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European seal of warranty Quality audit and highest protection to the buyer with Trusted Shops. Security in payment Safe transactions and secure payment systems: If it wasn't, none of the case would be hallmarked by the British assay offices. At one time I thought that the Swiss sometimes made the bow, the ring on the pendant, out of plated brass, but now I think that if a watch has a bow like this it is a replacement for an original bow that wore through. Although the Swiss Precious Metals Control Act of defined standards for gold and silver watch cases, the British Merchandise Marks Act of caused several changes in Swiss hallmarking, in particular the two Swiss standards for silver were not accepted in Britain, and the British also inadvertently caused the Swiss to create their own national brand or trade mark "Swiss made".
Swiss hallmarking before and after is rather outside the scope of this page, but I mention some of the changes made in In Switzerland in the s a system of responsibility marks for precious metal watch cases was introduced. These can be used to identify the maker of a precious metal watch case.
Longines Master Collection. Steel. Automatic. Date. Swiss. Bracelet
The Swiss Precious Metals Control Act of 23 December introduced a uniform system of hallmarking for watch cases to be used throughout Switzerland with the marks shown in the picture here. These hallmarks marks are seen on the vast majority of Swiss watches with silver or gold cases imported to the UK between and before assay and hallmarking of the cases of imported watches in a British assay office became compulsory. Swiss hallmarks do not indicate dates. Items marked with the symbols introduced in December were obviously marked after that date. These hallmarks are seen on Swiss watches with silver or gold cases imported to the UK between and From 1 June Swiss hallmarks are rarely seen on imported watches; British import hallmarks appear instead, sometimes alongside Swiss hallmarks.
British import hallmarks, like all British hallmarks since , do include a date letter. The "standard" is the legal minimum fineness. This means the minimum proportion of precious metal gold, silver, etc. It is expressed as a proportion by weight, e. This means that 0. The alloy must assay at this standard in order to qualify to be hallmarked. To ensure that items pass assay, the alloy used by the goldsmith will be slightly finer than the absolute minimum standard.
This is not shown by the hallmark, which records only that the item passed assay and was therefore of at least the required fineness. Different expressions of the same number are often seen, e. Basel used a star. The Swiss Act introduced legal standards for gold used in watch cases in Switzerland. However, some other countries had slightly differing standards for gold and so some modifications were later introduced to accommodate these.
The Swiss symbol for 18 carat gold was the head of Helvetia, the female national personification of Switzerland, which is also called the Confederation Helvetica CH or Swiss Confederation. The name is derived from the name of the ancient people of Switzerland prior to the Roman conquest, the Helvetii.
Tudor Glamour Date Swiss Watch - m
The female figure of Helvetia appeared during the development of a Swiss national identity in the nineteenth century, and Helvetia appeared on coins and stamps after the foundation of the federal state of Switzerland in That should really have been enough. But the British Merchandise Marks Act of forced a change. British hallmarks at the time did not contain a number indicating a percentage or millesimal fineness, the mark for 18 carat gold was a crown and the number The second standard of gold recognised by the Swiss Act was 14 carat.
This was a standard of gold that had been used on the continent for many years and was very popular. The Swiss authorities rounded this down to 0.
Swiss Hallmarks Other Case Marks
The symbol at the bottom of the picture is the German Imperial Crown within a circle that represents the sun. This mark is rather strange. It was struck in Switzerland on items that might be exported to Germany, but it does not show that the item was ever actually sent to Germany.
The same is true of the mark of a crown and crescent moon struck on silver, see German Hallmarks. The Swiss Act of recognised only 18 and 14 carat gold as legal standards in Switzerland. This presented Swiss case makers with a problem.
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Nine carat gold was very popular in Britain because it was the cheapest alloy that could legally be called gold, but it was not a legal standard of fineness in Switzerland. Swiss watchmakers didn't want to miss out on this lucrative market so watch cases were stamped by the case makers with nine carat marks. From the Swiss Federal Government allowed an official mark with the Swiss cross to be used on nine carat gold watch cases destined to be sent to Britain. For more details see Swiss nine carat gold.
From the Swiss Federal Government allowed an official mark with the Swiss cross to be used on twelve carat gold watch cases destined to be sent to Britain. Between and the Swiss hallmarks for silver were either a "bear rampant", a bear standing on its hind legs, or a grouse. The bear mark indicates that the metal contains at least 0. Sometimes the grouse mark on 0, silver is struck twice, a large grouse above the fineness mark, a small grouse below.
This seems to be prevalent on cases with the German crescent or half moon and crown.
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I don't know what this double mark signifies but it might follow on logically from the double squirrel mark on 14 carat 0, gold that might be exported to Germany. Let me know if you see this mark without the German half moon and crown mark. This was never introduced into Swiss law as a standard, but fineness silver was a popular grade because it was the standard of coin silver in a number of European and other countries.
The Swiss Act of recognised only and silver as legal standards in Switzerland. This presented Swiss case makers with a problem, because neither of these was legal in Britain, where the minimum legal standard of sterling was fine. This lead to the legalisation in Switzerland of a grade for silver watch cases destined to be exported to Britain. For more about this see the section below about silver and the three bears. It is not clear when the Swiss authorities realised that British sterling silver was not as they had thought. This might have been from 1 June when British assay offices started stamping imported silver watch cases with the explicit fineness mark of , instead of the lion passant used on British made items.
Items are seen stamped with a and a single bear, which shows they were marked before the Swiss Act.
When this started I don't know, I suspect in the mid s. My grandfather's silver Rolex has 0. The Swiss recognised as a single higher fineness for silver with a duck hallmark by an Act in , in the process abolishing the previous and grades and the bear hallmark. See Precious Metals Control Act Goodness knows why; perhaps Swiss people find it easier to identify an ibex than a chamois: The British Merchandise Marks Act of stipulated that from 1 January foreign made gold and silver watches or watch cases would only be imported if;. Before a small number of Swiss watch cases were sent to Britain to be hallmarked, returned to Switzerland to be fitted with movements, and then exported to Britain.
The Act effectively stopped this practice by creating special hallmarks for watch cases with the word "Foreign" prominently across the middle, which understandably was not desired by Swiss watch importers. Although in principle the British Act did not present a problem for Swiss manufacturers, because gold and silver watch cases had been hallmarked in Switzerland since and Swiss hallmarks would be acceptable to the British customs authorities for import purposes, the Act did present several practical problems;. A letter in the "Watchmaker, Jeweller and Silversmith" in March from a Swiss national working in an English Customs house reported that Swiss watches that would previously have been admitted were now being confiscated.
Watches bearing the mark "Warranted 0. The English words Warranted Silver without any other mark showing the place of origin were sufficient for a watch to be seized by the Customs. The words Patent Chronograph , or even simply Fast and Slow on the regulator, without a stated place of origin similarly condemned an imported watch. Before the vast majority of Swiss watches with silver cases that were sold in Britain had no hallmarking at all.
A small number of silver Swiss watch cases were assayed in England in the years to and marked with British hallmarks. Sterling silver was used for these cases to meet the British standard. After , when the Swiss introduced their own hallmarking laws for watch cases, Swiss silver watch cases were assayed and hallmarked in Switzerland.