Originally Posted by edmorel
Does Lexus now carry any less cache than Mercedes?
Actually, much less, as does Infiniti, both of which are frequently referred to (with some accuracy) as rebadged Toyotas and Nissans. This has little, if anything, to do with quality, only with the perception of quality.
Remember also that the early Swiss watch makers for many years tried to emulate the US watch industry of the time (Hamilton, Elgin etc). I doubt anyone in the US in the early 1800's thought that the Swiss would ever be the standard in watchmaking. The British and the Americans had a much, much better product at the time.
I'm not sure if it is generally known outside of the watch collecting community, but the original reason for requiring "Swiss Made" on watches being sold in the US was so they couldn't be sold as a (much superior) American watch (this was in the mid-19th, early 20th Century). That said, with the exception of one or two German watchmakers, there's no one in the world who comes even close to the quality of the best of the Swiss houses, i.e., Patek, Vacheron, JLC, Rolex (on their better days).