Swiss national day A journey around Switzerland for the 1st August
For Swiss national day, WorldTempus invites you to discover the country through the horological creations that celebrate the identity and values of Switzerland.
In 1291 the regions of Uri, Schwytz and Unterwald swore an oath on the banks of Lake Lucerne. These three early cantons promised to keep the peace, and assist each other in the event that they were attacked. This Federal Pact, considered Switzerland’s oldest constitutional text, marked the birth of Switzerland. Over the years the country’s borders expanded, and new cantons joined the confederation, which grew from the original three to encompass the 26 we know today: Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Glarus, Zug, Fribourg, Solothurn, Basel-Land, Basel-Stadt, Schaffhausen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, St Gallen, Graubunden, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Jura.
Every year on the 1st of August the Swiss commemorate this historic event with great pomp and ceremony. Traditional firework displays and bonfires are enjoyed by old and young alike. In some villages, the national day also means traditional music and regional dishes to delight the senses.
To get you in the mood, WorldTempus invites you on a journey around Switzerland, as seen through the watches and watchmakers flying the flag all over the world. Who knows, this selection might also help you choose the ideal watch to go with your traditional lederhosen or dirndl, or those red and white garments you’ll be wearing to celebrate...
Typical Swiss food
To keep up your energy for the long day ahead, you’d better take care of that rumbling stomach. What would you say to a hearty fondue or a raclette, made with a good local mountain cheese? A 100% Swiss H. Moser & Cie Swiss Mad Watch would also fit the bill. With an authentic calf leather strap, this watch comes in a case made of genuine Swiss cheese, specifically gold medal-winning Vacherin Mont d’Or, to which has been added itr2©, an innovative composite material. The dial echoes a Swiss flag, with its red colouring and doubled markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, sketching out a white cross.
Swiss Mad Watch © H. Moser & Cie
If you’re feeling peckish, your blood sugar is dipping or you just fancy a sweet treat, a few squares of chocolate – or the whole bar, if you must – will give you an energy boost. The brown Méga Tapisserie dial of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph is the spitting image of a bar of chocolate, but it’s unlikely to melt in your mouth. Careful of those teeth! The brown rubber camouflage strap could also be mistaken for a delicious combination of white, milk and dark chocolate.
Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Chronograph © Audemars Piguet
Did someone mention Toblerone? For sporty types, or those who enjoy a post-prandial stroll, the mountain on the packaging of the famous pyramid-shaped chocolates really does exist. The Hublot Big Bang Chronograph Zermatt Edition invites you to discover this prestigious ski resort in the Valais, overlooked by the majestic 4478m-high Matterhorn. This Swiss icon dominates the small seconds counter at 9 o’clock, and also features on the sapphire caseback. Available in stainless steel or 5N 18K gold, the watch has a bezel made of 100% natural slate, reminiscent of the Alpine landscape with its mountain huts and granaries that are characteristic of the Valais region. Once again, Hublot brings in the Art of Fusion, combining slate and carbon to give the material a rock-hard consistency.
Big Bang Chronograph Zermatt Edition © Hublot
Once at the foot of the Matterhorn, it’s time to take a photo. “Cheese!” That’s one for the family album. And while pictures of the Matterhorn will certainly find their way into many photo albums, Jaquet Droz provides an opportunity to take away a souvenir on your wrist, with the Grande Seconde Moon Swiss Serpentinite, which includes a fragment of the famous summit. As its name suggests, the dial is carved from serpentinite, a particularly difficult stone to work with, taken from the steep sides of the Matterhorn, not far from the Hörnli hut where the first intrepid climbers took shelter.
Grande Seconde Moon Swiss Serpentinite © Jaquet Droz
If you take a walk through the vast meadows that surround the peak, you can admire the many cattle, mainly of the Hérens breed, grazing there. In spring, at “inalp” time, when the herds go up to their mountain pastures, the cows fight to prove which is the strongest, and the duels sometimes continue up into the mountains. The best is crowned “queen” and is given the honour of leading the herd back down at “désalpe”, decorated with the most impressive floral headdress. This “Combat des Reines” is illustrated on the Blancpain Villeret 8 Jours Manuelle, whose dial features two cows fighting against the backdrop of the Matterhorn. The fighting cows are immortalised in hand-engraved gold, on the shakudō dial (an alloy of gold and copper). The different colours are achieved by using the rokushō technique, which involves plunging the dial into a bath of copper salts. The cows’ impressive collars were created with the Damascening technique. Yellow gold is inserted into a cavity carved out of the plate, then hammered and engraved to give the desired effect.
