Clocks with weights, gears and regulators inspired devices, most often with no dial, that struck the important moments of community life.
In 1291, Prince Asulid of Yemen made a remarkable astrolabe.
The Mongols invaded Central Asia and settled in the Russian steppe.
1291 End of the Crusades in the Holy Land.
1291. Foundation of the Helvetic Confederation by a perpetual pact - the "Eternal League" - between the three forest cantons or Waldstätten: Uri, Schwytz and Unterwald.
In China, some 400,000 craftsmen were employed in the manufacture of luxurious porcelain, textiles and metalwork for the Emperor.
The dominant style in Central American arts and crafts was Mixteca-Puebla, with its colourful, geometric patterns.
1302. Philip the Fair convened the first Etats Généraux in France at which the three Estates were represented.
Fairs in Le Bourg du Four spread Geneva's fame throughout Europe.
Giotto (1266-1337) began painting the frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, which he completed in 1305. His work expressed an awareness of volume and space that was characteristic of that era.
Construction of Siri, the second city of Delhi.
Giovanni de Dondi of Padua built his Astrarium : an astronomical clock considered to be the wonder of its age. Although the original has disappeared, a replica was made based on detailed descriptions left by its creator.
Jean the Good of France died in London where he had been negotiating peace with Edward III of England. The conflict continued for a further one hundred years.
The first emperor of the Ming dynasty.
Mixtec craftsmen produced goldware whose beauty and delicacy was admired throughout Central America.
Development of the mainspring. Combined with the fusee, this innovation made possible the truly portable domestic clock and, as components grew smaller, paved the way for the production of watches.
1398. Timur (Tamerlane) conquered a large part pf northern India.
1415. Jean Hus, reformer of Bohemia, and Gerolamo da Prag were burned at the stake for their claim that it was against the morality of the Gospels for monks to possess material assets.
Between 1410 and 1450, goldsmiths were making enamelled jewellery in Geneva.
A new style of art emerged in Italy with the early Renaissance or quattrocento, embracing classic styles and the importance of perspective.
Andrei Roublev (1360/70-ca. 1430) : master of Russian icon painting.
A flourishing period for Chinese decorative arts.
Work began on the construction of the Forbidden City.
The mechanical watch appeared simultaneously in Italy, Germany and France. Its principle remained dominant for almost five centuries, until the late 1970s and the advent of the electronic watch.
Christopher Columbus discovered America
Shen Zhou (1427-1509) and Wen Zhengming (1470-1559) were famed throughout China for their calligraphy.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Italian architects remodelled the Kremlin.
1510 The Portuguese navigator Alfonso de Albuquerque captured Goa, 400 km south of Bombay. The city became the mainstay of Portugal's East Indian empire until it was returned to India under Nehru on December 12th, 1961.
Michelangelo (1475-1564) began work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Work with precious metals developed using gold and silver imported from South America. Goldsmiths such as Cellini and Caradosso worked to designs by artists including Raphael, Romain and Dürer.
Watchmakers competed to produce smaller and smaller watches that could be easily carried.
In 1518, François I spent a fortune on two watches set in daggers.
In North America, the fur trade developed into a major economic activity. The first Westerners arrived in China onboard a Portuguese ship.
The Ottomans conquered Syria and Egypt.
Martin Luther published his "95 theses" in which he denounced the selling of indulgences. This marked the beginning of the Reform.
1515. At the Battle of Marignan, near Milan, 20,000 Swiss were defeated by 30,000 French. Impressed nonetheless, François I proposed "perpetual peace" which guaranteed the Swiss their conquests south of the Alps, except for Ossola. The French were granted access to the first European mercenaries market.
From an episcopal-state, Geneva became a city-state.
Henry VIII ordered the beheading of his wife, Anne Boleyn.
The Pays de Vaud was conquered by Bern, aided by the two Catholic cantons Fribourg and Valais, and forced to accept the Reformation.
Geneva became the main seat of Calvinism and later the capital of Protestantism.
Copernic (1473-1543) publie De Revolutionibus orbium caelestium, ouvrage qui place le soleil au centre du système solaire.
Portuguese navigators became the first Europeans to touch land in Japan.
1547. Coronation of Ivan the Terrible.
1541. Calvin moved permanently to Geneva, which subsequently replaced Luther's Wittenberg as the spiritual capital of Protestantism and a place of refuge.
