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The COSC today

The COSC today boasts three OL in French-speaking Switzerland, located close to the manufactures, working 7 days a week, 350 days a year, and coordinated by the management team at La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Government authorities play an important role in the concrete structure of the COSC, since the premises of the three control laboratories belong to them and the staff of these laboratories report to either the municipality (Le Locle, Saint-Imier) or the canton (Bienne).

The three OL are practically exact replicas of each other. Carrying out the same work, each one has the same equipment and systems, and applies the same procedures in its work.

In total, there are approximately 60 full-time equivalent staff (and about 70 auxiliaries trained by the COSC) working in the OL. They are mostly specialised operators. But there is no watchmaker among them: the COSC is there to observe and test, and not to orient or advise a brand – absolute independence and neutrality are of the essence.

The COSC's activity takes place 7 days a week, for approximately 350 days a year – a working rhythm imposed by the ISO standard, which requires 15 days of testing + day 0, with measurements every 24 hours. Once an observation has commenced, the cycle must be respected, excluding the possibility of activities reduced to the traditional rhythm of the working week.

At La Chaux-de-Fonds, the role of the management team (made up of an engineering director, another engineer, responsible for the entire technical element, and an assistant) consists of:

Ensuring the ongoing operation and coordination of the OL

  • Enforcing the control requirements for the various types of instruments submitted under the supervision of the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS)
  • Ensuring the continuing accreditation of the Association and its three OL
  • Ensuring respect for the quality of the work of the three OL in line with the Quality Handbook
  • Editing and developing the COSC Quality Handbook
  • Providing the equipment for the measurement and processing of results, including maintenance and upgrades; all machines are developed, tested and delivered by the COSC
  • Planning and distributing the workload across the three laboratories
  • Undertaking all actions relating to the communication and defence of the chronometer. The COSC is a member of the FH anti-counterfeiting group and as such observes the markets and combats all attempts to usurp the designation "chronometer" by a Swiss watch
  • Managing relationships and information for the outside world
  • Representing the Association (business relations, relations with government authorities)