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EDITORIAL

Dear Customer, Dear Friends of the Beyer brand, Spring is here, and the world is bursting into flower and bringing the magic of color into our everyday routine. Reason enough to cut out a refreshing new dress for our Beyond magazine too. Our editor-in-chief, Katrin Roth, and her team have done a really good job: The news coverage and interviews from the wonderful world of watches are now presented in an even more elegant and easy-to-read format. And we would like to bring you fresh inspiration with newly created columns. We are keen to find out how you like the new layout, and hope you will enjoy your reading. Yours sincerely,

Inspired: Jean-Claude Biver, editor-in-chief Katrin Roth, RenÊ Beyer and journalist Matthias Mächler after the Hublot fondue (from page 16).

Flower Power: Stylist Mirjam Kaeser in the process of preparing the jewel story layout (from page 26).

New imagery: Photographer Mathias Zuppiger shooting the cover of this issue of Beyond.

Good cards: We put our antique watches on show in the Swiss Casinos in Zurich (from page 46). beyond 16/2013


THE BEYERS (5)

THEODOR RENÉ BEYER

THE CITIZEN OF THE WORLD He carried the good reputation of Beyer Chronometrie abroad: Theodor Beyer (1926–2002) was the Indiana Jones of the watch industry.

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othing excited Theodor René Beyer as much as hearing of an old marine chronometer gathering dust in some out-of-the-way corner of the world, or a long-forgotten watch that had come to light again. Then he seized his little suitcase and set off to recover the treasure – often quite adventurously. And on these expeditions, he could always rely on the active assistance of his wife, Annette Beyer-Wild. Beyer Chronometrie was already a bastion of watchmaking knowledge, but under Theodor R. Beyer, this knowledge was cultivated even further. And when he succeeded in getting hold of the last pieces of the puzzle that were needed to fill the last gaps in the history of the timepiece, the connoisseur was fulfilling a dream he had long nurtured: In 1971, he ordered that the basement of 31, Bahnhofstrasse be cleared, and established the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum. Today, it houses the most important private clock and watch collection in the world, maintained by a curator and continually added to with fresh antique marvels. It is open to the public every afternoon and ranks among the top ten tourist attractions. SPIRIT OF OPTIMISM

The taste for adventure of those days can still be admired, and not only in the museum: In and around Zurich, perfectly functioning clocks and clock movements still testify to that spirit of optimism today. When Patek Philippe started producing clocks for the public domain in 1968, Beyer followed suit, and until 1993 ran a department for electronic time-measurement

and acoustics. The famous Meeting Point Clock in the main train station contains a movement developed by Beyer exclusively for the Swiss Federal Railways. The time displays on the Forchbahn train and the floral clock on the Bürkliplatz are further examples. Theodor R. Beyer’s encyclopedic knowledge was legendary: The Schweizerische Landesmuseum was not alone in seeking his advice (and his sponsorship with a number of exceptional clocks): museums from all over the world asked him to value their exhibits. What most delighted Theodor R. Beyer was

“Theodor R. Beyer’s encyclopedic knowledge was legendary.” Das ist eine Bildleg ende Das ist eine the invitation from the Topkapi Palace Bildlegende Das istineine Istanbul: In 1971, he spent several weeks Bildlegende Daiston ei-e the Bosporus with his wife, putting the Bildlegende museum’s horological collection in order and drawing up an inventory. The consequence of this journey was a lifelong attachment to that museum and its creators. beyond 16/2013


Bringing order to the legendary Topkapi Museum in Istanbul: Theodor R. Beyer.

Private audience: Theodor Beyer (extreme right) and mother Emilie Beyer, as guests of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf.

The taste for adventure showed early on: Theodor Beyer at the age of 14.

In 1986, Theodor R. Beyer suffered a first heart attack. His son René Beyer broke off his year’s teaching and traveling in the USA and took over the management of the family business together with his mother, Annette Beyer-Wild. In 1996, operational management passed entirely into the hands of the 33-year-old – the eighth generation. His father, Theodor R. Beyer, knew that the business was in the best possible hands, and spent the twilight years of his life surrounded by his finest acquisitions. beyond 16/2013

The Clock and Watch Museum and the Meeting Point Clock in the main station: two milestones in Theodor Beyer’s life.