The Genevan reformer adopted a conservative view in numerous areas: he believed the Earth was the centre of the universe, and judged women "a part and accessory" of man, as Eve had been created from Adam's rib.
Frenchman Thomas Bayard became the first "orologier" (watchmaker) in Geneva, followed notably by Martin Duboule at the end of the sixteenth century.
Trade in coffee brought prosperity to the Arabian peninsula.
Ambroise Paré became the first surgeon to ligate arteries prior to amputation.
Geneva gave refuge to Protestants from France and Italy.
Archive documents (apprenticeship contracts) attest to the presence of watchmakers in Geneva. Most were of French origin, exiled for religious reasons.
Bernard Palissy (1510-1589) perfected ceramic glazing techniques and developed a style unique to the Fontainebleau School.
Goldsmiths in Calvinist Geneva were forbidden from making jewellery and objects of idolatry, hence they turned their attention to the manufacturing of watch cases instead.
1558. Elizabeth I acceded to the throne. She is reputed to have worn a ring-watch with an "alarm", a small protrusion that would scratch her finger.
The La Pléiade literary movement was formed around poets Ronsard and Du Bellay.
The Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1522-1610) arrived in Macao. He introduced horology to the Chinese Emperor's court.
On October 15th, Pope Gregory XIII reformed the Julian calendar. It was introduced in Rome, deleting ten days for the seasons.
1580. Publication of Montaigne's Essays.
Miniature painting developed in India.
Foundation of the Genevan Corporation of Watchmakers. After a minimum five-year apprenticeship, candidates for the title of master had to make "a small clock with an alarm to wear around the neck and a square clock on two levels to stand on a table."
1600. Henri IV married his second wife, Marie de Médicis, daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Archduchess of Austria. She brought with her a dowry of 600,000 ecus and the guarantee of stronger ties between France and Italy.
1600. After living in Geneva, Giordano Bruno was condemned for heresy and burned at the stake in Rome. He had claimed that the Sun was just another star, described the universe as "infinite", and held that life forms existed elsewhere in this universe than on Earth.
1602. The "Escalade" when Geneva repelled an attack by the Duke of Savoy.
Emergence of Baroque.
Instauration of the Grand Tour, where artists would travel through Europe, in particular to Italy, to complete their education. Gold crafting developed with the increased wearing of jewellery (enamelled medallions).
1603. Birth of Japanese Kabuki theatre.
1605. Publication by Cervantes of the first part of Don Quichotte, an immediate success.
The celebrated French enameller Pierre Huaud (1612-1680) was granted residency of Geneva.
Frenchman Jean Toutin invented the technique of painting on enamel for cases and dials (1632).
1633. Galileo was put on trial for challenging Ptolemy's geocentric theory, and forced to retract.
1636. Japan cut off all foreign contact.
1639. All foreigners were expulsed from Japan and Christianity was banned.
1624. Construction began on Château de Versailles.
1632. Construction began on the Taj Mahal in Agra (India). Birth of Jan Vermeer.
1636. Foundation of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal was reputed to wear his watch on his wrist.
1644. The last emperor of the Ming dynasty committed suicide inside the Forbidden City in Peking. The new Qing dynasty would reign until 1911.
1651. Cromwell passed the Navigation Act.
1648. The Treaty of Westphalia brought an end to the Thirty Years' War. Basel, Schaffouse, Appenzel and St-Gall were released from imperial jurisdiction. Europe recognised Switzerland as a fully independent nation.
1652. Michée Chauderon was the last woman to be burned as a witch in Geneva.
Rembrandt was at the summit of his glory when he painted his Night Watch in 1642.
Louis XIV (1638-1715): his influence on the arts would spread throughout Europe. Nikon, patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, laid down new architectural rules for churches, including five domes.
Continuing early work by Galileo, Christian Huygens adapted the pendulum to the clock and in doing so considerably increased its accuracy.
1658. Aurangzeb became ruler of the Mughal Empire.
Bern and Zurich were defeated by five Catholic cantons.
1656. Excommunication of Spinoza by the Amsterdam synagogue.
Christian Huygens invented the spiral balance spring for watches, thereby significantly improving their accuracy.
