As I mentioned in a previous post, Geneva benefitted significantly when well-educated, skilled tradesmen found refuge in the city during the Reformation. One such way is in timepieces, most importantly, the wristwatch. Due to John Calvin’s strict hold on the city, he did not appreciate any luxurious items being created just for luxury’s sake (for more on this, read about Old Town and the Cathedral). So, those goldsmiths and silversmiths had to find some practical activity in which to dedicate their talents. Keeping time was practical. Thus, how Geneva became known for the wrist watch.
Everyone wants a Swiss wrist watch. They are known for their exquisite detail, design and reliability. And, you can’t walk very far in Geneva without hitting a store selling them. However, don’t get excited about buying a Swiss watch when you visit us. With the exchange rate and price of goods in Switzerland, it’s much cheaper to buy your Swiss watch in the US.
If you like watches, when you visit us, you can tour the Patek Philippe Museum. Patek Philippe is a brand of watches, based in Geneva. In fact, the most expensive watch ever sold was a 1933 gold Patek Philippe, for $11 USD million. Don’t worry – you don’t have to shell out that much cash to get a Patek Philippe. The cheap versions start at about $10,000 USD.
The museum has four floors of displays on keeping time. The ground floor contains actual work desks & tools used in the early days. The top floor, 3rd floor, contains the archives and a library. The 2nd floor has the antique collection. The 1st floor holds time pieces from the last 150 years.
When Gabe’s cousin, Couch Surfer , was here, we caught a Patek Philippe visit late Saturday afternoon after her 4:20 train arrived, knowing it would be closed Sunday and Monday.
It was a worthwhile stop. My favorite pieces were the timepieces for women, discretely designed to look like necklace pendants. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take photos inside the museum. However; from this video, you can get a gist of the miraculous pieces contained inside.
*Sunday and Monday, most of the museums are closed in Geneva. Plan accordingly with your visit if you want to hit museums and tours.