René Beyer, Annette Beyer-Wild and Theodor R. Beyer, 1992.

In the next issue of Beyond, read how Annette Beyer-Wild advised football star Maradona and built up a precious collection of antique puppet automata.


BEYER AND HUBLOT

“I WANT TO B E AB LE TO S I NG I N F RE E D OM” Jean-Claude Biver invites René Beyer for a Hublot fondue in his little chateau, and reveals where he gets his incredible creativity. By Matthias Mächler Photos Hans Schürmann

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igh above Lake Geneva, the little chateau is perched on a height; with geese gabbling in the farmyard nearby. Vines stretch towards the morning sun; indoors, a cozy comfort reigns. The reception rooms express personal taste with an unerring feel for style, and a sixth sense for convivial warmth. “That’s my wife’s work,” says Jean-Claude Biver. “She’s the one who found the house, furnished it and decorated the rooms. My only contribution was the pictures.” While Biver busies himself in the vast kitchen overlooking the estate, chopping garlic and creaming a little corn starch in home-distilled kirsch, René Beyer cuts slivers from the legendary Hublot cheese, the only Gruyère that can be melted into a fondue without adding Vacherin.

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RUBRIK

“The answer will always be found in Nature.” Jean-Claude Biver in the parlor of his stately home. beyond 16/2013


BEYER AND HUBLOT T H E I N N O VAT O R –

Mr. Beyer, what impresses you most about Jean-Claude Biver? The fact that he never ceases to surprise the industry, his friends and even himself with something new. And that he represents values that few people hold anymore. He is a boss of the old school, like my father was, as was so often the case when it was still possible to sustain friendships, even between competitors. Because what was at stake was not just one’s own benefit, but that of the whole industry. Why is that not the case anymore? BIVER: Not only in our trade, but in our world in general, money has displaced ethics and love. Everyone thinks it doesn’t matter how we achieve what we want: The end justifies the means. The only thing that counts now is money. But you can’t buy love! What are the consequences? We can’t seal a bargain with a handshake any more. Instead, we need an 80-page contract drawn up by an American lawyer. The handshake has passed into history, and to a large extent the personal relationships, the true partnerships, have gone with it. BEYER: There are only a few companies left now, mostly family-run firms, where people can talk together openly and honestly. You never know what some watch companies are going to decide tomorrow, just who does the deciding and what rules they are throwing aside. That’s why I enjoy my moments with Jean-Claude so much: in a very un-Swiss way, he speaks plainly, but champions deeply rooted Swiss virtues. His stance is perfectly clear – and it will still be the same in two days’ time. What role does Beyer play for Hublot? BIVER : The same as he does for his customers. René Beyer is a standard of

reference – for quality, service, advice, good stocks, the best offer and a long tradition. In the whole world, there are perhaps eight or ten watch companies like Beyer, but no more! And because René is so important to his end-customers, he is to us too. He is a spotlight: What he says influences the customer directly. That’s why it is so important for us to be with him and receive this light.

Mr. Biver, you're known as a star manager and a marketing genius. What is the recipe for success, apart from good marketing? BIVER : I only believe in marketing with reservations. Marketing is a drug. Marketing is light, light, light! If there is no substance behind it, it’s no more than creating a fashion, which will be out tomorrow. That’s why I always say, if we invest ten million in marketing, we must invest just as much in research. You can only achieve sustainability if this balance is maintained. Substance does not come from repetition or copying, but from innovation. After forty years in the watch trade, what’s your greatest personal insight? BIVER : We need help! As much help as possible! From the day we are born, we have needed help. And we need help to the very end of our lives. We have to get this help, and we have to accept it. But a lot of people don’t want to be given help. Or else they can’t accept it, because they’re not capable of listening. That’s why they don’t make any progress. 30 years ago, you bought Blancpain, 20 years ago you repositioned Omega, 10 years ago you revolutionized Hublot. Are you now planning your next coup? BIVER : Everything I do stems from my motivation – my joy. But I can only have joy if I possess some degree of freedom to

Jean-Claude Biver was born on September 20, 1949, studied business management at HEC Lausanne and trained as a watchmaker in the Vallée de Joux. In 1982, he bought the dormant Blancpain name and turned it into a flourishing luxury brand, in 1992 he repositioned the traditional Omega brand, and in 2004 he joined Hublot and revolutionized the watch market with the “Big Bang” model. Since Nicolas Hayek’s death, Biver has been seen as the great visionary leader of the watchmaking industry. In 2012, he handed over the management of Hublot to Ricardo Guadalupe and took over the post of chairman of the board of directors.

realize visions. If the visions are dictated by a management organization, I’m like a bird in a cage. Then I lose my force of innovation. At 65, I can say that at my age I don’t want to go back into a cage. I want to be able to sing in freedom.