English watchmakers Edward Barlow (Booth), Daniel Quare and Thomas Tompion developed systems for a quarter-repeater watch.
1666. Great Fire of London.
1675. Foundation of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.
1672. Isaac Newton presented his theory of colour to the Royal Society in London then demonstrated the separation of light by a prism.
1673. Molière died on stage during the fourth performance of The Imaginary Invalid.
1675. Leibniz discovered calculus, for which a theory had also been put forward by Newton.
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV. As Huguenots, the majority of French watchmakers emigrated, in particular to England and Switzerland (Geneva) which stood out as the watchmaking capitals of Europe.
Second influx of Protestant refugees to Switzerland.
In China, workshops again began to manufacture high-quality porcelain.
1687. In his major work Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Isaac Newton set out the principles of time, force and motion, and formulated his law of gravitation.
Haiku poems by the Japanese monk Basho.
The first watch with jewels was produced by the French watchmaker de Beaufré using a drilling method invented circa 1700 by the Genevan astronomer and optician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier (1664-1752). De Beaufré worked in England, and for the next century his invention gave English watches a substantial advantage over their European rivals.
1702. Revenge of the 47 Ronins in Japan.
1703. Peter the Great founded the city of Saint Petersburg on marshland in the Gulf of Finland.
The economy, which was generally thriving, was dominated by watchmaking and related professions.
Watches were crafted in small workshops, under a master (maître). These workshops were given the collective name of the "Fabrique". Most of them were in Saint Gervais, on the top floor of houses where there was the most natural light.
They were known as "cabinets" and their occupants sometimes referred to as "cabinotiers".
The Fabrique employed people in two main categories: master watchmakers ("maîtres horloger") and "maîtres marchand" or "établisseurs" who bought and assembled watch parts.
1703. Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741) was ordained as a priest, and joined the Ospedale della Pietà orphanage as a violin teacher.
The British Parliament passed the Longitude Act which offered £20,000, a fabulous amount (equivalent to over $5 million dollars today), to whomever found a method for determining longitude at sea. The competition demanded unprecedented accuracy, calculating longitude to within half a degree after six weeks at sea.
George I was crowned King of England.
1715. After reigning for seventy-two years, and four days before his seventy-seventh birthday, the absolute monarch Louis XIV died at Château de Versailles.
The Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione (1688 - 1766) worked as an artist at the Chinese court under the name Lang Shining, introducing European painting techniques.
George Graham built a device with pendulum and weights, and a hand that indicated the quarter-second and which could, theoretically, also divide the second into sixteenths.
Plague in Marseille.
China took control of Tibet and placed a Dalai Lama who was favourable to Chinese rule.
Bach composed The Well-Tempered Klavier.
England began to lose some of its dominance to Geneva and later to watchmakers in the Neuchâtel Jura, who by the end of the century had even surpassed their Genevan counterparts.
Peter the Great became Tsar of all Russias.
Discovery of Easter Island.
1723. Major Davel attempted to liberate Vaud and was beheaded.
1723. Bach's Saint John Passion
Birth of Ferdinand Berthoud in Plancement sur Couvet (Switzerland). He settled in Paris (where he died in 1807) and became known as one of the most outstanding manufacturers of marine timekeepers of his era.
George II was crowned King of England.
1731. The English mathematician John Hadley made the first sextant. It soon became an essential navigational instrument.
Europe was caught up in the fashion for "chinoiseries".
In his treatise on watchmaking, Antoine Thiout the Elder described the principle of the minute-repeater watch, possibly first made by Thomas Mudge.
In Uppsala (Sweden), the physicist and astronomer Anders Celsius developed a centesimal temperature scale.
Accession to the throne of Empress Elizabeth of Russia.
Le Locle (in the Neuchâtel Jura) was home to 41 watchmakers, 14 goldsmiths-casemakers, 5 enamellers, 6 spring-makers, 1 chainsmith, 9 engravers and 600 lace workers.
1730 - 1745. The Rococo style spread through Europe.
1739. Hume's Treatise of Human Nature.
1741. Handel's Messiah.
Birth of the Swiss watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet in Neuchâtel (died in Paris in 1823). His inventions included the tourbillon, the pare-chute shock-absorber, the lever escapement with divided impulse faces, the flat balance-spring with one or two terminal coils, known as the Breguet overcoil, and a compensation device for watches.
