J.G. Baer Sumiswald main clock around 1910, school building Luchs-Wiesen
As a new attraction this year, each month the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum will be exhibiting a different rarity from its collection of electronic clocks. In July, we are featuring the J.G. Baer Sumiswald main clock, which was manufactured around 1910. Beyer has a close affinity with electronic watches, as it developed a number of its own between 1964 and 1988. To this day, some of them can still be seen in public places, such as the clock at the Meeting Point at Zurich’s main train station and the Flower Clock at Bürkliplatz.
The history of the electric clock dates back to the early 19th century. In the wake of industrialisation, the development of global communication and the increase in travel, the need for reliable timekeeping devices also grew. As early as 1862, German watchmaker Matthias Hipp installed a clock system comprising master and slave clocks in Geneva. In addition to electric power, a clock system always features a master clock and a number of subsidiary or slave clocks, which receive impulses from it. Electric watch systems were widely used in large companies or in public buildings, such as schools, hospitals, railway stations and airports. Nowadays, most clocks are electronically controlled by a radio signal transmitted by a centralised atomic clock.