From the few watch factory witnesses, we have sorted out the parts that are really worth knowing, and show everyone the true face of the watch factory. What needs to be understood is that some of the current watch brands are brands, and some are watch manufacturers. Only brands that truly have the watch (movement) production capacity can be called ‘Manufacture’, and there are a large number on the market The watch brand only has watch design and assembly capabilities, but does not have the ability to develop and produce movements. Therefore, we should consider that the most valuable brands are those ‘Manufacture’.
Rolex-the most mysterious brand (Hodinkee, ABTW, Businessinsider)
Let’s start with Rolex, the brand that everyone is most familiar with, but also the most mysterious. From the watch industry’s thinking cage, Rolex has always been at the forefront of the world’s most valuable companies by major consulting companies. After knowing Rolex Watch Factory, you will no longer just think that Rolex watches are reliable and simple. It is a great company. It just happens to produce watches.
Rolex has four watch factories, three in Geneva and one in Bill. Bill is mainly responsible for the production and assembly of movements. Geneva is responsible for the production, assembly, testing, sales, administrative systems, etc. of watch appearance parts. Rolex’s headquarters is in Geneva. The reason why Rolex’s movement factory is in Bill is that Rolex did not acquire ownership of Aegler, a movement manufacturer that had cooperated for more than half a century until 2004, and Aegler was in Bill. Through the acquisitions and mergers of Rolex over the past few decades, Rolex has been able to produce all watch parts independently, except for sapphire crystal and hands. From metal raw materials to metal that can be used for watch production, then processed into parts, and then assembled, this is an amazing part of Rolex. It has begun to control quality from the source of materials: Rolex 904L steel is The watch factory produces it by itself, and casts it into the case itself. All precious metals from Rolex are produced from pure gold to K gold according to their own ratio and cast into precious metal cases. The Rolex Gemstone Department strictly screens gems from suppliers. International high-end jewelry brand-level jewelry department for processing and setting.
Rolex has many laboratories, which are mainly responsible for improving production processes, research and development of production tools, exploring cutting-edge technology, etc. Rolex’s independent movement lubricants, patented eternal rose gold, patented ceramic technology, etc., all have their own laboratories, and Achieve results. Although more than one Rolex brand has a laboratory, Rolex may be the watchmaking brand with the most laboratories. It can provide Rolex with exclusive cutting-edge research results and be used in watches and watchmaking.
Those who have been to the Rolex Watch Factory are impressed by Rolex’s security system. The warehouse is located underground and can be called the internal security of the most advanced bank security system. Iris scanning is required for electronic access control, and permissions need to be applied in advance. Friends who enter the Rolex Watch Factory are required to be allowed to take photos without exception. When entering the Rolex Movement Factory in Bill, they are not allowed to bring in mobile phones and other equipment that can be used for shooting and recording. This is definitely the strictest visiting procedure.
Of course, another thing that impresses everyone is Rolex’s automated system, which can fully assist employees in internal scheduling. When employees place orders in the internal system, the robot will deliver parts from the warehouse to the staff in 6-8 minutes. This is a very efficient automated management model. Rolex’s modern production also includes robotic arms and other equipment commonly found in high-tech companies. It has been said that Rolex has the most advanced watchmaking technology and equipment, which is not an exaggeration, because Rolex can independently produce the most precise parts of mechanical watches: hairspring, escapement, balance wheel, new gears and so on. Even so, Rolex still has a very large part, which is done by hand, such as dial assembly, movement assembly, case and bracelet assembly and polishing, scale polishing and so on.
In mid-2015, Rolex started the top observatory certification. It also happened that in early 2015, a group of media had the honor to enter the Rolex Watch Factory, but they did not visit how Rolex internally tested the top observatory certification. Throughout the Rolex watch factory, there are many points that can be refined. Their innovation, pragmatism and strict control of details, almost masochistic watch inspection procedures. It is no wonder that courses in many fields will take Rolex as a case. Explain some theories, from manufacturing to marketing to brand management to internal control.