A Neoclassical current emerged as a result of archaeological excavations at Herculaneum (beginning in 1738) and Pompeii (1748).
1748. Montesquieu's The Spirit of Laws.
The first rose engines for guillochage or engine-turning were made.
Publication of the Encyclopedia of Diderot and d'Alembert and of the Swiss Encyclopedia.
1749. The naturalist and scientist Buffon published his Theory of the Earth, the first volume in his work Natural History. In it, he calculated the Earth to be 75,000 years old (today we estimate the Earth to be 4.6 billion years old!).
The Parisian watchmaker Caron created, for Madame de Pompadour, a ring-watch that was wound by rotating the bezel and set using a key.
An earthquake razed Lisbon.
The conflict that opposed France and Britain in North America raged.
Voltaire set up home near Geneva.
1754. Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality.
1755. The philosopher Emmanuel Kant proposed that nebulae were systems containing millions of stars, and that the solar system had been formed by the contraction of a cloud of dust.
Mikhail Lomonosov published his Rhetoric and Grammar, the Russian language's first manual.
The English watchmaker Thomas Mudge invented the lever escapement which, together with the detent escapement, is the most important of the so-called "free" escapements. They constitute the third category of escapement after "recoil and "dead-beat". Mudge also devised mechanisms for the equation of time, perpetual calendar, minute-repeater, etc.
The English defeated the French at the Battle of Plassey (Bengal) and in doing so extended their influence.
1758. Dr Albrecht (Victor) von Haller described chicken embryology.
Creation of the Berlin Academy of Science and the Arts.
Opening of the first Swiss watch shop, Beyer, in Zurich.
Voltaire set up a watchmaking workshop in Ferney.
1762. Accession to the throne of Catherine II of Russia.
There were now 600 master watchmakers in Geneva for 20,000 inhabitants.
1762. Rousseau published The Social Contract and Emile.
Gluck composed his opera, Orpheus and Eurydice.
The British Parliament published rating results for John Harrison's H.4 marine timekeeper, 52 years after the competition was launched and after five years of trials. Harrison was awarded part of the £20,000 prize. World history
Count Louis-Antoine de Bougainville led an expedition around the world.
1768. James Cook embarked on his first voyage around the world.
Invention of a simplified flat calibre with bridges, named the Lépine calibre after its inventor, the Frenchman Jean-Antoine Lépine. Its principle is still used in mechanical watches.
Beginning of the War for Independence between Great Britain and 13 of its North American colonies.
Benjamin Franklin drew up a map of the Gulf Stream.
Horace-Bénédict de Saussure affirmed that Alpine folds were the result of horizontal compression and not, as previously believed, caused simply by thrust.
1774. Goethe's Werther.
The Genevan watchmaker Jean-Moïse Pouzait invented the watch with independent seconds, precursor of the chronograph.
The United States Declaration of Independence.
Foundation of San Francisco.
The "Society for the Encouragement of the Arts" was founded in Geneva on an initiative by the watchmaker Louis Faizan and the physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure. Its vocation was to encourage the Fabrique to progress by staging competitions, awarding prizes and publishing inventions. It later became the "Society of the Arts".
1777. General alliance between Switzerland and France under Louis XVI.
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
1781. The English astronomer William Herschel discovered Uranus, the seventh planet in the solar system.
So they might know the hour, necessary for their work, a group of watchmakers from the Genevan district of Saint-Gervais petitioned the Seigneurs de la Chambre to order the Vestryman of La Tour de l'Ile to strike once the bell when he hears the big bell of Saint Peter's which marks the time at noon on the curved line of the meridian (engraved on the Tower) which indicates mean time.
1778. Opening of the Scala in Milan.
English watchmaker Thomas Earnshaw introduced a new spring detent escapement for pocket chronometers and marine chronometers. His invention was widely used by subsequent watchmakers.
1783. The first manned balloon flight took place on November 21st, above the grounds of Château de la Muette near Paris.
The Second Treaty of Paris between France and Great Britain ended the American War of Independence. Britain acknowledged the independence of the 13 American colonies. In an ancillary treaty, Britain acknowledged France's possession of trading counters in the Indies, Senegal and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
A renowned manufacturer of automata, Pierre Jaquet-Droz transferred his business to Geneva where he concentrated on producing, for the Chinese market, gold watches with enamelled floral motifs and pearl trim.
