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A manufacture (French, also Manufactory, Latin manus = hand; factura = making, production) is a producer of watches which builds some or all of the components in-hour from raw materials.
Production Competence as a Key Feature
According to the original meaning, a manufacture is a plant in the transition from handicraft to factory manufacturing. In the watch industry, the notion of a manufacture is reserved for those manufacturers which produce the most essential components of their watches, especially the movement parts, by themselves.
For more details see Manufacture movement.
Back to Traditional Quality
Since the renaissance of the mechanical watch in the early 1980's (keywords quartz crisis, Blancpain, Chronoswiss) the term is associated with the idea of diligence, dedication and quality, while engineered mass production in factories entails smacks of soullessness and anonymity. Therefore numerous watches manufacturers try again to attain the status of a manufacture and — despite an enormous amount of new investments — develop own in-house mechanical movements again.
An Exclusive Elite of Watch Manufacturers
An overview of the manufactures can be found at Manufactures. Examples of typical, universally recognized and renowned manufactures are Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Rolex.
There are four main methods of manufacturing watches
- Mass production applies modern manufacturing principles to produce many watches
- A manufacure builds some or all components in-house, mainly by hand and in a smaller workshop environment
- An etablisseur buys completed components and brings them together into a finished watch
- An OEM (original equipment manufacturing) model sees the production outsourced to another manufacture or mass-producer