How do you see this freedom thing, Mr. Beyer? People who have to work to a timetable can never be leaders. The ones who help us forward are the visionaries who are ready to put their own resources into risking something that others only do if the bank finances it. You have to have a certain freedom in your life to be able to function differently from the system. Do you allow yourself such freedoms? BEYER (laughing): Yes, luckily for my entourage. I’m a person who is much easier to tolerate if I have my mornings to myself so that I can put my creative moments to use. beyond 16/2013


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BEYER AND HUBLOT LA PONEYRE –

Mr. Biver, your motto is, “Be the first, be different, be unique.” Does that mean you even employ people who are misfits? Of course I do! The ones I can’t countenance are those typical executives with their shiny diplomas: They have me worried. The man who doesn’t have so many diplomas, but instead has good ideas and personality, who may even have had one or two failures – he’s the one who interests me! But the personnel offices only look at degrees. That’s why they so often take on the wrong people. Where do you find the material for your prodigious creativity? BIVER : One crucial experience was certainly Gérald Genta, the greatest watch designer of all time. I wanted him to tell me whether I could mix green and blue on a watch dial. He said to me, “That’s a stupid question that you must never ask me again.” I asked why, and he said, “Because the answer is not mine, but Nature’s. If you can see an animal, or a landscape, or anything in Nature that combines those colors, then those two colors are right.” We were sitting in the train, traveling past a lake; an island came into view. The lake was blue, the island was green, the sky was blue. He said, “There’s your answer.” It was miraculous: that moment changed my life. Do you see Nature as the ultimate lawmaker? BIVER: I’ve done that for a long time; I’m just an old hippie. But at that moment, it was suddenly so clear to me: Nature dictates everything. And she tells us again and again: Sharing is the first act in life, the highest fundamental principle. Without our mother sharing her body, her milk, her breath, there can be no life. Sharing is love. That’s why love is the first commandment of life. All my rules stem from that advice from Genta: The answer will be found in Nature.

Mr. Beyer, what did you think when Hublot started amalgamating materials, like ceramic and rubber? At last, here was someone who had the confidence to break with the classic materials and tread new paths – and this, mind you, at a time when nothing was going on but copying. Also, Hublot watches radiated a sort of virility; class; modernity. But that was just the beginning. What was a much greater surprise to me was that Jean-Claude kept on discovering new alloys and material combinations, like a top-level gourmet cook creating extraordinary new flavor combinations. Amalgamation as a major theme. What actually got you onto that, Mr. Biver? The story of Les Paul, the country and jazz musician, made a great impression on me. He was already experimenting with electricity back in the thirties, trying to extract new sounds from the classical guitar. In the forties, he took his ideas to the Gibson company, where the guitar was connected to an amplifier. In this way, Les Paul and Gibson hit on the electric guitar. This electric guitar has enabled all other musicians to discover new sounds. It was still a guitar. You played it like a guitar. It was the same shape as a guitar. But it made new music possible. I said to myself, “I’d like to do that too.” So I took the traditional watch and linked it to the future. What has been your greatest innovation in your ten years with Hublot? BIVER : That’s easy: our “Magic Gold”. An 18-karat alloy that’s scratch-proof – imagine that! For a metal as soft as gold, that’s a revolution! We have brought gold up to a hardness that is only exceeded by diamond. This innovation will make history, and when our patent expires in 20 years, it will lend wings to all other makers.

Jean-Claude Biver lives with his wife Sandra and the youngest of five children at the chateau of La Poneyre in La Tour-de-Peilz (Vaud canton), where he looks after 7,000 square meters of grounds and runs a dairy farm with 80 cows. He makes the fine Hublot-Gruyère cheese, which he does not sell, but gives away to his friends. Biver had to give up running marathons a few years ago. Instead, he enjoys cross-country skiing, and is particularly fond of uphill skiing, using skins.

