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NY I84716

August 28, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:114 I84716


Ms. Marianne M. Handel
The Swatch Group (US), Inc.
1817 William Penn Way
Lancaster, PA 17601


Dear Ms. Handel:

This is in response to your letter dated July 29, 2002, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking of the watch case of a reversible Tissot watch is acceptable for purposes of the special marking requirements of chapter 91, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. A sample of the reversible watch was submitted with your letter for review.

The Tissot watch has two quartz movements, two dials with hands, a stainless steel case for each movement and a steel mesh bracelet. One dial is round and black in color; the other dial is white and is shaped like a rounded rectangle. The watch cases are assembled back-to-back so one side of the watch displays the black dial and the other side displays the white dial. The steel mesh bracelet allows the watch to be flipped over for a different look or for use in another time zone. The submitted sample is marked “Swiss Made” on each dial at the bottom, and has the name of the Swiss manufacturer, Tissot, on each dial near the top of the dial, under the Roman numeral XII. You request that we consider the back dial to be the watch case back for purposes of the marking of the reversible wrist watch.

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 serving 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.

Because of the unique design of this watch, you propose that the back dial be considered the watch case back. You state that since both dials are clearly marked “Swiss Made”, that the special marking requirement for watch cases is met. We note that the dials also show the name of the manufacturer, Tissot, which is another requirement for watch case marking under the special marking requirements of chapter 91. The marking of the back dial, as described above, meets the requirements of the special marking of watch cases as stated in Additional U. S. Note 4 of chapter 91.

The sample of the reversible watch is being returned to you as requested.

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 646-733-3019.


Robert B. Swierupski

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