Since this issue has been boiling the waters around here recently, I decided to post to articles I have just found from "aBlogtoRead"
Lots of people are starting to notice that watch makers are starting to indicate the movement of a watch as "Swiss Movement." For most of us, such an ambiguous designation is unacceptable, as this can mean just about anything. Strictly speaking, for a watch or movement to legally have the "Swiss Made" designation upon it, the watch or movement does not have to be made or assembled completely in Switzerland. In fact, only a certain percentage of the components must be made in Switzerland, and the watch does not need to be put together in Switzerland.
Regardless, of the circumstances where you see "Swiss Movement," this means essentially one thing, the movement in the watch is going to be either an ETA or Sellita movement. Ablogtoread.com wrote an article regarding Sellita's presence here. Occasionally there are other potential makers, but this is rare. So you ask yourself, "I don't know what movement I am getting? What am I even paying for?" This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask, but consider this. Lets say ETA are the "name brand" movements, and the Sellita movements are the "generic brand." Each is identical in construction and function. Small differences might lay in the quality of manufacture, and special modifications for the manufacturers, but for the most part, the movements function the same, and have similar accuracy and reliability.
Sellita is a Swiss movement manufacturer and for the most part copies ETA movements. It does this because it has the machinery capable of such work, along with the fact that the ETA designs are old enough to likely no longer be protected under any Patent rights. For this reason Sellita can make copies of ETA movements just like drug companies can make generic drugs after a period of time.
Having said that, when you see the Sellita SW200 movement in a watch, it is the same movement as an ETA 2824-2. The reason watch makers are using Sellita movements, is not so much about cost, but more having to do with the fact that ETA is slowing down production and will cease to provide movements to watch makers outside the Swatch Group in 2010. So because ETA movements are harder to get, watch makers will use an ETA or Sellita movement depending on what they are able to acquire in time to put the watches together.
Fear not the Sellita movements as they appear to be just as good as ETA. The true test will come in a few years, but know that the parts are the same, and ETA parts will fit into Sellita movements to the best of my knowledge. Despite this, some people are still all about having an ETA movement, you can rest assured that most watch makers are complete sticklers for quality, and would not use any movement that would do their name injustice.
Most watches companies do not make their own movements. Quality watch makers buy their movements from mostly ETA, the quasi-government owned movement powerhouse. In 2010 however, ETA will stop selling its movements to outside companies. It will continue to provide movements for it's house brands, of which there are several. ETA is part of the Swatch Group which makes a number of brands as seen in the link. When ETA stops providing movements to out-side brands, they will have to go elsewhere for movements.
Sellita is a growing movement maker in Switzerland, but has had a bit of a copycat history. They mostly copied ETA movements. Can they do this? Well, probably, at least in the US. Most ETA movements have been around for a while and in the US Patents last for 20 years only. Because movements are machines, they only intellectual property protection they would have is a patent, and presumably the European patent laws are similar to those of the US. Take the ETA 2824-2 movement, which has been around since the 1970s. Because over 20 years has passed since the, copycats are free to make the movements, the only barrier would be technology. Meaning Sellit and other movement makers would have to have the proper machinery to produce the delicate movement parts. China on the other hand would never even think to check on infringing intellectual property rights before copying something.
We can assume that Sellita has such technology because large brands such as Invicta have been buying from them at large for years. It is predicted that Sellita will step in ETA's shoes and start providing movements on a mass scale in the next few years. Right now, Sellita has a reputation for being a bit lower quality, but that will change in the coming years with high production, and consumer demand. We shall wait and see what role Sellita has in the next few years.