Birth, in Biel, of Pierre-Frédéric Ingold, an important precursor of mechanised production and interchangeable parts.
The Constitution of the United States.
1785-89. Master watchmakers felt the backlash of crisis. Ruined by inflation, they were forced to seek employment as workers in other workshops.
1787. Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and eighteen guides loaded down with equipment and scientific instruments successfully scaled Mont Blanc.
First performance, in Prague, of Mozart's Don Giovanni.
George Washington was elected the first President of the United States.
Death of the great portraitist Jean-Etienne Liotard.
The Declaration of Human and Citizens' Rights affirmed that "the free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man and every citizen may freely speak, write or print on any subject."
King Gustav III of Sweden was shot dead at a masquerade (the inspiration for Verdi's opera A Masked Ball).
Geneva escaped invasion by the French thanks to military intervention by its allies, Bern and Zurich. Both France and Switzerland withdrew their troops. Revolution triumphed a few weeks later when the "Club des Egaliseurs" took power in Geneva and declared all its inhabitants bourgeois.
Work began on the construction of the White House in Washington.
World population estimated at one billion.
Beginning of the industrialisation era.
Washington became the capital of the United States.
1798 French troops invaded and occupied Switzerland, leading to instauration of the Helvetic Republic. Revolutionary trade legislation was introduced, which disadvantaged watchmaking.
1807. The first gas lamps lit the streets of London.
1812. Napoleon reached the gates of Moscow which the city's inhabitants set on fire.
Between 1814 and 1815, the Congress of Vienna settled the new boundaries of Europe.
Ami Fillion, a watchmaker in Saint Gervais, noted that French occupation had lasted "fourteen years, eight months, fourteen days, ten hours and thirty minutes."
A patent was granted for a "timepiece or measurer of distance covered", named a "seconds chronograph" by its inventor Nicolas Mathieu Rieussec, watchmaker to the King, who was born in Paris in 1781.
Independence of Brazil.
1815. Signature of the final treaty admitting Geneva into the Confederation (May 19th).
1821. From April 15th and for the first time, official time in Geneva was the city's mean time. In 1779, the striking of the church bell had informed watchmakers that it was noon.
Champollion revealed the secret of hieroglyphics.
Johann Ludwig Burckhardt's description of the Jordanian city of Petra sparked a wave of scientific and artistic interest.
1824. First performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Breguet's workshops produced the so-called "Marie-Antoinette watch" which featured all the complications possible at that time.
Marie-Antoinette and Breguet, the greatest watchmaking mystery of all time - Article of the HH Magazine
Breguet unveils its Marie-Antoinette watch - Article of the HH Magazine
Antoine Louis Breguet's keyless winding mechanism.
The July Revolution. Louis-Philippe became King of France.
Belgian revolution and independence of Belgium.
Independence of Greece.
The French captured Algiers.
Independence of Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
The Indian Removal Act led to the forced relocation of American Indian tribes.
The Fabrique was still Geneva's main industry, employing almost a quarter of the population. Despite the appearance of large establishments, such as Bautte with its 180 workers and 120 craftsmen employed from home, the Fabrique's small workshops continued to prevail.
Hector Berlioz made the first presentation of his new work "Symphonie Fantastique, an episode in the life of an artist".
Joseph Thaddeus Winnerl's split-seconds chronograph.
Weavers in the city of Lyons revolted against mechanisation and lower wages.
Despite Poland's affirmation of its independence, Warsaw was recaptured by the Russians.
A Republican party attempted to overthrow the aristocratic authorities of the principality of Neuchâtel. Backed by the population and the Diet, the government retained power.
The Japanese artist Hokusai painted his 36 Views of Mount Fuji.
Publication of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.
Alexandre Pouchkine met Nikolai Gogol in Saint Petersburg.
Mechanised production: Vacheron & Constantin developed a full set of machine tools for manufacturing its watches.
Interchangeable parts: the first pantograph, by Georges-Auguste Leschot, was brought into use at Vacheron & Constantin.
The Ottoman Empire conceded Algeria to France.
The British occupied Aden.
Giuseppe Verdi presented his first opera.
