The Beyer Watch

The design of this watch emulates the giant timepiece that hangs outside the Beyer shop. It has served as a trademark for decades, and can be seen from a long way off on the Bahnhofstrasse.

prev
next

Junghans Mega wrist watch, Junghans Uhren GmbH Schramberg Germany, around 1990

Radio-controlled wristwatch in a futuristic design, with a stainless steel and black ceramic case and black leather strap. Digital time display, with a perpetual calendar in English, battery change indicator, reception indicator and time zone button.
Automatic time adjustment from DST to standard time. Movement no. 26/0014006.

The Junghans Mega 1 is the world’s first radio-controlled wristwatch. Connected with the atomic clock at the German National Metrology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig, a powerful antenna inserted into the strap receives the standard Germany longwave time signal. The PTB transmitter has a range of approx. 1500km and was previously used primarily for scientific purposes, such as navigation or space travel. The watch is automatically synchronised daily between 2.00am and 6.00am.

prev
next

Halcyon “Inter Chron Electronic Transistorized” wristwatch, Germany, circa 1972



Stainless steel case with polished bezel and a light-brown crocodile leather strap. Blue dial with orange neon second hand, distinctive white hour and minute hands and date display at 3 o’clock. The crown is hidden in the corner of the case between 4 and 5 o’clock. Junghans calibre 600.12 with electronically controlled balance motor.

The calibre is based on the predecessor model 600.00, which made its appearance as the first electromechanical calibre in 1967. Calibre 600.12 is considered the last and most sophisticated version to be launched on the market.

prev
next

“Beyer” Rolex men’s wristwatch, hand-winding movement, Geneva, circa 1937

Men’s wristwatch with stainless steel case and stainless steel link bracelet. Case back with reference number 3539 and case number 040209. Hand-wound mechanical movement. Silver-coloured dial with copper-coloured hour graduations and “Beyer” signature. Seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. The addition of one’s own name in combination with that of the watch manufacture was reserved for specialist retailers of high repute.  

The link bracelet is rather atypical of this model and this period, which suggests that this Rolex originally had a different bracelet.

prev
next

Erland/Joseph Schwob-Weill pocket watch, La Chaux de Fonds, circa 1890

Lépine gentlemen’s pocket watch with digital, 24h jump-hour indicator. The hour display can be changed manually from Roman to Arabic numerals by means of the push button on the edge of the case between 12 and 1 o’clock. Blackened steel case, with an inset fine yellow-gold bezel. Silver-plated dial with blued steel hour and minute hands and small seconds subdial. Gold-plated bridge movement, screw compensation balance and compensating lever.

prev
next

Lépine pocket watch, Patek Philippe & Cie. Genève “Extra”, Geneva, circa 1919

Large Geneva anchor escapement chronometer, “Extra” grade, with smooth polished silver case and signed dust cover. Silver-plated dial, radially arranged Roman hour numerals, blued poire hands and small seconds subdial. Movement number 178450 on dial at 12 o’clock. Movement: “Extra” bridge movement, wolf’s tooth winding wheels, blue sapphire jewels, Guillaume gold screw compensation balance and regulator spring adjustment.

In 1919, the watch was entered in the “Chronomètres 1re Classe 3me Prix” chronometer competition of the Geneva Observatory and came 21st out of 81 chronometers in the “Chronomètres 1re Classe” category. From the very beginning, Patek Philippe & Co. specialised in the manufacture of portable pocket and deck chronometers (marine chronometers, observation watches) and was successful in numerous national and international competitions. Since 1900, the firm has won 764 prizes from the Geneva Observatory alone, among them 187 first prizes.

prev
next

Beyer Zürich 1. Classe” pocket watch, Western Switzerland, circa 1930

Lépine pocket watch with a blackened steel case. Chronograph for the seconds and 30-
minute counter dial at 12 o’clock. Small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. White enamel ”Beyer Zürich, 1. Classe” dial, encircled by a fine rose gold bezel, the bow and crown similarly in rose gold. Nickel-plated lever movement with Breguet hairspring and compensation balance.

