This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
FRENCH SWITZERLAND


Continuing Switzerland’s watchmaking tradition


Patrick Schaller:


Story by Katherine Martin Photos by Alison Smith


T e tradition of watchmaking in Patrick Schaller’s family dates back to his great-grandfather who started making watches in Switzerland toward the end of the 19th century.


Schaller’s watch and jewelry store in Montreux features seven different Swiss watch brands.


Schaller, who has been the owner of


Schaller Watches and Jewelry in Montreux for the last 10 years, said Switzerland is famous for the quality of its watches. “T e watches started off being


made by the farmers in the mountains who had nothing to do in the winter because it was snowing and it was cold and they had to wait,” Schaller said. “T ey had time, time, time, and they started to work for independent technical plant.” T e farmers started by making wheels


and tiny parts for the watches. Schaller said that’s where it all began. When the industry began growing, the


farmers couldn’t keep up with the demands of being a watchmaker, so independent businesses began to form. Shaller’s store has been open since 1962. T e family owned a store in Africa for 30 years until they moved back to Switzerland. Schaller fi rst began working in the


watch industry on the business side and then studied the technical side of watchmaking. Doing both, Schaller said, helps in a family-owned business. “Selling is the end for us,” he said. “It’s the beginning for the person who buys the


102| ALPINE LIVING 2011


watch, but for us it’s the end of the story.” Today, fewer jewelry and watch store


owners know how to fi x what they sell because watchmakers rarely sell their own goods, instead selling them through a sales company. Schaller said when he started in the


industry, it was normal for all store owners to be able to fi x their products. Now, because most people only go to business school and not technical school, it is less common for them to sell and fi x their products. Schaller said what he likes best about


working in the watch industry is fi xing the movements inside the watch. “T e good part is when you have to fi nd


out why the watch is not working because it’s always diff erent,” he said. “You have to ask the person if the watch is slow, or if it has stopped, or if there has been an accident and then you go in and look.” Schaller said the great tradition of Swiss


watchmaking is what makes their products the best. “It’s the know-how that you end up


having aſt er so many years and centuries of making the watches,” he said. Schaller sells seven diff erent types of Swiss watch brands in his store; Rolex is


the best-selling product. Schaller said if you asked any Swiss


watch store owner who carries Rolex what their best selling brand was, Rolex would be number one. Other Swiss brands, such as Patek


Philippe, IWC and Cartier, may off er more complicated watches that only have to be wound every eight days and cover two time zones, but Rolex provides a more simple, quality watch, Schaller said. Since he has been in business, Schaller


said the styles of watches he sells have evolved. “If you take the Middle East, they used


to buy very big, very fl ashy watches, the man and the woman,” he said. “Now, they tend to have taste similar to what we like, not many stones, more discrete. On the other hand, you have the Russians and they have very fl ashy taste. So, I think it’s all in the question of the person.” Schaller said there is no longer a high


season for when he sells the most watches because people come to Montreux throughout the year. “Most of the people, the tourist people,


when they come to Switzerland they come to buy watches,” Schaller said. “T at’s what we’re famous for.”


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124