Friends who like watches will be no stranger to Switzerland. Swiss-made watches basically cover the entire watch market. Swiss watches account for 40% of the world’s total production, and every 10 exports worldwide have 7 pieces from Switzerland. No matter what level of consumer market it is facing, you can see Swiss watches. And those who usually pay attention to watches must be familiar with the two major watch exhibitions in the watch industry each year. One is the Geneva Watch Exhibition that will be held at the beginning of the year, and the other is the Basel Watch Exhibition that will be held in April each year. The two watch exhibition exhibiting brands cover almost all important watch brands and are the most watched watch events in the bezel. As you can see from the name of the watch exhibition, they are held in Geneva and Basel, Switzerland. In addition to the two Swiss cities related to the watch exhibition, there are also a series such as Schaffhausen and Longines. The name Soymia is derived from the geographical names of Switzerland. In the face of these familiar and unfamiliar names, let’s take a look today and walk around Switzerland with Swiss-made watches.
Switzerland is located in central Europe, with Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. The whole territory is dominated by plateaus and mountains, known as the ‘Roof of Europe’. Switzerland is one of the richest, most economically developed, and highest living standards countries in the world. Its GDP per capita ranks among the highest in the world, its tourism resources are abundant, and it has the reputation of a world park. Bern is the seat of the federal government, and the country’s two famous global cities, Zurich and Geneva, are ranked first and second in the world’s highest quality of life cities, respectively.
Switzerland is not only the ‘kingdom of watches and clocks’, but also has a developed financial industry and is a world-famous ‘financial country’. Switzerland also has a long history of armed neutrality, and has never been involved in international wars since 1815.
Geneva-the clock capital of the world
The Swiss watch industry began in Geneva in the 16th century. At that time, there were already big clock towers in the world, home clocks and wall clocks. France, Italy, and Germany have begun to use lightweight watches extensively. In the 17th century, Geneva became one of the important centers of watchmaking in the world.
The great development of watchmaking in Geneva was due to the important influence of the religious reforms that took place in Western Europe in the 16th century. In 1517, Martin Luther launched a religious revolution against the stereotypes and customs of the medieval Holy See. The campaign was well received by the public and quickly expanded throughout Europe. The impact on Geneva, adjacent to France, was a farewell, and the fate of the city changed. In 1541, John Calvin came to Geneva to instill revolutionary ideas into the city with his powerful appeal. Huguenots in France left their homeland to escape religious persecution. Many of them have taken refuge in Geneva, and most of them are master watchmakers.
In the 19th century, people invented more complex wristwatches, self-winding watches, watches with perpetual calendars, watches with precision chronographs. After the development of the Geneva watch industry, it affected the external radiation, thus forming a situation of producing watches nationwide. For centuries, Swiss watches have gradually established their supremacy in the world of watchmaking with its excellent quality, exquisite craftsmanship and rich variety. Today, those watchmaking families and brands that we like to gather are gathered here: Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Chopard, Rolex, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Frank Muller, Roger Dubuis, Hublot, Baume & Mercier, Frederique Constant, etc. .
The well-known Patek Philippe Museum is located in the center of Geneva and has a rich collection. It displays watches produced by the brand in various periods. At the same time, the history of the world’s clocks and watches, as well as a variety of precious watches and exquisite enamel collections were shown to people. The ground floor of the museum reproduces the workshop of the time, displaying more than 400 pieces of old tools and machinery. There are also workshops for repairing antique watches. From the central building to the fourth floor, there are more than 4,000 books about clocks and about 700 company documents. Then descend to the third floor, where more than 500 precious European timepieces from the 16th to 19th centuries are collected. On the second floor, visitors can also see models of all kinds of watches and clocks made by Patek Philippe since its establishment.
Basel-the venue of the world’s largest watch exhibition Baselworld
Basel is Switzerland’s third largest city, located at the junction of the Rhine Bay and Germany and France. It is the most important transportation hub connecting France, Germany, and Switzerland. It is an international city.
The Basel International Watch Fair held here in April every year makes this place a sacred place for watch fans. Baselworld is one of the world’s largest watch and jewellery fairs, dating back to the Schweizer Mustermesse Basel (MUBA) “Swiss Basel Sample Fair” originally held in 1917. To this day, Baselworld has become a grand rally for the jewelry and watch industry.
Baselworld is the ultimate convergence platform for the entire watch and jewelry industry, covering all sub-sectors of the watch and jewelry industry, including: watchmaking, jewelry, diamonds, gems and pearls, machinery and supply industries. About one of the world’s top brand exhibitors from multiple countries exhibit their latest creative products for the first time at this annual event. Not only that, the economic benefits brought by this exhibition are also huge. The Swiss watch industry with a participation rate of 95% achieved an export value of about 100 million Swiss francs annually.
