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These are called Poinçons de Maître, which translates literally as "Master's Punches" but are usually called "Collective Responsibility Marks".These can be used to identify the maker of a precious metal watch case.The female figure of Helvetia appeared during the development of a Swiss national identity in the nineteenth century, and Helvetia appeared on coins and stamps after the foundation of the federal state of Switzerland in 1848. Eighteen carats is exactly 75% or 750‰ gold, from 18 / 24 = 0.75.But the British Merchandise Marks Act of 1887 forced a change.There is a full description of this system and tables of the marks at Poinçons de Maître: Case Maker's Marks. The Swiss Precious Metals Control Act of 23 December 1880 introduced a uniform system of hallmarking for watch cases to be used throughout Switzerland with the marks shown in the picture here.These hallmarks marks are seen on the vast majority of Swiss watches with silver or gold cases imported to the UK between 18 before assay and hallmarking of the cases of imported watches in a British assay office became compulsory. Items marked with the symbols introduced in December 1880 were obviously marked after that date.
Since the Swiss basic legal requirements were not altered by these ‘additional’ standards, which were all in some way higher than the fundamental Swiss standards, they were all introduced to meet the requirements of foreign countries and can therefore be regarded as signs of export trade.
9846 Other Swiss Case Marks • Swiss Federal Cross • Brevet Dem. To begin with the standards and marking were controlled by the local Guilds.