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NY B89700

October 16, 1997

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:114 B89700


Mr. Mitsuro Tsuneyoshi
Mugenji Productions
1450 S. Centinela Ave, #1
Los Angeles, CA 90025


Dear Mr. Tsuneyoshi:

This is in response to your letter dated September 15, 1997 requesting a ruling on the SOS watch. You ask whether the watch case of the SOS Watch is the case which holds the watch movement or is it the case which houses the alarm which attaches to the watch case. A sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The SOS watch is an alarm-type watch. When the button on the alarm is depressed, a loud alarm is activated. The alarm case holds the alarm and its batteries. The alarm case is easily detached from the SOS watch; the alarm works independently from the watch. The watch contains its own battery for power.

The marking statute, Section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

The country of origin of a watch or clock is the country of manufacture of the watch or clock movement. The addition of the hands, dial, case, or watchband add definition to the time piece but do not change the character or use of the watch or clock movement which is the "guts" of the watch or clock. In order to satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C 1304, a watch must be legibly marked with the name of the country of manufacture of the watch movement in a conspicuous place.

Section 134.43(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.43(b)), in conjunction with section 11.9, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 11.9), provides that watches must be marked in accordance with the special marking requirements set forth in Chapter 91, Additional U.S. Note 4 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA) (19 U.S.C. 1202). This note requires that any watch movement, or case provided for in the subpart, whether imported separately or attached to any article provided for in the subpart, shall not be permitted to be entered unless conspicuously and indelibly marked by cutting, die-sinking, engraving, stamping, or mold-marking (either indented or raised), as specified in the provisions of this note. This marking is mandatory. The Customs Service has no authority for granting exceptions to the special marking requirements for watches.

Section (a) of Additional U.S. Note 4 requires that watch movements shall be marked on one or more of the bridges or top plates to show the manufacturer or purchaser; and, in words, the number of jewels, if any servicing a mechanical purpose as frictional bearings. Section (c) of Additional U.S. Note 4 requires that watch cases shall be marked on the inside or outside of the back cover to show the name of the country of manufacture, and the name of the manufacturer or purchaser. The country of manufacture in these requirements refers to where the movements and cases are manufactured rather than where the watch was made. The special marking must be accomplished by one of the methods specified in the Additional U.S. Note 4, and using stickers is not an acceptable alternative.

You have inquired about the case of the SOS watch. The case of the SOS watch is the case which holds the watch movement. The alarm case is not considered the watch case for the purposes of the special marking requirements of chapter 91, HTS.

If you require a ruling on the Section 304 marking and the special marking requirements of chapter 91, HTS, please submit a sample of the watch in the condition in which it will be imported, with the back of the watch case opened so we can examine the marking on both the watch case and on the watch movement. Please note that the watch case must be marked with the name of the country of manufacture and the name of the manufacturer or purchaser.

This ruling is being issued under provision of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Barbara Kiefer at 212-466-5685.


Robert B. Swierupski

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