Change of Heart
In-house movements have been a significant selling point for mechanical watches, but Sean Li ponders whether this is still the case given their proliferation and the current challenging market
igh-end mechanical timepieces are often accompanied by a technical specification sheet that would not look out of place with an exotic sports car. Virtually every detail is broken down—the dial, case, buckle, strap— you name it, it will be mentioned. There is one term, though, that has been the subject of much discussion recently: in-house, in relation to the genesis of the heart of the watch, the movement. Long-time collectors nod knowingly over timepieces with movements designed and built by the brand in-house, watches that have traditionally carried extra cachet relative to those with a more generic provenance.
However, it’s not long ago that the industry relied on a handful of movement producers; brands were happy to use them to power even high-end, exclusive watches. Let’s examine why in-house has become such a focus, and whether it translates into a strong sales argument.