The Kopp affair, the secret files scandal, the fall of the Berlin Wall: headline follows headline in 1989. And Beyer welcomes a host of superstars.

TV becomes the first TV channel to play music videos round the clock: it also brings a glimpse of a different life into the grey Zurich living rooms, with flashy outfits, big hairdos and lots of partying. At the same time, these living rooms are few and far between, with a vacancy rate in the city of just 0.04 percent. Demonstrations for affordable housing take turns with marches demanding a Switzerland without an army. The Swiss population votes on whether to abolish the military; about one-third of voters support the idea. The army has never really recovered from this since.


Auch die Politik wird erschüttert: Elisabeth Kopp, die erste Bundesrätin der Schweiz, hatte vertrauliche Informationen an ihren Mann weitergegeben – und muss ihren Posten räumen. Um den Fall aufzuarbeiten, wird eine Parlamentarische Untersuchungskommission (PUK) eingesetzt. Sie entdeckt einen noch weitaus grösseren Skandal: die Machenschaften der Bundespolizei. Wie in einem autoritären Staat hat diese während Jahren fast eine Million Menschen bespitzelt und ihr Verhalten minutiös festgehalten: Der Fichenskandal versetzt die Schweiz in eine Art Schockzustand.


But back to Zurich, where everyday city life is being particularly impacted by the situation around the main railway station. Heroin addicts can be seen begging on every street corner and staggering through the flow of pedestrians towards Platzspitz: the space behind the National Museum has the dubious honour of being known internationally as Needle Park”. And the situation is becoming increasingly desperate. Many people no longer dare go near the station. The Argentinian who is driven from the Hotel Atlantis to Bahnhofstrasse several times in October sees nothing of this. Diego Armando Maradona is staying in Zurich because his SSC Napoli is playing FC Wettingen in the second round of the Uefa Cup. Between training sessions, he visits Beyer Chronometrie where he buys different models by Patek Philippe, Rolex and Cartier for his soon-to-be bride Claudia, her mother, himself and some of his team-mates: seven watches worth 70,000 francs.

Maradona Zürich 1989
Elton John 1989

He’s not the only superstar to visit Beyer in 1989: in the “Golden Visitors’ Book”, hardly another year boasts so many illustrious names. Elton John was there and left his warmest greetings; Eric Clapton, the great watch aficionado; actor Tony Curtis; the legendary disco funk band Kool & the Gang; and other faces you only otherwise see on the big screen – or on MTV. But the year saves the ultimate high point for very end: on 9 November, the Berlin Wall comes crashing down. The downfall of the GDR is sealed and nothing now stands in the way of German reunification. The world breathes a sigh of relief and turns MTV up a little louder.


THAT WAS 1989: 

Picture 1:
David Hasselhoff is king of the hit parade with “Looking for Freedom”.

Picture 2:
Japanese firm Nintendo rolls out the Game Boy.

Picture 3:
“Rain Man” wins four Oscars.

Picture 4:
The inflatable home sauna goes into production.

Beyer Chronometrie