In 1760, Matthäus Beyer laid the foundation for the impressive family history in the German town of Donaueschingen. In 1822, his grandson Stephan Beyer brought the name and the company to Switzerland, to Feuerthalen in the canton of Zurich. His son opened the first shop in Zurich’s Niederdorf in 1860, and in 1877, Beyer Chronometrie moved to the city’s new epicentre, the Bahnhofstrasse. The company first took up residence in the building of the former Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (today: Credit Suisse) on Paradeplatz square, and in 1927 moved to the other side of Bärengasse, where it has remained to this day. Since 1996, René Beyer has been at the helm, representing the eighth generation of the Beyer family. Like all his predecessors, he is a qualified watchmaker.
Historic documents from 1760 first mention the existence of a watchmaker called Beyer.
The Beyer family originates from the German town of Donaueschingen, in the south-west of Baden-Württemberg, where the Beyers worked as watchmakers and traders. In 1822, 23-year-old Stephan Beyer brings the name to Switzerland.
Around 1830, Stephan Beyer founds a “watchmaker’s and spice shop” in Feuerthalen in the canton of Zurich. The watchmaker probably travels to markets both in the region and further afield, also trading in spices.
A shop is opened at Niederdorfstrasse in Zurich. When Limmatquai develops into Zurich’s main shopping street, Theodor Beyer-Danioth sets up his display windows – still in the same building – so that they faces the street.
The family business moves to new premises in the splendid new Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (today: Credit Suisse) building on Bahnhofstrasse 25, shortly after the street is built. Beyer carries out its business in this magnificent building designed by Alfred Escher for 50 years. A few years after the move, Adelrich Beyer (1858‒1915) takes over management of the company.
The company takes up residence in the brand new Orell Füssli building on Bahnhofstrasse 31, where it is able to rent larger premises. Beyer has remained at this exclusive address to this day.
Beyer’s existence hangs by a thread – a fate shared by many other companies during the global economic crisis. The collapse of several foreign currencies, the absence of German customers and the devaluation of goods causes considerable problems for the company. However, here Beyer’s strong, long-standing business relations pay off: banks come to the rescue, the landlord reduces the rent and brands offer Beyer their support.
Theodor R. Beyer, father of the current co-owner, joins his father Theodor Beyer in the business and takes over the reins in 1955.
Conversion into a company limited by shares. The shares are fully owned by the family.
Patek Philippe starts manufacturing electronic watches; Beyer follows them into this segment in 1968. The electronic timekeeping and acoustics department exists until 1993.
Complete renovation of the premises and opening of the Museum of Timekeeping, later renamed the Beyer Clock and Watch Museum Zurich.
Expansion and further renovation of the premises (exhibition rooms, prestigious sales rooms, additional display windows and offices) and the museum.
Operative management of the company is taken over by the eighth Beyer generation, i.e. Muriel Zahn-Beyer and René Beyer. Since 2003, René Beyer has been the sole managing director.
Complete external and internal renovation of the existing premises.
Opening of the goldsmith’s atelier. Our six goldsmiths create elegant pieces of Beyer jewellery.
We celebrate our 250th anniversary with exclusive events and launch new watches as well as a new jewellery collection to mark the anniversary. The company history is celebrated in a jubilee magazine.
The premises are renovated and converted. A new Rolex area is created and a separate Diamond Centre is opened.
The Patek Philippe boutique opens next door. It is the first retailer-managed Patek Philippe boutique in Switzerland.
Integration of the watchmaking and goldsmith’s ateliers above the shop. All employees now work under the same roof.
Ten honey bee colonies move onto the Beyer Chronometrie roof. René Beyer’s dream of making his own honey comes true.
In April, retail stores have to close for eight weeks to help contain the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic – and this includes the Beyer shop.
The shop on Bahnhofstrasse gets a completely new look. For five months during renovations, a stylish pop-up shop welcomes guests as usual, its sophisticated design hinting at the new premises. A new era of communication is also heralded, with a new slogan – “As long as time exists” – and a fresh new design of the Beyer website.
Beyer now has 62 employees working across sales (Beyer Watches & Jewellery and the Patek Philippe boutique), service, administration and in the watch atelier.