Adrien Philippe's keyless winding mechanism, patented in 1845.
End of the first Opium war.
The Chinese Emperor Dao Guang ratified the Nanking Treaty which provided for the cession of Hong Kong to the British, and the opening to foreign trade.
Following the 1841 revolution, a new Constitution adopted universal men's suffrage.
Geneva became an independent commune with an elected municipal council.
Foundation of the American Art Union.
Adolphe Nicole, a Swiss watchmaker working in London, filed a patent for a system that returned the chronograph hand to zero. He filed the patent again, this time in Paris, in 1862. From the mid-nineteenth century, Swiss production was clearly overtaking English production; Swiss watches now accounted for over half world production.
Samuel Morse sent the first telegraphic message, from Baltimore to Washington, D.C.
Antoine LeCoultre's keyless winding mechanism.
Liberia became the first African independent republic.
The short Sonderbund War was fought between Catholic and Protestant cantons.
Switzerland's first steam train, the "Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn", ran between Zurich and Baden.
February Revolution in France and proclamation of a Republic.
Insurrection in Italy: Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, was defeated by the Austrians.
Insurrection in the German states, Austria and Hungary.
François-Joseph became Emperor of Austria.
Abolition of slavery in the French colonies.
The beginning of the Gold Rush in California (which became a State in 1850).
The foundation of modern Switzerland: a new constitution introduced a federal state with a central government sitting in Bern.
This constitution was revised in 1874 and again in 1978.
At this halfway point in the century, faith in progress and the need for industrial architecture sparked a variety of styles geared towards functionality.
Karl Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto.
Invention of powdered milk and the sewing machine.
The first America's Cup.
Demolition of the city walls enabled Geneva to expand.
The first Universal Exhibition took place in London at Crystal Palace whose architect was Joseph Paxton (1801-1865).
First issue of The New York Times.
Hermann Melville published Moby Dick.
Foundation by Henri Grandjean of the Observatoire de Neuchâtel whose role was to transmit the exact time by telegraph.
End of the second Opium war.
The first telegraph link was established between America and Europe by a cable running between Newfoundland and Ireland.
Opening of Central Park in Manhattan, the United State's first public park.
1859. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
The Observatoire de Neuchâtel issued the first rating certificates for watches.
Following Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency of the United States, and as a vociferous opponent of the abolition of slavery, South Carolina became the first state to rebel against federal authority and leave the Union.
Sardinia prepared to cede Savoy to France. The population of northern Savoy wanted union with Switzerland. Napoleon III refused and promised the creation of free zones.
Baudelaire published Artificial Paradises.
Birth, in Fleurier, of Charles-Edouard Guillaume (1861-1938), a physicist and inventor of the alloys invar and elinvar (1919), alloys which compensate for the effect of temperature changes on clock and watch accuracy. He was also director of the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (International Weights and Measures Bureau) in Sèvres (France), and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1920.
American Civil War.
Victor Emmanuel II became King of Italy.
French intervention in Lebanon.
Bahrain became a British protectorate
First chronograph with a reset function (Henri-Feréol Piguet of Nicole et Capt in Solliat.) The patent had already been filed in England in 1844 by Adolphe Nicole, under number 10348.
Lincoln issued a proclamation announcing the emancipation of slaves in the rebel states.
1863. Inauguration of the first underground line, in London.
In his book A Memory of Solferino, Henry Dunant proposed to "formulate some international principle, sanctioned by a Convention inviolate in character which, once agreed upon and ratified, might constitute the basis for societies for the relief of the wounded in the different European countries." General Dufour, the jurist Moynier, Dunant and Doctors Appia and Maunoir created the International Committee for the relief of wounded soldiers and drafted the first Geneva Convention. Two years later, the Red Cross was founded.
The ideas for an "impressionist" current were beginning to emerge.
In La Chaux-de-Fonds, Georges-Frédéric Roskopf set about producing watches, sold for just 20 francs each, that would be "affordable by all purses."
The beginning of the Meiji period in Japan: abolition of feudalism, modernisation, introduction of Shinto as the state religion and restoration of an absolute monarchy.
The Canadian engineer Sandford Fleming proposed the introduction of clearly delimited time zones.
War broke out between France and Prussia. Siege of Paris by the Prussians.
Liberation of Rome.
