News: All ETA Mechanical Watch Movements “Unavailable”
As of 2/28/20, all mechanical movements on ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse’s official website have been labeled as unavailable.
This includes calibers in the Mecaline, Mecaline Specialties and Mecaline Chronographs lines.
All “Technical Communication” links to PDF tech sheets have been blocked with a redirection message stating:
“Due to maintenance work, the ETAshop B2B is currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding.”
Apparently this comes after Switzerland’s Competition Commission (COMCO) recently ordered Swatch Group to stop all sales of watch movements by ETA to third party companies.
Swatch Group is regarded as a monopoly in Switzerland, causing COMCO to step in an enforce regulations that would prevent Swatch from creating dependency on their goods by distributing movements to competing watch brands.
“Through a series of mergers, ETA has become the largest manufacturer of Swiss watch movements and controls a virtual monopoly over their production and supply. ETA has undergone several Swiss government investigations due to its market position. To resolve the concerns of Swiss government regulators, ETA has entered into an agreement that governs certain business practices.” –Wikipedia
It appears that until further notice, ETA will only be supplying movements to the brands within the Swatch Group.
This has been a looming threat to the watch world for years. As far back as 2003 when COMCO began investigating the business of ETA, causing a ripple of effects to the industry. Since then, many luxury watch brands started designing and producing their own in-house movements. Swiss movement producers such as Sellita have become more popular and used as an ETA alternative, and companies like Tudor started their own manufacture factories to sell movements to outside brands like Norqain.
The quartz movements on ETA’s site are all still available at this time.