If you’ve ever wondered where the middle- to low-end of the watch world came from, here you go. Most “brand name” watches like Calvin Klein, Burberry, and the like come from Chinese OEMs who, for the most part, run their companies as well or better than Swiss manufacturers.
For example, I got this email today offering me OEM services from a company in Shenzhen, China, the heart of world manufacturing. Shenzhen is where they make almost all Apple products as well as huge range of precision equipment.
Why am I mentioning this? Because China is a very real threat to Swiss hegemony. The average frou-frou watch retailer would tsk tsk that suggestion, but remember: people manufacture watches and people are people wherever they are. Do Chinese manufacturers cut corners and create absolute abortions sometimes? Yes, they do. But can they build the pyramidal base of the watch market by producing acceptable timepieces for the average person? Absolutely.
Switzerland would do well to heed this simple warning: they’ve been burned by ignoring the East once before, during the quartz crisis. Take China seriously. There are no second chances.