Blancpain Villeret 8 Jours Manuelle © Blancpain
A corner of nature, in the city
For those who prefer water and the beach, Geneva has welcomed the holiday mood with the brand-new Eaux-Vives beach on the shores of Lake Geneva, which opened this summer. Patek Philippe, whose museum is located at the heart of the city, reproduces the harbour area with its imposing surrounding architecture on the back of the pocket watch Ref. 992/152G-001. This model, produced to celebrate the watchmaker’s 175th anniversary, focuses on the art of engraving.
Pocket watch ref. 992/152G-001 © Patek Philippe
Zermatt has its Matterhorn, and Geneva has its Water Jet. Tourists flock each year to admire it and take photos of this emblem of Geneva, which soars to a height of 140 metres. In the event of strong winds or storms the jet is sometimes turned off, to the disappointment of visitors, who have sometimes come from the other side of the world to see it, and are forced to leave empty-handed. A Ref. 5089G-013 by Patek Philippe, decorated with the water jet and a circle of boats floating on the lake, might make up for this disappointment and bring a smile to the lips of an unlucky visitor. The flower clock that ticks away in the Jardin des Anglais also draws crowds.
Ref. 5089G-013 © Patek Philippe
But while many people believe that Geneva is the capital of Switzerland, it’s actually not; that honour goes to Bern. For this new destination, the Slim d’Hermès Grrrrr ! with its miniature-painted enamelled dial, will be your guide. A bear? Yes! The city of Bern is known for its bear pit, which is a delightful place to visit on your next trip to the capital.
Slim d’Hermès Grrrrr ! © Hermès
Art and sport
Artistically, Switzerland is something of a hotbed of graphic novelists. Some graphic series have even been made into animated films, including Yakari (by Derib) and Titeuf (by Zep). To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre turned to Zep to design the enamel dial of the one-of-a-kind Zep Reverso for Only Watch 2011. This rose gold timepiece features a playful scene showing Titeuf in the middle of a jumble of watch gears and cogs. The charismatic hero with his yellow quiff also figures on the reverse, running on top of a large letter Z, the initial of the Genevan illustrator.
Reverso by Zep for Only Watch 2011 © Jaeger-LeCoultre
And, while we’re on the topic of running, football is also a very popular sport in Switzerland. In Basel, for instance, city life is ruled by the calendar of local team FC Bâle 1893. On match day, families and fans of all ages can be found heading to the stadium to support their team. On Champions League finals night, the chants resonate around the arena, and the atmosphere is electric. The Saint-Jacques stadium has also hosted some epic national team matches. To keep track of playing time (which is sometimes too long, and at other times too short…), Carl F. Bucherer, the official sponsor of the Swiss Football Association, has the ideal companion for supporters: the Patravi ScubaTec ASF Special Edition. This watch, whose dial sports the ASF logo in a mosaic motif, comes in a red and white version for the more patriotic, and a more discreet black version with red and white touches.
Patravi ScubaTec ASF Special Edition © Carl F. Bucherer
All that’s left for you to do is warm up your vocal cords, and get ready to sing the national anthem as night falls.
Audemars Piguet is one of the few independent family-owned watch businesses and has been based in Le Brassus, in Switzerland's Vallée de Joux region, at the heart of the fine watchmaking industry,...Find out more >
Blancpain is the archetypal Manufacture: with a watchmaking heritage dating back several centuries, it has successfully preserved its watchmaking tradition, whilst welcoming a spirit of innovation.Find out more >
Watches of technical perfection and beauty, through tradition and the force of innovation. Carl F. Bucherer is an independent Swiss watchmaker with expertise in the production of precious...Find out more >
“La Montre Hermès” has adopted an epicurean philosophy that values the creation of sober, contemporary timepieces.Find out more >
From the outset, Hublot has embodied design and innovation that differ markedly from the established watchmaking order. With the impetus provided by Jean-Claude Biver, by 2004 these values had...Find out more >
Ever since the brand was established in 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been enchanting lovers of beautiful objects. Its craftsmen and craftswomen, the guardians of the inventive spirit of company...Find out more >
An elegant, outward-looking philosophy that dates back to the Age of Enlightenment is still at the heart of Jaquet Droz's identity. The fine and rare handcrafts practiced at the company’s workshops...Find out more >
Patek Philippe enjoys outstanding renown and rare prestige, due to the constancy with which the Manufacture has applied its philosophy of excellence ever since it was founded.Find out more >