How did the Swiss become the best watchmakers in the world?

How a great luxury business was born, almost by accident….. Many great businesses have started with something else than what they promote today and the Swiss watch industry is no exception. How did the Swiss became the best watchmakers? Initially, Switzerland was the jeweler’s homeland. The first watches were not produced in Switzerland as we erroneously believe.

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According to Factroom, the first artisans who produced luxury watches in Europe were actually German, French or Italian. Geneva of XVI century was a city of jewelers, a city of masters in miniature, luxury and elegance. All this contrasted with Calvin’s reforms, who preached modesty, humility and abstaining from any luxury. Left without occupations the jewelers have started to show interest about the newcomers occupation like Italian, French and German – the watchmakers.

Soon, the jewelers, artists of the miniature, craft taught the newcomers craft, whom they quickly exceeded with their skills and meticulously, transmitting this tradition from father to son. This way has formed the fame of “Swiss watch”. No other profession is so close to the jeweler as the watchmaker. From here, it all began. The Watch-jewel: unbeatable, but so expensive! The safest way to counter the competition with the serial producers is the returning to an old and very expensive idea: the watch-jewel. Gold and gems represent the quality certificate for an unbeatable clock, but it proved that is not enough. The Swiss watch manufacturers defend not only the fame, but also the very survival of this wonderful business that brings investors one of the highest financial returns in the world.

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Read more about luxury watches in this month’s Watch International.
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