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Swiss watch history

Watches have been a Swiss speciality since the middle of the 16th century, the Geneva region being particularly famous in this respect. It was the puritanical reformer, Johann Calvin (1509 - 1564) who encouraged the people of Geneva to 'dress simply' and to avoid 'all that silly pomp and snatching at human glory'.Evidently, the people of Geneva found it difficult to accept Calvin's dictate, for the townsfolk were reluctant to live without any jewellery at all. In line with political correctness, they began to buy watches from that point in time - watches designed with elaborate decorativeness by jewellers who were converting to watchmaking, and whose volume of work increased remarkably. The watchmaking trade in Geneva today still enjoys a lofty reputation.

Later in the 18th century, watchmakers settled along the Jura, not least because there were already so many in Geneva by that time. By the end of the 18th century 60,000 watches were already being exported annually. The watch industry rapidly developed into an independent economic entity in Switzerland.

The first automatic winding watch - a pocket watch - was invented by Louis-Abraham Perrelet in the Jurassic Swiss town of Le Locle in 1770. The marching movement of the wearer caused impacts, which in turn caused a weight to move upwards and downwards resulting in the winding of the watch. The watch was referred to as a 'Montre à secousse' (shock wave watch) in Switzerland and as a pedometer watch in England.

In 1870 Breguet perfected the perpetual (everlasting) watch in Paris - probably using Perrelet's idea as a base.

Subsequently, further important trends developed, such as the chronograph by the Frenchman Rieussec in 1821, the drag indicator of the chronograph by Louis-Frédéric Perrelet in 1827 and the perpetual calendar.

The first wrist watch was available on the market after the First World War. Eight years later it was also available in an automatic version.

Since then watches have continued to develop further. LCD displays, quartz watches , auto quartz watches without batteries, watches set with diamonds and finally the personalized watch we're offering you to emphasise your individual personality.

121TIME watches are made in Switzerland according to strict Swiss Made quality criteria and are based on an ETA, Ronda and Sellita movements.