The Swiss watches and clock making industry began in Geneva in around 1550. Reforms implemented by Protestant theologian Jean Calvin banned the wearing of jewels, forced the goldsmiths and other jewellers to turn to a new, independent craft: watch making.
One century later and the success of the industry in the city of Geneva had led to the area becoming crowded with watchmakers. Many of them decided to leave the city for the receptive region of the Jura Mountains.
Swiss watches today
The mass production of watches began at the turn of the 20th century, thanks to the researches and new technologies introduced by reputable watchmakers such as Frédéric Ingold and Georges Léchot. The increase of the productivity, the interchangeability and standardisation of parts progressively led the industry to its world supremacy.
Over the past four centuries; tradition, craftsmanship, high technologies and permanent innovation have allowed the watchmaking industry to keep its leadership in the world watch market.
The watchmaking industry has always been in a position to answer the many technological, economical and structural challenges it was confronted with. Its exceptional dynamism and creative power have made it a state-of-the-art industry.
The watch business has now become Switzerland's third largest exporter after the machine and chemical industries. Swiss-made timepieces are to be found in all the countries of the globe and on the wrists of people of all professions and incomes. The watches on offer from an array of manufacturers encompass everything from quartz fashion watches to mechanical masterpieces.
One of the great strengths of the Swiss watches and clock industry, by comparison with its foreign competitors, is its ability to offer the consumer a genuinely comprehensive choice of products. Having successfully overcome the difficulties in the 1970’s the industry behind Swiss watches is today, as it was yesterday, one of the brightest stars in the Swiss economic firmament.