The Heritage of Swiss Watches

Jewellery is the medium through which crafts-manship and creativity combine to create artistic objects of desire.

– Jörg G Bucherer, Chairman of Board


By Epoch Times Staff

For centuries, Switzerland has long been lauded for its world-renowned watches and its high-quality watchmaking.
It is everyone’s dream to own a Swiss watch—a symbol of quality and class. The precise engineering, combined with the signature intricate designs, entices buyers from around the world. The “Swiss-made” stamp has become one of the most valuable labels a watch can have.

Approximately 90 percent of Swiss-made watches are manufactured in Switzerland’s Jura Arc “Watch Valley”. The picturesque Jura Mountain is the mecca for luxury watches lovers—it is where museums showcase the secrets of watchmaking and unique masterpieces, and family-owned artisan workshops display beautiful works of art. Families in this scenic Jura region have dedicated their life to watchmaking for generations.

The city La Chaux-de-Fonds – located up in the Jura mountain at 1,000m altitude – is the headquarters for several prestigious watchmaking manufacturers, including Rolex, Tissot, Patek Philippe, Ebel, Girard-Perregaux, and Omega.
Also known as the watchmaking capital of the world, La Chaux-de-Fonds is where Swiss watchmaking developed to world standards. Today, it remains the heart of the Swiss watch industry.

The ticking of a watch, the pulse of life – the sound of the traditional mechanical watch. Ingenious Swiss watchmakers have dedicated their life to watchmaking, creating unique designs for the consumers’ pleasure and satisfaction.

The Birth of the Swiss Watch Industry
Before the invention of timepieces in early BC, humans relied on planting seasons and harvesting times to determine the time.

In 1500 BC, the Chinese and Egyptians invented the first timepiece—the sundial. This was followed by the Greek water clock in 325 BC.

In 1275, the first mechanical clock appeared in England. In 1400, blacksmiths began installing bells within the clocks in large mansions.

And in 1541: the Swiss watch industry is born.

During the second half of the 16th century, the Huguenot refugees from France and Italy arrived in Geneva to escape persecution. There, they imparted knowledge of manufacturing portable timepieces to Geneva.

It was also during this time that the strict ruler of Geneva, John Calvin, banned people from wearing jewellery. This forced goldsmiths to venture into another talent—watchmaking skills acquired from the Huguenot refugees.
In 1601, The Watchmakers’ Guild of Geneva was established, and by 1700 the town of Geneva was manufacturing 50,000 timepieces annually.

In the beginning, the watchmaking industry was mostly concentrated in Geneva, but subsequently the craft spread to Nauchatel, Switzerland—the Jura mountain region.

By 1820, Nauchatel was producing 130,000 timepieces each year. And by the mid-19th century, watchmaking had spread its influence to the cantons of Solothurn and Bern. By the end of 19th century, Swiss watchmaking industry had extended to Basle and Schaffhausen.

The Swiss watch industry flourished during the 19th century, and overtook the English to become the world’s most important watch manufacturers.

During the early 20th century, Swiss watchmakers added calendars and stop watch functions to their watches. Rolex produced its first waterproof watch in the 1920s, and the first automatic watch was made in Grenchen, Solothurn Canton in 1926.

In 1983, when the global advent of quartz watches threatened traditional Swiss mechanical watchmakers, the Swiss ASUAG group presented its analogue quartz watch, the Swatch, a high-quality watch at an affordable price. The Swatch proved to be a hit globally, reviving the Swiss watch industry.

Various Swiss watch brands can date their lineage back to the formation of the industry. Today, the art of Swiss fine watchmaking continues to thrive, and watches are Switzerland’s third-largest export.

125 Years of Bucherer History
In 1888, Carl-Friedrich Bucherer opened his first watch and jewellery shop in Lucerne. Today, Bucherer is a leading jewellery and Swiss watch boutique; and a popular tourist destination in Lucerne.

The family-owned Bucherer legacy has endured for more than 125 years, its first-class jewellery range and prizewinning creations have established an exclusive reputation.

One of Europe’s most traditional watch and jewellery specialists, Bucherer’s stores attract an international clientele with jewellery creations and an extensive choice of luxury watch brands.

Bucherer AG has fifteen stores in Switzerland, eight in Germany and one in Vienna. In spring 2013, Bucherer opened the world’s largest watch and jewellery store in Paris.

Consummate Creations of Light
The heritage of Carl F Bucherer is extraordinary, with its 125 years of experience in working with diamonds and gemstones. The company has built an impressive portfolio with its exquisite range of top-quality jewellery and its award-winning creations.

Traditionally, the name Bucherer stands for the highest quality, and is regarded as one of the largest suppliers of diamond jewellery. Every diamond is examined in accordance to strict criteria, and its quality and characteristics are confirmed with a certificate.

A Perfect Symbiosis for Eternity
Bucherer’s newly launched collection of Solitaire and Eternity rings are heavenly matched symbols for loving soulmates, and delicate jewellery pieces that express more than a thousand words.

With six different ring designs to suit the couple, the rings are made of white gold and emblazoned with sparkling diamonds. When placed together, they form a beautiful symbiosis for eternity. Petite and timeless, these flawless rings are unique and precious symbols of love.

Vive Elle: The Roaring Twenties Revitalised
The Roaring Twenties represented a golden era of cultural liberation—jazz music, parties, chic cosmopolitanism, and an irresponsible joie de vivre dominated the scene as the world emerged from the depressed years of World War I.
The 1920’s also saw the emergence of strong-willed and independent women, who took on once male-dominated vocations with confidence and aplomb.

Bucherer’s latest jewellery collection, Vive Elle, captures the energetic and carefree essence of that era, and caters to the modern, self-assured woman of today. Taking inspiration from Art Deco, the 20-piece collection of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings is characterised by brilliant diamonds set in intricate, flowing forms of white gold and platinum.

The central figure-of-8 design element permeates the collection, lending a whimsical yet modern edge to the pieces. Glamorous and sophisticated, these versatile pieces are equally suitable as casual chic accessories in the day, and as dazzling eye-catchers at evening events.

The Vive Elle diamond jewellery collection is available at various price levels ranging from CHF 3000 to CHF 500 000 (S$4,304 to S$717,381).

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