Omega-the latest technology to enhance brand strength
Omega Villeret Watch Factory
Compared with Rolex, the scale of Omega Watch Factory is not large, but compared to other watch factories, it is undoubtedly of considerable scale, because the annual output of Omega is close to Rolex, reaching about 600,000-700,000 pieces. Omega mainly has two watch factories, one in Villeret and one in Bienne. The watch factory in Bienne only officially entered into operation in November 2017. It is a completely modern watch factory. As it has just been completed and used, no media have yet been accepted. You are invited to visit the interior of the watch factory. The previous visits are all Villeret watch factories. Unlike Rolex, Omega belongs to the Swatch Group, and does not operate independently like Rolex, so it actually shares a large part of its resources with the Group while maintaining a certain degree of independence.
Omega Craft Wall
The Villeret watch factory is currently responsible for the production and assembly of the original batch of movements such as the 8500. The newly completed watch factory is responsible for the production and assembly of new-generation movements such as the 8900. The headquarters is also here. Compared to the Villeret watch factory, Bienne is a completely modern watch factory with automated equipment and production technology, as well as advanced warehouse management and production lines. Omega has concentrated its production department on the five floors of this building. From the parts to the final sheet, the process is performed internally through advanced automatic procedures to improve efficiency.
Omega’s emphasis on the METAS test in the past two years is obvious to all. This test has a total of 8 standards. Because Omega had previously asked COSC whether it can provide Omega’s new technology watch inspection certification, COSC was unable to perform such high antimagnetic tests. Omega Therefore, he sought the official cooperation of METAS, and proposed a more stringent Master Chronometer certification. This certification is owned by METAS, and other brands can also apply for certification instead of exclusive to Omega. Currently, Omega is the only brand with this certification. Prior to the completion of the new Bienne watch factory, this test was performed at the Villeret watch factory. Currently, the new watch factory has set up a METAS office to be responsible for the certification process.
Omega’s new plant in Bienne opens in November 2017
We hope to have the opportunity to visit the new Omega watch factory in the future to learn more about the secrets behind Omega’s success.
Glashütte Original-Higher proportion of handmade value
Glashütte Original is one of the several German watchmaking brands resurrected in the 1990s. Its predecessor and history already had a lot of information before going online, so I won’t repeat them here. Glashütte’s original watch factory, in the town of Glashütte, next to several other watchmaking brands Lange and NOMOS, are neighbors. Glashütte’s original watch factory has been renovated earlier. It is no longer as old as the old factory, and is now a completely modern, clean and brand new factory. Glashütte Original Watch Factory is responsible for all the necessary watchmaking processes including brand watch design, movement development, parts production, electroplating, grinding, testing, assembly, quality inspection, tool making, etc.
As a German watchmaking brand, Glashütte’s original parts are manufactured up to 95% independently. Only some parts are provided by suppliers, such as synthetic ruby bearings, watch cases, and watch bands. Although Glashütte Original is a brand pursuing traditional watchmaking technology, it is also a modern company. It has advanced high-precision watchmaking equipment, CNC machine tools, laser etching, EDM cutting machines, etc. It is available in China, but the accuracy is not so high, and some is not available in China, and it cannot even be imported.
Glashütte Original is like other high-end watch factories. The outline of the parts is produced by modern equipment, and then manually deburred, retouched, and assembled. The difference is that the brand performs additional inspections on the parts to ensure its tolerances. Meet design standards, discard or rework if standards are exceeded. At the same time, steel parts are hardened through a heat treatment workshop. After quenching and tempering, the tension of steel parts is reduced from the inside, and the material structure is improved. This is true of every steel part that is original to Glashütte.
Compared to mass-produced brands such as Rolex and Omega, Glashütte’s original production is not high because it requires more manual decoration. This is a time-consuming and labor-intensive task and an important reflection of the value of fine watchmaking. At the same time, Glashütte Original has more complicated watches, such as eccentric moon phase watches, eccentric automatic chronograph watches, tourbillon watches, etc., which cannot be completed by the conventional assembly line assembly process, and require special watchmaking. It is an important part of its value. At the same time, Glashütte Original has an engraving department, which sculpts high-end movements and balance splints by hand, which is part of the art of high-end watches.
Glashütte has its own dial factory in Pforzheim, which used to be one of the core areas of German watchmaking.
Summary: The watch factory has always been the most mysterious place. People are often curious about how luxury watches are made and what value they have. Then we can generally get the answer from the tour of the watch factory. But even so, there are still many watch factories that have not been opened to the media. Among the watch factories you have visited, there is no doubt that they have rich historical heritage, advanced management experience, and outstanding manufacturing levels. Successful business. (Photo finishing watch home Wu Yibing)