| Cail Pearce
swiss domain extension thought post

Our website has a new address: www.ochsundjunior.swiss!

The previous address, www.ochsundjunior.ch, still works. Requests for “.ch” pages will automatically be redirected to the corresponding “.swiss” page. You, our visitors, do not need to do anything differently, now or in the future.

For us, this required a bit of work. So why did we make the change?


Our previous top-level domain was .ch, which is the ccTLD or “country code top-level domain” for Switzerland. CH is short for “Confoederatio Helvetica”, the Latin name for Switzerland.

To search engines, a .ch domain extension means the website is intended for access by people in Switzerland. In other words, .ch was sending a signal that our website was not intended for a global audience.

This is absolutely not true for ochs und junior. Although we are located in Switzerland, and exclusively sell our watches directly from our workshop here in Lucerne, about 100 of the 150 watches we manufacture per year are shipped to international clients via FedEx. The most frequent countries we export to are the United States, Germany, the UK, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong, and in Scandinavia.

So why weren’t we using www.ochsundjunior.com?

We own this domain, so no one can register it in an attempt to extort us. But we’ve never used it, because “dot com”, and what .com implies, isn’t the right fit for ochs und junior. We operate exclusively in Switzerland, and we don’t have the slightest interest in global expansion. Using .ch always seemed to us the lesser of two evils  –  we were never completely satisfied with it.

A good solution

On September 8, 2015, the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) launched the registration process for a new TLD, “.swiss”, which addresses exactly the situation ochs und junior is in.

.swiss is a gTLD, or “generic top-level domain”, which means search engines will treat .swiss websites as intended for a global audience, the same way .edu, .com, and .org sites are treated. ochs und junior is based in Switzerland and its clients are global, so .swiss is exactly the right domain extension for us.

.swiss domain names can exclusively be registered by Swiss companies and organizations. The namespace is administered by the Swiss Federal Office of Communications, and it is not possible to directly register a “.swiss” domain name. An application must be submitted, and the process takes a good month. The applicant’s connection to Switzerland is verified by OFCOM.

None of this is true for .ch. Anyone who would like to register a .ch address (to target their website at people in Switzerland) is free to do so.

There’s another benefit to this change. We will never be mistaken for a Chinese company again by people unfamiliar with Switzerland’s Latin name (the ccTLD for China is .cn, for the record).

OFCOM’s plan to let Swiss companies clearly communicate who they are on the web is exactly the way that Switzerland, with its high-quality standards, should go. We’re proud to be the first Swiss watch company we know of to take advantage of it.

Everything should be working now  –  if you notice anything is not, please let me know!