When it comes to luxury Swiss-made watches, some brands pull out all the stops when it comes to certifications and seals. But only those located in Geneva can lay claim to the Hallmark of Geneva — also known as the Geneva Seal. Additionally, it is not just good enough to be located in Geneva (otherwise many brands would move there) to get the Seal. It is a designation that is earned and it is the ultimate certification of quality in fine watchmaking.
Essentially, the Geneva Seal — referred to in French as the "Poincon de Genève" — is a quality seal awarded only to watches that have passed an intense inspection by an independent bureau operating under state control in Geneva. The certification is issued by TimeLab – the Geneva Laboratory of Horology and Micro-engineering.
To even be considered as a candidate to submit watches for inspection by the Canton of Geneva, the watch and all of its parts must be manufactured in the canton. Even diamond-set watches must have the diamond setting executed in Geneva. Once that criteria is met, the watch movement must meet 12 additional criteria relating to the quality of its finishing and materials, as well as other factors.
The finished watch is inspected for craftsmanship, precision and other timekeeping values and a certificate is only awarded to watches that offer exceptional decorative finishes, qualifying them as works of art. Additionally, the certificate guarantees the watch is not only of top-quality craftsmanship, but also is chronometrically precise. If the watch passes, the Seal — featuring the Geneva Coat of Arms — is stamped on the watch movement. It includes a unique code so that owner of the watch can verify the authenticity of the Seal.
It should be noted that not just the visible pieces of the watch movement must be finely finished. Also judged are the screws, pins and tiny parts that are not seen. Because earning the Poincon de Genève is no easy feat, there are just a handful of companies that pursue the Seal.