History: Swiss Legacy

May 10th, 2012 | 3 Comments

What’s so great about the Swiss anyway? They seem to have it all – breathtaking landscapes, amazing chocolate, neutrality, and of course world renowned watch making. So how was this watch making legacy built?

The Swiss watch and clock industry dates back to the middle of the 16th century when it first appeared in Geneva. In 1541, reforms banned the wear of jewels. This ban forced artisan goldsmiths and jewelry makers into a new profession – watch making. After 100 years of perfecting craftsmanship, the reputation of Genevan watches was highly regarded. This tradition of excellence continued through the years and spread across the rest of Switzerland.

Many kinds of watches were invented by the Swiss including the “perpetual” watch or in French “Montre à secousses”. This watch, created in 1770, was the precursor to the modern self-winding watch. In the mid 19th century, pendant winding watches hit the market. Adrien Philippe, one of the founders of the famous Patek Philippe watch company, invented these watches.

From this point onward watch making became increasingly more sophisticated and features such as chronographs and perpetual calendars were introduced. Awareness about Swiss watch making really hit the world stage in the 20th century when watches began being mass produced.

The Swiss continue to be pioneers in the watch making industry, holding their brands to extremely high standards. Swiss design is synonymous with to luxury, ingenuity, and impeccable design and functionality. Some well-known Swiss watch brands include Rolex, Omega, Hublot, and Tag Heuer.

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