The premises that house the three testing laboratories are brand new and ultra-modern. They are equipped with the most advanced infrastructure, in order to offer the strict environmental conditions required by the ISO standard. The specific testing equipment, developed and produced by the COSC, is regularly updated to respond to progress in the watchmaking world, i.e. to go beyond the limits that are constantly pushed back by the latest timepieces.
The three observation laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, designed in-house by the managing engineers. The specificity of the requirements is such that all COSC instruments (winding machines, vision machines) have been tailor-made, according to exceptional requirements.
To ensure the rigour of its tests, the COSC has equipped its premises with adapted 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.
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.
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.