The pocket watch lies in a box lined with red velvet. This box bears witness to the very early success of Beyer Chronometrie.
Beneath the lines of the business address are the words: “LIEFERANT für Kaiserl. und Königl. HOHEITEN” (PURVEYORS to Imperial and Royal HIGHNESSES).

prev
next

Girard-Perregaux pocket watch, La Chaux de Fonds, circa 1888

Highly ornamental and lavishly decorated double-sided gentlemen’s pocket watch with full calendar and original certificate, manufactured for the South American market. 18K/750 yellow gold case with guilloche bezels on both sides. Rhodium-plated bridge movement and gold screw compensation balance.

The silver dials on both sides are lavishly decorated with circular and floral guilloche patterns. Gold floral applique ornaments add further embellishment to the front and back. Hour and minute dial  with blued poire hands and blackened guilloche radial Roman numerals. The other side shows the blue enamelled moon phase with a golden moon and stars at 9 o’clock and has an outer ring for the date indication.   

prev
next

“Montre Médaillon à Tact”, Abraham Louis Breguet, Paris, circa 1809

Extremely rare gold enamel “Montre Medaillon de Souscription à Tact” savonette  pocket watch, embellished with demi pearl beads, 36mm diameter, 47g. Gold enamel case, the front and back with elaborate radial decoration. Translucid, dove-blue enamelled rotating front cover with applique arrow “sous émail” for the hour indication. “F” engraved on the back, middle section decorated with demi pearl beads to “feel” the time. Numbered and signed gold cuvette Tavernier No. 2934 with the case maker’s stamp “PBT” (Pierre Benjamin Tavernier). Beneath the spring-hinged cover is the gold plate with small guilloche subdial and blued Breguet hands, signed Breguet N 2378. Movement: small calibre 31.58mm diameter, key wind, ruby cylinder escapement, three-arm gold ring balance, parachute shock absorption. Original winding key belonging to the watch.

Breguet was the first watchmaker to manufacture such a watch. He sold the first of its kind at the beginning of 1799 to Madame Betancourt, the wife of his best friend. He made various versions of this watch and it proved extremely popular, in spite of the tremendously high prices of between 1500 and 3000 francs. In the early 19th century, these sums were huge even for the exclusively wealthy customers. One of the reasons for the popularity of the watch was that it was considered unseemly at the time to look at a watch in public. These very costly watches allowed their owners to tell the time with their fingers, “feeling” the time without removing the watch from their pocket. The front cover with the golden arrow turns until it is arrested at the bead representing the current hour.

The 2378 watch was sold in 1809 for 2025 francs to Madame Savari, née Félicité de Faudoas-Barbazan. Extract from the Breguet family register of 2012 (see photo on the back).

Félicité was a distant relative of Joséphine de Beauharnais (Napoleon’s first wife) and married to the Duke of Rovigo, René Savary, a loyal follower of Napoleon Bonaparte.

prev
next

Lépine “Beyer Zürich” pocket watch, Switzerland, circa 1950

Silver pocket watch “in a pin-stripe suit”. The bezel and entire case back are decorated with a blue & silver pattern of pinstripes and tiny dots using the niello technique. A flat, gold-plated crown sits on the silver stem of the bow. Silver-plated dial with Arabic numerals, blued poire hands for the hour and minutes and a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Moeris movement.

Fritz Moeri was born in Lyss in 1860 and died in Geneva in 1935 at the age of 75. He is regarded as a creative watchmaker of his day. There was a patent on his name as early as 1892: CH4872 for a chronograph with a digital minute counter display. With Moeri&Jeanneret, further patents and inventions followed, such as the design of an antimagnetic pocket watch with a pin lever. The inexpensive pocket watches with this movement brought the first economic success, with the firm winning a medal at the Swiss National Exhibition in 1896. Several changes of company name later, and after the death of the last managing director Roger Moeri, the Fabrique des Montres Moeris was liquidated. Tissot took over the brand and all patents in 1970.

prev
next

Lépine pocket watch, Switzerland, circa 1795

Exquisite and very well preserved golden gentlemen’s pocket watch with calendar and equation of time indication. Case number 1405 4635, 54mm diameter, 108g. White enamel dial, hours subdial at the bottom with Arabic numerals, at the top left the chapter ring dial for the minutes and at the top right the chapter ring dial for the months. Fire-gilt full plate movement, key wind, chain and fusee, three-arm brass balance, finely finished balance bridge with delicate openwork ornamentation and engraved floral motifs.

