It weighs around 60 kilos, has been hanging on the corner of Bahnhofstrasse/Bärengasse since the sixties and has long since become a trademark of Beyer Watches & Jewellery: our outside clock shows the exact time because it listens to the signals of its master clock in the depths of the shop, which in turn obeys the impulses of the atomic clock to the second via GPS.
Who made this iconic clock, when and particularly how, is a secret that not even René Beyer knows. It was in the sixties when analogue quartz technology created a spirit of optimism. Patek Philippe started to use it to make spectacular clocks for the public domain. To service these and also to develop proprietary systems, René Beyer’s father, Theodor Beyer, founded the department for electronic timekeeping. He had poached the specialists from EWZ. Their first mission was to make Theodor Beyer an outside clock!
Beyer was so pleased with the result that he had all construction plans and files destroyed to prevent the clock from being copied. And later he would in fact be asked for a license from time to time. But the clock keeps its secret to this day. Only pocket watches and miniature clocks have derived their look from the original. As the clock was placed under a protection order in the middle of the 1970s, it was even given a glass roof, although nothing is allowed to be changed on the historic façade of the “Orell-Füssli-Hof”. During the renovation work this summer, the clock was completely restored and revised, and was given new hands and new stepping motors.
Find out more about ticking technical marvels in our time magazine beyond.