What is the Hublot recipe for success? BIVER : We address youth. Admittedly, young people can’t yet afford our watches. But they are our future. And because we appeal to youth, older people want to buy our watches too. Because it is young to wear a Hublot. Most of the luxury brands make the great mistake of only addressing their present-day customers. We do things the other way round: we go out onto the street and awaken the dream of a Hublot. The fondue bubbles gently on the old wooden table in the dining room. JeanClaude Biver has been down to his fabulous wine cellar and brought up a bottle of Chemin de Fer, 2007 vintage, one of the very best Dézalays. He is a host who is so natural, so euphoric and so charismatic that he gives everyone the feeling that they’ve been part of the family for decades.

This is the best fondue ever! How did you get into cheese-making, Mr. Biver? Before watches ever had a role to play here in the Jura, everyone made cheese. From the 18th century, a man would call himself a “paysan horloger” – a watchmaker-farmer. For me, it’s vital to connect with one’s roots. Substance always comes from tradition. Without tradition, there’s no future. beyond 16/2013


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JEWELS

OH, DARLI NG! As enchanting as a blossom, as secret as a dream and as incomparable as love: Our new jewelry is bewitching with the splendor of its colors and forms. Styling: Mirjam Kaeser Photos: Martina Meier

Beyer: Ring in red gold with 58 champagne-colored brilliants, CHF 6,830 Right-hand page: Beyer: Ring in yellow and white gold with tourmaline (1.78 carats) and 27 brilliants in paved setting, CHF 5,760 Beyer: Ring in yellow and white gold with yellow diamonds (2.53 carats) and 15 brilliants in paved setting, CHF 56,900 Beyer: Ring in white gold with an aquamarine (1.39 carats) and 24 brilliants in paved setting, CHF 6,480

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JEWELS

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Wellendorff: “Sonnenflügel” necklace, yellow gold, brilliants, CHF 87,980 Wellendorff: “Sonnenglanz” bracelet, yellow gold, brilliant, CHF 26,600 Left-hand page: A. Lange & Söhne: “Langematik Perpetual”, automatic movement, perpetual calendar, moon phase, platinum, CHF 87,900 Chopard: “L.U.C Lunar One” automatic movement, perpetual calendar, moon phase, power reserve, white gold, CHF 56,530 Breitling: “Transocean Chronograph”, automatic movement, world time, chronograph function, date, stainless steel, CHF 10,740

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JEWELS

Rolex: “Sky-Dweller”, automatic movement, GMT, annual calendar, date, yellow gold, CHF 44,000 Beyer: Solitaire ring, yellow gold, brilliant (0.73 ct), CHF 10,700 beyond 16/2013


Beyer: Ring in white gold, emerald, (8.125 ct), 84 brilliants, Ubt den Blick über die Schultern unCHF 87,500 seres Uhrmachers Dieter Kunden. Und Beyer: Earrings in white gold, erlaubt den Ubt den Blick über die two emeralds, (4.07 ct, 4.35 ct), Kunden. U Ubt den Blick über die 52 brilliants, price on request Schultern unseres Uhrmachers Dieter Damit Beyer:unsere Pendant Kunden. in white Und gold, erlaubt den Ubt emerald, den Blick (23.11 ct), über die 89 Schultern brilliants, unseres price on Uhrmachers request Dieter Damit unsere beyond 16/2013


JEWELS

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Hublot: “Big Bang Tourbillon”, hand-wound, 621 brilliants (3.82 ct), rubber strap, CHF 140,000 Baume et Mercier: “Capeland”, automatic movement, flyback chronograph, date, small seconds, red gold, CHF 19,200 Cartier: “Tank Anglaise”, automatic movement, red gold, CHF 28,600 Jaquet Droz: “Petite Heure Minute”, automatic movement, red gold, CHF 43,200 Patek Philippe: “World Time” watch, automatic movement, red gold, CHF 59,000 beyond 16/2013


JEWELS

Breguet: “Reine de Naples” necklace, white gold, 6 sapphires (7.56 ct), 342 brilliants, CHF 54,000 beyond 16/2013


