The Hallmark of Geneva

The "Hallmark of Geneva" (so-called «Geneva Seal»; French: «Poinçon de Genève») is a true standard of excellence and an emblem of the Geneva watchmaking; it is at once a guarantee of origin, workmanship and reliability.

For centuries, the expertise of the Geneva watchmaking radiates throughout the world. The Hallmark of Geneva is the guarantee of a genuine product, made by the best craftsmen of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, whose success is recognized worldwide. Only a few watchmakers and manufactures based in Geneva are eligible for this certification.

History

Starting from the mid-1800s, an ever-increasing number of "dishonest" manufacturers were labeling their bad-quality watches as "Geneva made," abusing and damaging this precious designation.

Consequently, watch manufacturers sought the help of the parliament of the Republic and Canton of Geneva so as to enforce by law the conditions related to the use of the "Geneva made" term.

The Control Act of watches was proposed November 6, 1886 by the Geneva government to control the certification. It initially established the creation of a Control Bureau of Genevan watches. The latter is responsible for affixing the official stamp of the state on watches made by manufacturers established in Geneva. Especially, the watchmakers themselves must reside and create their watches in Geneva. Indeed, too many of them having settled abroad, to keep the know-how in this area. The stamp is affixed on a part of the movement (on the deck and a bridge). In addition, the office legalizes the certificates of origin.

The Technical Commission of the Hallmark of Geneva acts as the legislative body. Its mission is the definition of criteria and update the Regulation in line with technological innovations.

The executive function is entrusted to the Hallmark of Geneva office. Through its approval cells, certification and audit, it continuously monitors the application of criteria Hallmark of Geneva throughout the stages of manufacture of timepieces.

In short, the Hallmark of Geneva was conceived to serve as a fully independent certification that would separate, highlight, and protect superior quality timepieces. Needless to say that feat is only possible through a set of strict conditions that watches must meet – conditions which have changed and evolved over time. To clarify, today the Geneva Seal certification is run by the Foundation of the Geneva Laboratory of Horology and Micro-engineering, also known as Timelab.

The law 1.25 regulates all certifications.

Summary of the Law

The State of Geneva delegates to watch Laboratory and Microtechnology Geneva (hereinafter: Laboratory), which includes three distinct activities:

  • The Office of the Hallmark of Geneva, responsible for optional control of watches manufactured and assembled in the canton of Geneva, in particular by putting on watches the official stamp of the State of Geneva, according to the requirement criteria defined in the regulation of Geneva Punch. All movements carrying the Geneva Punch must be numbered.
  • The official Geneva office, laboratory accredited by the Federal Office of Metrology, responsible for the official control of the running of chronometers and certify that the deposited watch movements meet the stopwatch title requirements.
  • The unit of competence

In addition, the laboratory is responsible for maintaining and promoting its activities.

As an example, the rules particularly stipulate that “on side of the bridge, the stones must be semi-smooth and the sinks are to be polished” or that “the length of the angle travelled by the pallets must be the distance between two fixed banking-pins, without the use of pins or studs.” Compliance with these precise criteria is overseen by a commission that comes under the control of the Technical Watchmaking School of Geneva.