Switzerland may be neutral in many areas of international relations
but when it comes to finding out the time and wanting a time piece to look like a piece of jewellery, or become an ornament for the home, the Swiss really are the best in the world.
In terms of watches, the origins, like many country’s trademarks, comes from quite a backwards and strange way. In 1541 the French theologian John Calvin was a very influential figure in the period of the Protestant Revolution and was powerful enough to cause many of the Swiss population to change the way they not only act but also dress. Jewellery quickly was taken off the menu so the jewellers had to conjure up new ways to keep business alive. This came in taking the existing clocks and just making them a lot lot smaller. Geneva was the hubbub and the craft quickly took off and by the end of the 16 Century it was the capital of the watching making world and even had its own Guild.
The skilled workers then all started moving to the Jura Mountain area, where they set up what would soon become a labour force, thanks to Daniel Jeanrichard, and by around the late 18th Century Switzerland were exporting up to 60,000 watches. As technology then advanced, the Swiss led the way and the perpetual watch and the pendant winding watch all came through. A big turning point came when the pocket watch moved down the arm and onto the wrist, getting smaller along the way. By the end of the First World War it was very much in vogue. Nowadays the like of Tag Huer and Omega make Switzerland the leading watch exporter and the most prestigious devices in the world. Good enough for James Bond at least.
Swiss Cuckoo Clocks
At the other end of the spectrum but still in keeping with time (or time-keeping at least) there is the infamous Cuckoo Clock. The very first Cuckoo Clocks were made in the German area of the Black Forest in the 17th century. The region’s woodcraft had been a long-running tradition for years so it wasn’t a surprise this new skill took off. The clocks haven’t changed very much at all over the years. They are pendulum driven and strike bellows and pipes thus making a chime that resembles that of a cuckoo cooing. Then there is also the famous feather or more traditionally wooden cuckoo figure that comes flying out of the little hole.
The Swiss took the idea in the late 19th Century and added a few little bits of their own. The Swiss Chalet Style Cuckoo Clock has more intricate figures and the likes of children on swings etc, as well as the lead character of the cuckoo.
Top 5 Swiss Chalet hotels in Interlaken
- Chalet Hotel Hirschen – 3-star hotel – Double room from €86
- Bernerhof Swiss Quality Hotel – 3-star hotel – Double room from €110
- Chalet Landhotel Golf – 3-star hotel – Double room from €119
- Chalet Hotel Alpenblick – 3-star hotel – Double room from €119
- Hotel Chalet Swiss – 3-star hotel – Double room from €198
Photo of cuckoo clocks in Lausanne, Switzerland, by Gingerbeardman