The 2014 Baselworld has just ended. The Watch House made a detailed report on the entire exhibition. Has any new product touched you?
Neuchâtel-a holy place for watches and clocks
Neuchâtel is a city in western Switzerland, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Neuchâtel. Some cities are on the slopes of Chaumont and some are on the beach. Neuchâtel is one of the watch industry centers, and is also a famous ancient city of watches and clocks in the Jura region. It retains a strong medieval color. Culture and education here are developed, including the University of Neuchâtel, physics school, library, art exhibition hall, and Gothic church built in the 12th century. And there are beautiful natural landscapes such as Lake Neuchatel.
Neuchâtel is the main concentration of the Swiss watchmaking industry. Many watchmaking companies settle here, and the movement factories of Piaget, Panerai, Bvlgari and Bethel are located here. As an ancient medieval town, Neuchâtel is known for its observatory. This is the authoritative certification site for testing the accuracy of clocks and watches. It is not difficult to imagine its important position in the Swiss watchmaking industry. Today, the atomic clock equipped by the Neuchatel Observatory is still the most accurate timekeeping device in the world, marking the highest achievement in Switzerland in terms of clocks.
If what you can’t miss here is Jaquet-Droz’s auto puppet, which you can’t see anywhere else in the world. Shortly after the brand was born, Jacques Droe and his inventors’ talents produced jewellery equipped with micro-mechanical devices, musical clocks (such as the ‘Beam Warbler’ clock), automatic doll clocks, and automatic doll machines. The ‘writer’, ‘painter’, and ‘musician’ dolls they made in 1774 could write, draw, and play music after they were wound, which became a news that hit Europe at the time. The three mechanical puppets that once swept the European royal family have now become immortal legends and are treasured in the Neuchatel Museum of Art and History.
Jura Valley-a master watchmaker in the valley
There is no doubt that the Jurassic region of Switzerland is currently the world’s most important center for the manufacture of fine watches, and it is also the place where the fine watch craftsmanship originated. The cold weather in the mountains in winter makes it impossible for people to work. First people sat around the stove to make clocks. At first, it was just a handicraft for pastimes during the leisure time. Gradually, the craftsmanship matured. His name was sold at the market, and the watch brand was born …
From Geneva in the southwestern corner of Switzerland, through the Jurassic Mountains, to Basel, which is adjacent to Germany, this is almost a map of the Swiss watchmaking industry, not only covering the birthplace and production place of most high-end watch brands in Switzerland There are also many boutiques, museums and clock schools. The famous Geneva Watch Show and the Basel Watch and Jewellery Show are like two levels above and below. The narrow and narrow Jurassic Mountains is a living watch legend.
The Jura Valley is known as the ‘Clock of Watches’. As the core area of the entire Jurassic watch manufacturing industry, it includes not only the village of Brassus where Audemars Piguet’s headquarters is located, but also the two top watch brands of Jaeger-LeCoultre and Blancpain In Le Sentier town, we can even find the movement development institutions of Vacheron Constantin and Breguet. Statistics show that there are hundreds of watchmaking companies established here.
There are many independent watchmakers in the Jura Valley. These people are not only craftsmen but also chemists, artists, and sculptors. They may spend only one year making only one watch. It takes more than 2,000 hours to complete a hand-made movement, which is the real secret of what Swiss watches can now call luxury.
Somia-Longines in the valley
When referring to Soymia, I could not help thinking of Longines. A series of Longines was named after this place, and this is where Longines originated and developed.
With a population of about 5,000, Somia is a French-speaking region in Switzerland, in the middle of Western Europe and northwest of the Jurassic Mountains. The expanses of fir trees stain the mountains lush, and in winter they are snow-capped. The town is located in an open valley, and you can overlook the Alps by climbing up the mountains beside the valley.
Since settling in Soymia in 1832, Longines has established a close relationship with the village. As the only watchmaking company founded and still based in Soymia, Longines has always adhered to its values: tradition, elegance and sport. At the end of 2011, Longines inspired the birthplace of the brand’s long tradition of pure watchmaking, and launched a series of watches named after Somia. These extraordinary mechanical watches are the time that grew out of this fertile soil that has bred a brilliant and pure watchmaking tradition.
Summary: The Swiss watchmaking capital is far more than that, such as Bill, where the Swatch Group headquarters is located, Grunchen, the watchmaking center of the world, and Schaffhausen, where IWC is located, etc. These watch capitals produce most of the world’s watches every year. Wandering in the ‘Kingdom of Watches and Clocks’ in Switzerland, you will feel that watches and clocks are everywhere, and the watch culture has already penetrated into the life of this small European country. If you are a watch enthusiast, you might as well plan a Swiss watch tour and have a real intimate contact with Swiss watches. (House of Watches / Text Source)