Since 1541, watch making has become synonymous with Switzerland, even more so than chocolate, cow bells and fabulous beer. Reforms implemented by Jean Calvin during this time banned people from wearing jewellery, so Swiss jewellers turned their attentions instead to the craft of watch making.
What has developed over the past five hundred years or so has been nothing short of amazing. Swiss time pieces are now closely associated with the very best in form and function, and there are a number of different manufacturers which uphold this grand tradition of watch making brilliantly.
Raymond Weil was established in 1976 in Geneva by Raymond Weil, now chairman of the company. One of the last independent watch companies in the Swiss watch making industry and bearing the motto “independence is a state of mind”, the Raymond Weil style of watch is characterized by the innovative use of both materials and technology whilst retaining a great degree of respect for classic design and Swiss watch making heritage. The brand has a number of claims to fame, too -1983 saw the premier of the film Amadeus by Milos Forman. A collection of watches from the company based on the film was brought out in that year.
Tissot, another Swiss brand name linked with classic form, style and function, was founder in 1853 by Charles-Emile Tissot and Charles-Félicien Tissot. From its headquarters in Le Locle, Switzerland where the company has been based since its beginning, Tissot has now expanded to reach one hundred and fifty countries and is now part of the largest watch distributor in the world. The Tissot Omega line of watches from the 1980s continues to be one of the most sought after collections the company has produced and in the brand has many famous followers including Elvis Presley, James Stewart and Angelina Jolie.
Guccio Gucci set up his luggage and leather goods store in Florence Italy, in 1921. The company, which had already established itself as one of the major fashion houses in the industry grew to encompass time pieces –Gucci watches– which reflected the classic Gucci look. Gucci watches incorporated much of the many familiar design features shown in the collections on the catwalk with all the sleekness and sophistication combined with the best in Swiss watch making technology. One of the most famous and highly sought-after Gucci watches comes with the letter G as its main feature –a slightly smaller G for the women’s watch.
Swiss timepieces are often associated with the best in technology, form, function and a long held respect for traditional Swiss craftsmanship. Perhaps this is unsurprising; it is after all a skill which Swiss watchmakers have been so carefully developing for over five hundred years, and it is one which continues to develop, with each new innovation in design and technology.