ADVANCES IN ELECTRICITY
Nevertheless: During this time, the business profited from the fact that Zurich had recently overtaken Basel as the country’s financial capital. And that the epicentre of this development was right at Beyer’s doorstep – on Paradeplatz, where the city’s horse-drawn trams, referred to as Rösslitrams, had been introduced just a few years prior. Word had it that the trams would soon be powered with electricity. But first the street lamps would be converted, then private homes: In 1888, the city of Zurich began the process of electrification, which in 1892 resulted not only in the founding of the EWZ, but also in the incorporation of the autonomous municipalities of Riesbach, Fluntern, Hottingen and Hirslanden, which became official in 1893. It is not clear how IWC and Beyer came together. We like to imagine that Johannes Rauschenbach-Vogel travelled along the Bahnhofstrasse in a Rösslitram and paid Adelrich Beyer a visit. Or perhaps it was his mother, Emily Beyer, who ran the business after the untimely death of her husband. We also imagine that Rauschenbach-Vogel did not have to push too hard to be included in Beyer’s product range: The Beyer family is originally from Feuerthalen, which is a neighbouring village of Schaffhausen. The partnership would have been a point of honour. Not to mention the fact that the watches were already of high quality at that time.
As it turns out, the two companies worked very well together. Both sides responded to the other’s needs from early on in the partnership. This paid off not only in terms of revenue, but also in terms of exciting custom models that are guaranteed to get collectors’ hearts racing. The friendly relationship and mutual inspiration continue to this day: When it came time to renovate the Beyer shop, IWC approached Beyer Chronometrie proactively with ideas for a lounge. Together, they developed an elegant seating area with a fireplace where, today, Beyer has the honour of presenting a unique selection of models from Schaffhausen.
1888: WHAT ELSE HAPPENED
The Eiffel Tower was erected in Paris, the adding machine and the revolving door were invented in America, and inflated bicycle tyres were invented in Scotland. Carl Benz received the world’s first driving license for his motorised vehicle. Wilhelm II became Germany’s final emperor. Vincent van Gogh painted different version of his“Sunflowers”. Jack the Ripper terrorised the London borough of Whitechapel. In Switzerland, the Brünig railway line was inaugurated, and Gottlieb Duttweiler was born.