For more than four centuries, tradition, craftsmanship and ceaseless innovation have kept the Swiss watch-making industry at the top of its game. Its exceptional dynamism and creativity have made it a state-of-the-art industry credited with many world “firsts”: the first wristwatch, the first quartz watch, the first water-resistant wristwatch, the thinnest, smallest or most expensive watch – the list goes on. The three most complicated timepieces ever created have all issued from the workshop of Patek Philippe in Geneva; one of these, the “Supercomplication”, sold at auction in 1999 for 11 million US dollars, the highest price ever paid for a watch.
Geneva leads the Swiss watch-making industry in terms of excellence and craftsmanship. Virtually an entire industrial zone is now devoted to this sector in the suburb of Plan-les-Ouates (consequently nicknamed Plan-les-Watch). Companies like Patek Philippe, Rolex, Piaget, Baume & Mercier, Frederique Constant, Alpina and Vacheron Constantin combine old world craftsmanship with state-of-the-art computer-aided design and precision machinery.
The showcase for these extraordinary watches are the watch and jewelry shops of downtown Geneva. But Geneva’s luxury goods are in no way limited to watches. Geneva’s fame as a center of luxury was born centuries ago and continues to thrive. Indeed, not only are the finest fashion stores located in Geneva but some of the top companies have their world or European headquarters here. For example, Geneva-based Richemont, one of the world’s leading luxury goods groups, includes several of the most prestigious names in the industry including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Alfred Dunhill and Montblanc.
“We have always produced here and we will stay here. We can find the people we need here in Geneva and in neighboring France. Geneva is a fantastic location.”
Philippe Stern, former President, Patek Philippe
“From a practical standpoint, Geneva is an ideal base for an international company. Located in the center of Europe, it offers quality services and has an international airport just minutes away from our headquarters. Chopard exports to over 50 countries worldwide! In terms of image, Geneva is recognized as one of the most important centers of luxury watch-making.”
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President, Chopard