Rivière bracelet, white Ubt denBeyer: Blick über die Schultern ungold, 68 brilliants (3.97 ct), seres Uhrmachers Dieter Damit unsere Kunden.CHF 18,200 U Ubt den Blick über die Schultern unseres Uhrmachers Dieter Frieden: Rivière bracelet, Damit unsere Kunden. Und erlaubt den white gold, 36 brilliants Ubt den Blick über die Schultern un(14.59 ct), CHF 98,600 seres Uhrmachers Dieter Damit unsere Solitaire Kunden.Beyer: Und erlaubt denring, Ubt white den B gold, brilliant (1.05 ct), CHF 22,590 Beyer: Wedding ring, white gold, 18 brilliants (3.92 ct), CHF 21,700 Beyer: Necklace, white gold, drop-shaped brilliant (0.91 ct), drop-shaped emerald (1.0 ct), 50 brilliants (1.6 ct), CHF 18,580

Grateful thanks to Fabric Frontline, Zurich, and Jakob Schlaepfer Bambola for the fantastic fabrics! beyond 16/2013


A N T I Q U E W AT C H E S

FAITE S VOS J E UX They possess unmistakable grandeur and radiate a timeless charm: Antique watches represent enduring values. Photos: Lucas Peters

LeCoultre: 1955, yellow gold, hand-wound, CHF 4,800 Patek Philippe: Gondolo, 1950, red gold, hand-wound, CHF 18,800 Patek Philippe: Grandes Complications, 1982, yellow gold, automatic movement with perpetual calendar, moon phase and leap-year displays, price on request

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A N T I Q U E W AT C H E S

Patek Philippe: Calatrava, 1939, stainless steel, Breguet numerals, hand-wound, CHF 38,500 Rolex: Prince Branchard, 1932 (estimated), silver, hand-wound, CHF 24,900 Patek Philippe: Lepine, 1924, platinum, CHF 28,800

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Diese Seite: Ubt den Blick über die Schultern unseres Uhrmachers Dieter Damit unsere Linke Seite: Kunden. U Ubt den Blick über die Schultern unseres Uhrmachers Dieter Damit unsere Kunden. Und erlaubt den Ubt den Blick über die Schultern unseres Uhrmachers Dieter Damit unsere Kunden. Und erlaubt den Ubt den Blick über die Schultern unseres Uhrmache

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Patek Philippe: RUBRIK Lepine 1906, yellow gold, hand-wound, minute-repeater, striking mechanism, price on request Our grateful thanks to Swiss Casinos Zurich for their generous support at the Club Privé.


WORKSHOP

How a

TOU RB I LLON works

T H E GO LD E N CAG E A tourbillon outsmarts Earth’s gravity to attain maximum accuracy: Its supremely complex gear train is considered the crowning achievement of the watchmaker’s art. By Hans Holzach

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RUBRIK

In a tourbillon, the balance wheel moves not only back and forth, but also above and below the level of its arbor (for key to numbers, see page 60).

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WORKSHOP 1 4

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Balance wheel Pallet-forks 2 Escape wheel Tourbillon cage Fourth wheel Third wheel Fourth wheel pinion Escape wheel pinion

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n the early 19th century, anyone with a pocket-watch that gained or lost less than a quarter of an hour a day could claim to be the proud owner of a precision instrument. In contrast, a seaman of the same epoch who attempted to use such a pocket-watch for navigation and to set a course for a south-sea island to take in water and provisions, would have had a mutiny on his hands. His ship could miss the harbor entrance by a matter of four hundred kilometers. For this reason, the interest of the navy in reliable clocks for navigation spurred clockmakers in England and France to develop increasingly accurate and regular timepieces. One of them, Abraham-Louis Breguet, born in Neuenburg in 1747, is considered a clockmaker of genius, who made not only ships’ chronometers of the highest quality, but also equally fine pocket-watches, into which he incorporated his countless inventions. A fanatic for accuracy, he also conceived a mechanism of great refinement that eliminated the effects of “gravitational imbalance” in an elegant way: known as the “tourbillon”, French for “whirlwind”. Any timepiece has to have a device to generate its oscillation. In mechanical pocket-watches and wristwatches, it is a balance wheel: a metal ring connected to

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the balance cock by a fine spiral spring. This balance wheel swings to and fro regularly. To achieve a certain accuracy, the wheel must be carefully balanced. This means that the center of gravity of the balance wheel must lie exactly on its axis, to eliminate the influence of the earth’s gravitational attraction. However, the balance spring connected to the balance wheel also swings in unison, stretching and then contracting again. It “breathes”, as watchmakers put it. Although the balance wheel itself may be perfectly balanced, that is no longer true of the balance wheel and spring in combination: This leads to error associated with the center of gravity. Its effect is that a fully wound watch may gain when its crown is uppermost, but may lose by the same amount when its crown is positioned

“The little wheels revolve about a center like planets orbiting their star.”

