The Geneva Seal was created in 1886 to identify timepieces built following Geneva, Switzerland's traditional watchmaking standards.
To receive the coveted Geneva Seal, a watch movement previously had to meet 12 strict quality criteria—ranging from materials to finishing—and it had to be manufactured in Geneva, the epicenter of Swiss watchmaking. But those restrictions were tightened in June 2012 and now include new requirements for the movement, a new emphasis on "external components," such as the finishing of the case, and new guidelines on where the watch is assembled.
The seal consists of the Geneva coat of arms (pictured above), which is stamped on the movement.
Four Geneva-based watchmakers—Vacheron Constantin, Chopard, Cartier and Roger Dubuis—regularly submit their movements for the coveted certification. A fifth, Patek Philippe, has developed its own rival seal in recent years, which we will discuss in a future post.
Other rival marks of quality have emerged leading some to question whether the Geneva Seal is still relevant.