The equation of time is indicated by a golden hand in the shape of a sun within the time dial. The equation of time is the time difference between true and mean solar time. True solar time is the time shown on sundials, for example, while mean time is a calculation based on the annual average of true solar time and is the basis of our clock time. The mean solar time is ahead of true solar time in winter and behind it in summer. The maximum variation ranges from plus 14 minutes and 28 seconds to minus 16 minutes and 20 seconds. True solar time is measured by the passage of the sun through the local meridian at noon on two successive days. There are tables showing the equation of time, but it can also be expressed in a graph. On this basis, watchmakers craft a complication for true solar time over the entire year and integrate it into the movement.

prev
next

Lépine pocket watch, Eugene Jeanrenaud, Biel, Switzerland, circa 1886

Outstanding “Montre Universelle” world time watch made to Swiss patent with visible balance. Polished silver case with a graduated bezel and the case maker’s stamp “JM”. Silver bow stem and bow. The gold-plated pull-out crown also serves as the winding key. Light blue and white enamel dial decorated with tiny gold beads. At the centre is the visible balance, surrounded by 6 subdials showing cities and their respective times: Paris, New York, Melbourne, Calcutta, Alexandria, and at 12 o’clock the time in Bern. Full plate movement, decorated and silver-plated, rocker winding mechanism, lever escapement, free-sprung balance spring and screw compensation balance.

The case back is beautifully engraved on the dust cover with the words: Montre Universelle, Eugene Jeanrenaud, Bienne, 1886. (Picture)

prev
next

Lépine IWC pocket watch, Schaffhausen, circa 1910

International Watch Co. IWC pocket watch with a 900 silver case and niello decoration.
White enamel dial with Breguet numerals, copper-coloured Louis XV hands and small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Bow decoratively striped in niello technique. Movement no. 549633, hand-winding. The case back is elaborately embellished and similarly finished using the niello technique. It depicts an idyllic scene with a pair of swans on a lake or pond, with their shape reflected on the surface of the water. The swans are surrounded by a landscape of reeds, trees and bushes.

Niello is a decorative technique usually applied to silver, more rarely to gold, and in more recent times also to copper or bronze. It is a metallic enamelling technique in which an alloy of silver, copper, lead and sulphur is worked into a powder. The powder is filled into the recesses of the carrier metal and subsequently fired. This process produces the magnificent niello blue. The recesses can be engraved, chased, chiselled or etched into the metal. The workpiece is then sanded and polished to finish. This technique is also known as tula, named after a Russian city.

prev
next

Savonette pocket watch, Mermod Frères à Genève, Geneva, around 1900

Rose gold case in blue niello technique, decorated middle section, numbered and signed gold cuvette. White enamel dial with radial Roman numerals, outer minutes ring with Arabic numerals and 5-minute graduations. The bow and crown are in the 3 o’clock position. Small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Bridge movement made of German silver with decorative stripes, gold screw compensation balance, blued balance spring and compensating lever.

This richly decorated pocket watch is accompanied by an original horn casket. The spring-hinged cover and case back curve outwards and are engraved with identical patterns. Two shell blowers sit symmetrically on the left and right of a lidded vase and are surrounded by lavish flowers and foliage.

prev
next

Longines gentlemen’s pocket watch, Longines Watch Co., Switzerland, circa 1909

Richly decorated Lépine gentlemen’s pocket watch, 18K/750 yellow gold in an elaborate art nouveau repoussé case. Two-colour gold-plated guilloche dial with radial Roman numerals, blued Breguet hands and small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Rhodium-plated bridge movement, calibre 18.89M, chatoned minute wheel, screw compensation balance and swan neck regulation.

