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Switzerland: Swiss watches

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Swiss watches | Switzerland | Europe

[Visited: December 2006]

The name and fame of Swiss watches is so wide spread that a Swiss watch is equal to punctuality in some languages. Although the output of the Swiss watch industry has been overtaken by the Far East who focus more on mass products, Swiss watches are still a proof of craftmanship and precision, and are a delight to look at. While most watches will actually be too pricey for many of us, it is a pleasure to walk around in the area of Geneva where all well-known manufacturers are represented.

Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watch on display in box in window in Geneva

So I cycled to the old part of Geneva and parked the bike and started walking down the Rue du Rhone - named after the river that, close by, runs down the Lac Leman, better known as Lake Geneva. Right away, I passed one watch shop after the other. Gold, silver, transparent, with diamonds and even fur, large and tiny: I saw watches in all appearances. Sometimes a window had lots of watches on display, but other times an entire window was dedicated to just one masterpiece. Some watches were absolutely horrendous to my taste, but others looked very attractive and true pieces of jewellery. They were all on display in windows that were made very attractive by their owners, in which the watches were often presented as true jewels and pride, in what sometimes looked like an artistic environment.

Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Geneva: watches on display in window of a watch shop

Actually, that is how the watch industry was born in Geneva. In the 16th century, reforms by Calvin banned the use of jewellery, forcing jewellers to look for a new way to make a living. Their new product would be watches, and the watchmakers of Geneva had already established a reputable name. Logically, when Geneva became too full for them, some moved to further north to the Jura area where they further developed the art of watchmaking and the fame of the Swiss watch industry. It was in the 20th century, when an international market developed for watches, that the Swiss industry reached world dominance, producing both the smallest, as well as the most expensive, and thinnest watch.

Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watch on display in window in shop in Geneva
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watch behind window in Geneva
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watches in window in Geneva
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Geneva: still with watches, heart and poster
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watches in simple window in Geneva
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watches and jewellery complementing each other in Geneva
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watches on display in Geneva
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watches in snowy decoration in window
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Painted background for Swiss watches
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Watches and pictures in composition in Geneva
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Jewellery and watches combined into one
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Jewellery and watch in window in Geneva
Picture of Swiss watches (Switzerland): Expensive ladies watch on display in window

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