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Swiss system of watch cases hallmarking

The Swiss Precious Metals Control Act of 23 December 1880 introduced a uniform system of hallmarking for watch cases to be used throughout Switzerland. These hallmarks marks are seen on the vast majority of Swiss watches with silver or gold cases imported to the UK between 1880 and 1907. The small “x” in each mark is replaced by the identifier of the assay office where the item was tested and marked; “G” for Geneva, “N” for Neuchâtel, “C” for La Chaux-de-Fonds, etc.

Official hallmarks for watch-cases

Swiss hallmarks do not indicate dates. Items marked with the symbols introduced in 1880 must obviously have been marked after that date. These hallmarks are seen on the vast majority of Swiss watches with silver or gold cases imported to the UK between 1880 and 1907. From 1 June 1907 these Swiss marks are very rarely seen on imported watches and UK import hallmarks appear instead.

Between 1880 and 1933 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 is silver above 0.875 (87.5%) silver content, and the grouse that the metal is above 0.800 (80%) silver content.

From 16.06.1917: official hallmarks for imported articles

Official hallmarks for imported articles from 1917

Official hallmarks of the Precious Metals Control Act of 20.06.1933

Precious metal articles from 1933
* only for watch-cases

Imported watch-cases

Imported watch-cases




Old timepieces evolution
Almost all watches of the late 18th century were made without cases. Double and triple cases remained popular only in England. But even there watches with several lids began to appear in the late 1820s, e.g. works by the English firm "Dol-ter". At the beginning of the 20th century Swiss watchmakers


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