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downward. Inconveniently, this effect is partially reversed when the power of the mainspring diminishes. Breguet’s solution to the center-ofgravity problem was to make the balance wheel not only swing to and fro, but also rotate about its own axis, generally once a minute. If, at a certain point, the center of gravity of the balance-wheel and spring unit is located above the balance-wheel axis and the watch gains, thirty seconds later it will have moved round below the axis, and the watch loses. In this way, any error of rate evens itself out within no more than a minute. To do this, the balance wheel (1) and escapement (usually the pallet forks (2) and the escape wheel (3), in a chronometer the escape wheel alone), are mounted in a cage (4) supported on bearings so that it can rotate. The fourth wheel (5), however, is screwed to the plate and cannot move. The motion of the cage is imparted by the third wheel (6) via the fourth wheel pinion (7) on the underside of the cage. Thus the escape wheel pinion (8) rolls round the toothed perimeter of the fixed fourth wheel (5). Lastly, the balance wheel is driven by the escape wheel and, where necessary, the pallet-forks. The cage and all the parts mounted in it rotate about the cage staff and, together with the fourth wheel, constitute the tourbillon. This type of drive is also known as a planetary drive, because the small rotating wheels revolve about a center like planets round a star. As gravitational imbalance only makes itself felt when the balance wheel is to some degree upright, tourbillons are not built into timepieces that always lie flat. The action of a tourbillon is most effective when it is used in pocket-watches, which are mostly worn in a hanging position. Nevertheless, it represents a high price to pay for the gain in regularity, since making a tourbillon is regarded as difficult, as are its maintenance and regulation. On the other hand, the sight of a rotating tourbillon, revealed through an opening in the watch dial, is so entrancing that even the most hardened connoisseur of watches feels their heart beat faster. beyond 16/2013

HIGHLIGHT —

This year’s finest tourbillon comes from Jaeger-LeCoultre: To celebrate its 180th anniversary, the Manufacture has produced a surprise that is something of a sensation.

Bewitchingly refined: the “Master Grande Tradition Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel”. For the first time, a Manufacture has combined a “flying” tourbillon with a cylindrical balance spring: The new Jaeger-LeCoultre mechanical caliber 985 with automatic winding offers a breathtaking horological spectacle. The tourbillon cage in titanium (grade 5), the large balance wheel in 14-karat gold and the balance spring give the visual impression that the tourbillon is hanging suspended in the heart of the movement. But the back of the “Master Grande Tradition Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel” is also a fascinating sight: Through the sapphire crystal case back, one can admire the decorations on the movement, carried out by hand in the old watchmaking tradition. The oscillating weight in 22-karat gold reproduces the gold medal with which Jaeger-LeCoultre was distinguished at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris, for its skill

and inventiveness. The jubilee watch is a blend of classicism, purity and rationality. Its case, in extra-white platinum, is a tribute to the 19th century and is inspired by pocket-watch style, as is the design with markers, the classical minute track, the grained, silver dial and new, extremely sober Dauphine hands. The watch also owes its elegance to the very clear arrangement of the perpetual calendar on the dial, with day, date, month, year and moon phase. The seconds hand is located directly over the tourbillon and accentuates the “heartbeat” of the watch.

Master Grande Tradition Cylindrique à Quantième Perpétuel” (Ref. 504 65 20 PT), 42 mm diameter, extra-white platinum, limited edition of 180, 155,000 francs.


