Dating pocket watch

Although the Swiss Precious Metals Control Act of 1880 defined standards for gold and silver watch cases, the British Merchandise Marks Act of 1887 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". In the 1920s a system of responsibility marks for precious metal watch cases was introduced.

This is discussed in the section about Poinçons de Maître.

This led to some confusion during the Brexit referendum about what was meant by control of/at the borders.

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.

This was not permitted for British made watches, the bow and the dome had to be made of the same material as the rest of the case.


The female figure of Helvetia appeared during the construction of a Swiss national identity in the 19th century and Helvetia appeared on coins and stamps after the foundation of the federal state of Switzerland in 1848.

To begin with the standards and marking were controlled by the local Guilds.

Markham's "Handbook to Foreign Hallmarks" says that an Assay Office was established in Geneva on 22 September 1815, and one in Neuchâtel in 1839.

These assay offices were established by law, superseding the medieval Guild system of regulation.

These hallmarks were used for plate, vessels and candlesticks etc.9846 Swiss Federal Cross and watch terms: Brevet Dem., Mod. Standards for precious metals in Switzerland originated in Geneva in the 15th century, the first recorded regulation concerning the fineness and marking of silver was enacted by Bishop John of Brogny in the year 1424.


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