Whats the difference between an apple and an orange...
As far as performance goes, I've heard the high end Japanese movements are excellent.
simply it all comes down too complications.
The way I see it, swiss makers tend to be more traditional in their designs while the japanese use more technology incorporated into their movements. E.g spring drive, "kinetic" aka auto-quartz etc... The quality I don't dare say swiss is much better or any better than japanese or vise versa. Just having "swiss made" on your watch gives it more recognition amongst the general public I think. Swiss movements have been the corner stone of status and quality in terms of the public. Highend japanese movements can easily compete with the swiss cosc grade watches in accuracy.
The main difference is cost. Swiss Made is prized. Japanese is budget/cheap/mall crap, esp. if one canvases the opinion of a Swiss/Swiss watch watchmaker.
I've found Japanese quartz movements more reliable and robust though.
For current quartz movements, there's nothing that comes near the Japanese in terms of technological advancement, quality, features etc. On a bang/$ basis, Japanese movements are king.
Of course many Swiss movements do look better but certainly not on a per $ basis.
As for mechanicals, the high-end Seiko stuff are not exported and the luxury market is almost exclusively Swiss.
I believe the two are (in reality) of equal quality. The difference being marketing. There is a reason the Swiss don't allow Japanese movements in the COSC competitions held every year. You would be wrong to think that just because the watch is 'Swiss Made' makes it better. While the Swiss movements may be more polished for appearance than the Japanese movement, this in no means makes them better. Another factor is probably cost, if it's expensive, then it must be better. There are a lot more old Toyota's on the road than old Cadilacs, so that blows that theory. Just wait for the Chinese to hone their watchmaking too. They'll be pumping out movements just as good as the Swiss or Japanese in the very near future as well.
COSC does not hold competitions. It is a Rolex dominated organization that, in conjunction with the FH, owns the marketing rights to the term "chronometer". The word as found on watch dials/casebacks/advertisement is more a trademark rather than a common horological term.
As for better, the question is, in terms of what?
Someone please step in and correct me but I believe the COSC is run by the Swiss govt. and anyone can have their movements COSC cert. They just have to ship them there and pay for the test then pay to ship them back, can you see how that would add up? As far as my expierence in dealing with the 2 movements? I own two auto TAG Heuers with the ETA 24?? movmt. and 1 Invicta with the Miyota auto. After doing some side by side power reserve/accuracy testing I think the Swiss movements are over priced! The Miyota does very well against the TAG's. But, and there is always a but I think over the span of say 30 ish years the Swiss ones will out live the Japanese movements. But the Invicta cost me $109.00 and the TAG's........well just say alot more. Now don't get me wrong I'am just comparing the movements here not the entire watch, that is another discussion for another day.
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