BAHNHOFSTRASSE (2)

F ROM TH E SÄU MÄRT TO TH E PARADE P LATZ

Before it became the most expensive cobbled square in Switzerland, the Paradeplatz had been many things: a livestock market, a parade ground and a post-coach base. By Ulrich Mahler

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nyone who has ever played Swiss Monopoly knows that the Zurich Paradeplatz is the most expensive real estate in Switzerland. Around this elegant cobbled square in the heart of the city stand the head offices of Credit Suisse and UBS, and only the most exclusive shops can afford the prestige of this site. It was not always so. Until the middle of the 15th century, the square lay outside the city walls, on the main road to Wollishofen and Graubünden. It was used mainly as a livestock market, and bore a corresponding name: Säumärt. The crowds poured out of the Katzentor and Wollishofer Tor gates and converged from all the surrounding countryside to trade here. It is said that there were times when it stunk to heaven. In this respect, there was little change when, on the present-day site of the Credit Suisse building, an arsenal was constructed and the square was used not only as a livestock market, but also by the army as a parade ground. It was not until 1642, when the third city fortification was built, that the Säumärt came into the city limits and altered in character. Its surroundings took on the attributes of bourgeois houses with gardens – and local residents saw addresses appreciate in value. In 1819, the Säumärt was renamed “Neumarkt” – the New Market. A CENTER FOR POST COACHES

Its central location was also recognized by enterprising people who, on the one hand, wished to move out of the cramped houses

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of the old town into more commodious surroundings and, on the other hand, were convinced that the new main train station would be built here on the Neumarkt as planned (a delusion, as it turned out). In 1838, Johannes Baur, of Vorarlberg, opened his Hotel Baur en Ville (today the “Savoy”) as the city’s finest tourist hotel next door to the recently completed “Posthof” (today the “Zentralhof”), the largest post-coach center in Europe. In this way, the Neumarkt, which partly straddled the former city wall along the dirty Fröschengraben moat, became one of the squares with the busiest traffic in Zurich. When the confectioner Sprüngli moved his business from the Marktgasse in the Niederdorf to new premises on the Neumarkt

in 1858, the city’s old arsenal buildings were still standing on the opposite side of the square. But after that, this area went upmarket very quickly, and the square and its environment were fundamentally changed within a century. In 1864, work started on filling in the Fröschengraben between Rennweg and Neumarkt; in 1858, the Neumarkt was renamed “Paradeplatz”; in 1866, the first section of the new Bahnhofstrasse (“Station Road”) was opened to coach traffic; and in 1870, the new main train station was inaugurated on the northwestern outskirts of the town. In the same year, Alfred Escher purchased the arsenal land from the city of Zurich and built the majestic head offices of the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (today the Credit Suisse), in beyond 16/2013


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The Paradeplatz through the centuries: 1840 (1), around 1900 (2), around 1700 (3) and as a traffic node, with Rösslitrams, in 1888 (4).

which Beyer Chronometrie would also have its place of business for fifty years. Shortly before the turn of the century, the new Paradeplatz was essentially complete: The imposing structure of the Kreditanstalt on the west side, the Sprüngli building on the east and the Hotel Baur en Ville on the north were complemented on the south side by the Bankverein building (today, UBS). HORSE-DRAWN CABS AND THE RÖSSLITRAM

The elegant square was an important traffic node from the start, however. At first, it was busy with horse-drawn cabs, hotel carriages and post coaches, then the horsedrawn tram, the Rösslitram, halted here before making its squeaky way through the Poststrasse and over the Münster bridge to the Limmatquai. And today, the square is a stop on no less than seven tram routes, as well as a place where you can always count on finding a taxi – also thanks to the banks. Even if the first thing the word “Paradeplatz” calls to mind is these banks, and the second thing perhaps the important property on the Monopoly board: one thing in its identity has been unchanged for 175 years: It is a place where, thanks to Sprüngli, the sweet side of life comes to the fore. beyond 16/2013

The present-day site of UBS was once where the Zurich executioner lived. T H E U N LOV E D E X E C U T I O N E R’ S H O U S E

The house “Zum Schanzengatter” with its stepped gables, near the end of the Bleicherweg, was as hateful to the residents as the stink of the livestock market, as from 1654 to 1718, it was the home of Zurich’s executioner. Popular feeling eventually had its effect: From 1718, the municipal executioner had to exercise his horrible

function outside the city gates – until the post was abolished in 1834. Nevertheless, the last execution in Zurich took place many years later: on the present-day Bahnhofplatz at dawn on May 10, 1865. 15,000 eager spectators came to see the child-murderer Heinrich Götti hang.

Beyond 16/2012  

english translation

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