Watchmaker protests 'Swiss made' label, makes timepiece out of cheese
It doesn't smell, it won't melt and you can't eat it. But, for a price, you can own a timepiece being billed as "the most Swiss watch ever."
That's thanks to its most distinctive ingredient: Swiss cheese.
It's not just a luxury novelty item. It's an act of protest against new rules in Switzerland governing the use of the "Swiss made" label. According to the rules, Swiss-made components must account for 60 per cent of the value of the watch, but watchmaker H. Moser & Cie. says those rules are open to abuse.
"So we used cheese to create the case of the watch and we have a leather band using cow skin."
The result, Meylan said, is a watch that is 100 per cent Swiss.
"Obviously, we don't want it to stink," Meylan said.
Meylan, who is the fifth generation in a family of watchmakers, says the new labelling rules mean many manufacturers actually assemble their watches in Asia, using only a few Swiss parts — meaning the watches aren't really "Swiss made" at all.
"We feel this is not good enough, considering the tradition we have here in Switzerland, the craftsmanship, the people that work on those products," he said.
That's why the watch is made from cheese and not chocolate: because despite the reputation of Swiss chocolate, cocoa beans, as Meylan pointed out, aren't grown in Switzerland.
Proceeds from the sale of the watch will go to support independent Swiss watch suppliers "who suffer nowadays from many brands producing abroad," Meylan said. The auction closes on Friday.