August 1st Swiss National Day: When Switzerland Opens up to the World
Celebrating International Horological Relations on Switzerland’s National Day
It would perhaps make sense to talk purely about Swiss watch brands on this Swiss National Day, but Switzerland is not only famous for its watches, but also its neutrality and international relations. The country is home to the United Nations and often serves as an intermediary between countries. It also hosts numerous international treaty conferences, as we saw recently with Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. In the private sector, it is also important to note that the country has the highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the world.
This connection to other countries and cultures is also present in the watch industry as numerous brands span different countries. This geographical and cultural diversity brings creativity and innovation to the Swiss watch scene with a host of companies that traverse nations and continents. Here are a few of our favourites.
Kerbedanz – Armenia
The family of the founder and president of the Neuchâtel-based brand, Tigran Kerbedanz, hails from Armenia and credits his love for watchmaking to his uncle, a respected blacksmith, renowned for his ability to shape metal and repair antique clocks.
In connection with this Armenian heritage, the brand created a special timepiece using the Armenian alphabet that was presented to His Holiness Pope François in 2018. The curves and entangled angles of the Armenian letters were invented by the Monk Mesrop Mashtots 405 AD and are still in use today. His Holiness does not accept gifts and most presents are auctioned for the good works of the church. Only a small number of these donations join the Vatican Museums, and Kerbedanz was particularly proud to have its timepiece kept as a reminder of the Armenian people and their alphabet.
Kerbedanz team meets the Pope © Kerbedanz
Trilobe – France
Trilobe watches may be made in Switzerland but their design is 100% French. The brand’s founder Gautier Massonneau released the inaugural series “Les Matinaux” after three years of research and development, shaking up the world of Swiss automatic watches with a surprising eccentric design. The brand launched in Paris’s Musée des Arts & Métiers with Hugo Marchard, Star Dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet, a far cry from the halls of the traditional Swiss watch shows.
Photographed here is a model from this first “Les Matinaux” collection that celebrates each brand-new day with a unique way of reading the time with its three circular indications.
Les Matinaux Collection © Trilobe
Ralph Lauren – USA
When the American fashion house Ralph Lauren launched into the world of high horlogerie, eyebrows were raising all over Switzerland, but not for long as the famous luxury house soon proved that bringing fresh eyes to the world of Swiss watchmaking brought new creativity. When it came to design, Ralph Lauren was not mildly concerned with what the rest of the watch industry had been doing for the last 500 years and trusted his instincts, putting everything from teddy bears to wood on his watches and their success is the proof that it is good to shake things up a bit!
Montre Ralph and Ricky Bear & Automotive Chronographe © Ralph Lauren
Montblanc – Germany
With its headquarters in Hamburg, Montblanc makes a large range of luxury goods from writing instruments, leather goods, travel items, new tech, and watches. For their horology offering, everything is made in their two manufactures based in Le Locle and Villeret, in the heart of the Swiss Jura mountains, while its leather goods are made in Florence, and its writing instruments are made in Germany.
As early as 1906, Montblanc’s three founding fathers were already looking beyond Germany in the search of both exceptional craftsmen and women and for an international clientele that quickly brought the company worldwide renown.
1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100 © Montblanc
Eberhard & Co. – Italy
Eberhard & Co. was founded in Switzerland’s La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887, but has had a connection to the Italy since the 1940s when it started producing timepieces for the Italian Navy. The Italian link was further solidified in 1969 when the Italian entrepreneur Palmiro Monti bought the company, which remains in the same family today. Still based between Italy and Switzerland, the brand has released many collections that are inspired by Italian culture and history, such as the Frecce Tricolori, a chronograph dedicated to the famous Italian aerobatic flying squad, and the Tavio Nuvolari Limited Edition, a homage to the famous Italian racing driver.
Managing Director Mario Peserico © Eberhard & Co.
So today at WorldTempus, we are celebrating both Switzerland and its openness to the rest of the world, as we are always more innovative when we open the doors to new ways of thinking.
Since 1887, Eberhard & Co. has been synonymous with passion, innovation and attention to detail and design. These values have defined the Maison ever since it was founded.Find out more >
Kerbedanz combines excellence with uniqueness to create exceptional timepieces.Find out more >
Synonymous with excellence in craftsmanship and design, Montblanc has been pushing the boundaries of innovation ever since the Maison first revolutionized the culture of writing in 1906.Find out more >
Ever since the Ralph Lauren brand was founded, it has been synonymous with elegance, refinement and timelessness – and the same values are present in the brand’s timepieces.Find out more >
A horological iconoclast, intent on breaking free of traditional watchmaking. A new way of telling the time, poetry on the wrist, an emotional connection. Trilobe is all that, and much more.Find out more >