The bezel on the front is decorated with the twelve signs of the zodiac, which are assigned radially to the corresponding hours/months. The back is lavishly decorated with a high relief. At its centre is Chronos - the god of time in Greek mythology. He simultaneously symbolises the passage of time and of life. Chronos is surrounded by three female figures, vines, palm and olive branches, cornucopias, and all manner of weaponry. On the upper edge are the five signs of the zodiac: Gemini, Taurus, Aries, Pisces and Aquarius. The bow is designed in the shape of a pair of sphinxes.

prev
next

Shell necklace watch, Geörgen Biell, Hamburg, circa 1640

Rare, North German oval necklace watch in the shape of a shell with an hour hand. Fire-gilt case, pendant with rotatable ring and seven-part hinge. Full plate movement, fire-gilt, signed “Geörgen Biell Hamburg”, chain and fusee, verge escapement, baluster pillars, two-arm iron balance without balance spring. Delicately engraved balance cock with openworked floral ornaments, above a blued and engraved ratchet.

prev
next

“The Lock” form watch, Switzerland, circa 1800

Very ornate, rare gold enamel form watch in the shape of a lock and set with demi pearls. Gold case, intricately engraved and stamped, with colourful enamelwork, semi-circular pendant bow with a blue & black enamelled pattern and exquisitely decorated with pearls. The hinged front and back covers are adorned with two crest-shaped images set with tiny pearls: the picture on the front shows two golden doves engraved on a blue enamel background, while the back features a colourful enamel painting of Cupid sitting in a rose blossom. The concealed dial has polychromatic enamelling, and displays a blue chapter ring and a light-blue enamelled and engraved star at its centre. Gold hour and minute hands on a black background. Gold-plated full plate movement, chain and fusee, key-wind, brass three-arm balance and openworked engraved balance bridge.

prev
next

Decorative travel clock, “Beyer”, Movado Switzerland, circa 1950

Gold-plated, rectangular travel clock with silver-plated dial and Beyer signature, date display and polished bezel, applique golden indices and gold hour and minute hands. Gold-plated case with guilloche crosshatch pattern and polished closure. The clock is wound manually by opening and closing the case; this turns the inset crown, engraved with a flower motif, and winds the movement. When it is closed, the watch can also be worn as a piece of jewellery, as a pendant on a chain. When the clock is open, a rest on the back can be opened so that it can stand on a surface like a small table clock.

prev
next

“Bucherer” form watch, Switzerland, circa 1960

Decorative form watch, with Bucherer signature, cylinder-shaped. Hand-wound by means of the crown, which is also visible when the case is closed. Silver-coloured dial with engraved indices. The metal case has a longitudinal striped pattern interrupted by two stripes running crosswise and radial engraving on the top and the bottom ends.
When the case is closed, the watch can also be worn as a piece of jewellery, as a pendant on a chain. A metal tassel hangs from an eyelet on the base, further adding to the watch’s decorative quality.


prev
next

Desk clock, Stahel, Zurich, circa 1930

Desk or table clock, hand-winding, Swiss eight-day movement and alarm movement.
Chrome-plated steel case with an adjustable bow-shaped foot, which can be rotated by 360 degrees. The indices on the cream-coloured dial are polychromatic depictions of various winter activities and sports. The Stahel specialist retail shop for watches and jewellery is still based in Zurich.




New Acquisitions

Every year, the collection of the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum is supplemented with fascinating timepieces from earlier eras, as well as more modern watches from recent times. In 2015, René Beyer and Jürgen Delémont acquired a number of exquisite horological masterpieces. Consequently, each year the museum’s collection is enhanced with additional pieces and completed with missing objects.

The comprehensive portrayal of man’s relationship with time, as is conveyed by the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum in Zurich, is a great enrichment to the places of interest in the city of Zurich. Three employees, who between them work the equivalent of a 135% position, look after the people who visit the museum. In 2015, we welcomed a total of around 8,500 guests, three-quarters of them from abroad. This is just one reason why since 2015 nine iPads have been in operation to provide our visitors with comprehensive information in German, English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.