(If you have not heard of the Observatory Competition) Today, when we buy a watch, we are often told that this watch has the Swiss Observatory Certification (COSC), and many watch friends do n’t know about it. Unfamiliar, even familiar. Observatory certification is one of the most popular watch quality certifications today. It often means that this watch has better quality than ordinary watches. In the past few decades, it has gradually established prestige and become an industry benchmark. Of course, with the development of the industry and the more sophisticated watchmaking technology, some fine watchmaking brands have started to create more stringent quality certification systems, including the most famous ones: Patek Philippe Seal, Geneva Seal, QF Certification Wait. Nevertheless, the certification of the COSC Observatory still has a universal reference significance in the industry. In addition, no certification can achieve this.
Chopard Certificate of Observatory
Today’s observatory certification, it should be said that it originated in 1973, the word watch quality certification CHRONOMETER was redefined, which means ‘passed the Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) test table’. Before 1973, the meaning behind the word had been in the watch industry for about 200 years. In the 18th century, various rising powers constantly contended for maritime hegemony and overseas colonial expansion. The Navy urgently needed reliable equipment. Due to the harsh environment such as turbulence at sea and high humidity, ordinary clocks were incapable at that time, and the Navy also required To calculate the position, the travel time must be accurate. As a result, the HNA Clock was born. In order to accurately assess the precision of the Nautical Clock, the first official observatory test for testing marine timing equipment was born in Britain in 1823.
Lange Observatory Clock
At this time, Britain, France, and Germany were the most developed countries in the watch industry, and Switzerland was gradually catching up. At the end of the 19th century, these major watch countries had formed an observatory certification system for the accuracy test of watches, the most famous of which was Nasha, Switzerland. The Tell Observatory (1866), the Geneva Observatory (1873), the Teddington Observatory (1884), the Besancon Observatory (1878), and the Naval Observatory in Hamburg, Germany. These observatories have strict detection standards. The detection procedures are mainly 3 temperature differences, 5 orientations, and a period of about 30-50 days. Then according to the scores to assign ratings, different observatories use different scoring systems. Because of the booming watch trade, plus the timepiece form is no longer limited to nautical clocks, this is the golden age of pocket watches. Observatory clock testing has gradually developed into a competition, because clocks certified by the observatory represent an official endorsement by a third party, which is more popular in the market, so powerful watch manufacturers have joined the competition.
Written documents of the Neuchatel Observatory inspection rules
Commercial interests drive technological advances. World-renowned watch manufacturers send their products to different observatories for testing, and sometimes even to multiple observatories for testing. At that time, the objects tested were mainly movements, not assembled watches. Gradually, when the tests that were originally performed to ensure the accuracy of timepieces became a race, the market became more and more manic. At the beginning of the 20th century, due to the strict testing standards set by the Observatory competition, although a large number of movements were produced every year by watch companies, only a few movements were able to participate in the competition. In order to be able to achieve good results in the competition, the companies began to invest a lot of energy to improve the accuracy of the movements. The components of these movements have very high precision and have high requirements on the functionality of the movement. In a competition, the company took several years to develop a high-quality movement. However, it is interesting to note that these ‘high-tech’ are only for competitions. After receiving the ranking, only a few brands of these movements have been sold in watches. This means that even though this company has achieved very good results in the observatory competition, the watches they sell have nothing to do with the observatory, and what you buy is just a regular watch.
Pocket Watch Certified by Besançon Observatory, France
The observatory competition has brought some positive effects. Watch companies have continuously improved the technology of watch manufacturing, which has provided the basis for the development of watches. In 1925, the Swiss Federation of Accurate Time Measurements defined the meaning of CHRONOMETER-a watch certified by the Observatory. The observatory at this time is a real observatory, not a third-party agency that conducts tests today at Swiss COSC. In order to make the results of the competition, it is not just the sales of ordinary watches of the brand in the sense of marketing, but can be used in ordinary watches, some brands are working hard. Vacheron Constantin has established the Royal Observatory certification since 1907. The certified movement is no longer sealed and sold in watches, but this certification is very strict. From 1907 to 1919, a total of 10,000 pieces were produced. A little more Royal Observatory watches, which are about 1,000 a year, are mainly sold to Brazil, South America and other markets in Europe. In the 1930s, the US watch market, which was an important market at that time, suffered a Great Depression, and the Second World War broke out. The European economy did not recover until the 1950s. During this time, many watch factories cooperated with the military, and the observatory competition slowed down. By the 1950s and 1960s, the observatory competition was active again.
Vacheron Constantin Certified Observatory
The observatory competition of the 1960s had a profound impact on the world of watches. In 1966, Girard Perregaux took the independent high-frequency movement 32A, participated in the observatory certification, and won a large number of awards, and selected 40 movements to be tested by the Neuchatel Observatory, all of which passed the certification. The concept of high frequency shocked the watch industry at the time, and the test proved that the frequency of 36000vph was more accurate than the slow frequencies represented by 18000vph and 21600vph. As a result, high frequency has become a melody. At that time, famous watchmakers including Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Zenith, etc. all trial-produced high-frequency movements. In 1969, Zenith’s representative high-frequency automatic chronograph movement, El Primero, was launched, shaking the entire field of automatic timing. When the watchmaking industry was not excited for a long time, Japan, an island nation that had studied European advanced watchmaking industry for decades, relied on its own corporate management characteristics, took the quartz movement to participate in the Swiss observatory test, and as a result swept the mechanical watchmaking industry. The observatory competition was asked to end because the mechanical movement could not compete with the quartz movement at all.
Girard Perregaux posters certified by the Neuchatel Observatory
This industry competition, which lasted for more than half a century, ended here. In 1973, the familiar COSC Observatory certification was born today. Compared with the previous observatory certification, the biggest difference is that certificates are issued as soon as they pass. There is no grade. For more than 40 years, the industry has been continuously improving. The original standards for For modern watch companies, it is gradually becoming less challenging, so brands have started to establish testing standards to distinguish grades. Jaeger-LeCoultre launched its own 1,000-hour test, Montblanc launched a 500-hour quality certification, and Parmigiani, Chopard, and Powell jointly established QF certification (Florier Quality Certification). Patek Philippe has the Patek Philippe Seal, Cartier, Roger Dubuis, Vacheron Constantin, Chanel, and others joined the Geneva Seal Camp. Glashütte Original also announced the new German Observatory certification standard this year. Rolex has newly launched its own top-level observatory certification (plus or minus two seconds per day). Omega and the Swiss Institute of Metrology have launched Observatory ‘certification. All signs indicate an old Chinese saying: ‘The world is in a strong state, and we must share for a long time.’