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What Is An In-House Movement & Why They Are Important

Discover what an in-house movement is and why they are important to the brands and their buyers.

What Is An In-House Movement

An in-house movement or in-house calibre is a watch movement that has been developed and manufactures by the brand for their watches. Example; Rolex produces their own movements to place in their own manufactured watches.

If you’re new to watches you might be stunned that many luxury watch brands do not have in-house movements. The movement is the engine of the watch and the most important component so it sounds silly to think that they are commonly outsourced.

Until recently, within the past decade, outsourcing movements was necessary to produce watches at an affordable price. After all if brands commit to producing in-house movements, costs will go up affecting price. Brands either bought their movements from other brands who had made that investment of factories that only produced watch movements.

Now I think it’s important to note that just because a movement has been outsourced from another company, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. After all, what we’ve learned from the industrial revolution is that specialization isn’t a bad thing. When it comes to the luxury market though it can be a stain for some buyers, exclusivity matters.

Why Are In-House Movements Important

In-house movements are important because it elevates a brand and their watches from a horological perspective. To produce an in-house movement it requires a significant investment in time, money, and human capital. The end result for in-house movements is almost always better than outsourced movements resulting in a more desirable product.

In most cases you’ll have to pay more but for some brands who have been producing in-house movements for years the difference in negligible. This is due to their ability to produce at economies of scale. A great example is Seiko & Grand Seiko. Both brands produce in-house movements of different qualities but they can do them both cost efficiently.

Take Omega as an example with their Co-Axial Master Chronometer. Omega has elevated itself as a brand and their watches because they haven’t waited for someone to create new watchmaking technology, they did it themselves.

To discover more about one of the new Omega calibres you can read our article.

The Benefits Of Buying Buying A Watch With An In-House Movement

With most things in life there are exceptions to every rule. We’ve listed below the benefits of owning a watch with an in-house movement that will be true most of the time.

  • Improved Accuracy
  • Improved Power Reserve
  • Longer Service Intervals
  • Prestige
  • More Decorated / Finer Finish
  • New Technology

Should You Only Buy Watches With An In-House Movement

Even though I would recommend buying watches with in-house movements I would never tell anyone not to buy a watch that doesn’t. It all comes down to preference and budget but there is nothing wrong buying a watch with an outsourced movement.

The only scenario I would say you may want to reconsider your purchase intention is when you’re looking at watches in the $6,000 and over price range. At that level you should begin considering in-house movements because you’ll receive more quality for your money.

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