To ensure the rigour of its tests, the COSC has equipped its premises with adapted systems:
- A hydraulic lift to prevent sudden movement and keep impacts to a minimum
- Floor grounded with a copper grid, to prevent staff from being charged with static electricity which could then affect the instruments being tested
- An airlock to filter out dust and ensure constant levels of temperature and humidity in the thermal chambers and measuring laboratory
Specific IT systems
The new COSC IT portal, developed specifically for its needs, works for the satisfaction of all, especially customers. All of the brands can connect to it using their own specific security code. Each of them has a personalised channel, which enables them to communicate in confidence with the COSC.
In each of the three OL, two atomic clocks and a DCF77 0CX0 rubidium clock serve as a time reference. Two of them are connected to GPS time, the third to DCF time in Frankfurt. It is the cross-referencing of these sources that guarantees absolute reliability. Indeed, the three clocks must be synchronised so that time can be distributed to the testing machines.
The air is continuously monitored by probes in all thermal chambers and the laboratory. Temperature, humidity, and dust, are subjected to about 180 measurement points per minute and per OL, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These measurements are stored in the IT system, which allows the COSC to answer any query from an applicant regarding environmental conditions, as temperature curve, humidity curve, atmospheric pressure, and dust readings are all archived. This is the price of traceability that is as complete as possible.
The same procedure is followed in the case of alarms. Monitoring takes place in real time, with complete traceability. Any anomalies are recorded and cannot be erased. A rigour that goes beyond what is required by the ISO standard, but which is adhered to by the COSC, since it represents a guarantee of the conformity of its work.
Rigour and confidentiality
The management team at La Chaux-de-Fonds maintains IT control of all data concerning the arrival of the series, packaging, environmental conditions, possible alarms, measurements, and of course the results. This is true of all three OL. Confidentiality is thus respected: Only the management team sees the details of the activity of the three laboratories.
Prepared for any eventuality
The COSC is the only organisation in Switzerland and the world to achieve chronometer certification on such a scale. No other organisation is able to measure up to two million watches a year. In the event of failure of one of the three OL, Swiss watchmaking would therefore have no alternative for the certification of its watches. To respond to any eventuality, the COSC plays the absolute security card in its spacious and superbly equipped laboratories: if work in any one of the three OL were to be interrupted, the other two would be able to absorb the production of the entire Swiss watchmaking industry.