1867. Karl Marx wrote in Capital that La Chaux-de-Fonds should be considered as a single manufacture.
The Fabrique was a victim of foreign competition which adapted better to a market that rated quantity over quality.
Inauguration of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Modest Moussorgsky presented Boris Godunov for Imperial censorship.
Nemitz discovered calcium sulphate as the first luminescent substance for numerals and hands.
1873. Japan abandoned its lunar calendar and adopted the Western calendar.
17 nations signed the Metric Convention in Paris.
The Federal Tribunal (11 itinerant judges since 1848) became permanently established in Lausanne.
Inauguration of the Palais Garnier in Paris. First performance of Bizet's Carmen.
The "American crisis" began at the Universal Exhibition in Philadelphia, when Swiss watchmakers became aware of the power, quality and competitiveness of American mechanised watch production.
From this point on, Switzerland stepped up the pace of mechanisation.
In Boston, the American Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call, to his assistant Thomas Watson.
Battle of Little Big Horn.
Inauguration of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus.
Invention of the palladium balance-spring by Geneva's Charles-Auguste Paillard.
1877. Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.
The Italian engineer Enrico Forlanini flew a model helicopter at a height of 13 metres.
Thomas Edison filed a patent for the first phonograph.
Tchaikovsky presented Swan Lake at the Bolshoi in Moscow.
Foundation in Biel of the first Swiss institution to officially control watch rates, acknowledged as the official watch observation bureau in 1893 and now the Bureau officiel des chronomètres (BO).
Wristwatches produced in small series appeared in Vienna (Austria).
1879. Thomas Edison made the first incandescent lightbulb.
The United States and Canada introduced Universal Time whereby the Earth is divided into 24 equal time zones (as suggested by Sandford Fleming). The Greenwich meridian was chosen as the prime meridian.
Inauguration of Brooklyn Bridge.
The Orient Express made its maiden run.
Eruption of Krakatoa.
The first Zionist colonies were established.
Creation of the Poinçon de Genève.
Carl Benz invented the petrol-driven car (an invention rivalled by that of Gottlieb Daimler).
Surrender of the Apache Chief Geronimo.
Invention of Coca-Cola.
Dedication of the Statue of Liberty.
Founding in Geneva of the Forces Motrices de la Coulouvrenière factory, which generated driving force for other factories in the district.
1885. Tsar Alexander III gave the Tsarina the first Fabergé egg.
1885. Mark Twain (1835-1910) published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
La Champagne, a manufacturer in Biel, unveiled a collection of wristwatches.
George Eastman (1854-1932) filed a patent for the first camera films and registered the "Kodak" brand name.
In the studio they shared in Arles, after threatening his friend Gauguin, the painter Vincent Van Gogh sliced off part of his own ear with a razor.
The first known patent for a wristwatch was filed in Bern.
Watchmaker Georges-Frédéric Roskopf died in Bern at the age of 76.
The University of Fribourg enrolled its first intake of students to the Schools of Literature and Law.
World's Fair held in Paris from May 6th to October 31st 1889, for which Gustave Eiffel built the Eiffel Tower.
Invention, by the dialmaker A. Beyeler in Geneva, of a transfer press for applying numerals and names to dials.
Clément Ader flew a distance of over forty metres by plane.
The Wounded Knee Massacre was the last battle of the Native Indian wars.
1891. Geneva inaugurated its famous Jet d'Eau water column.
1889. Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) built a 300-metre tall tower for the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
Invention of synthetic jewels by Auguste Verneuil in France.
The United States passed legislation authorising racial segregation.
Switzerland's population reached 3 million. Delivery of the first Swiss Army Knife.
Emergence of Art Nouveau (Victor Horta, Henri Clemens van de Velde, Eugène Grasset, Alphonse Mucha).
Edvard Munch painted The Scream.
The First Sino-Japanese War. Japan took Taiwan and extended its influence in Korea.
The Swiss-born bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin discovered the plague bacterium (Yersinia pestis) in Hong Kong.
The German physicist Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen discovered X-rays.
Creation of the Nobel Prize.
On May 11th, 1894 the Federal Council voted to adopt Central European time ("Pomeranian time") as of June 1st that year.
First public screening of a moving picture film by the Lumière brothers.
Oscar Wilde was sentenced for homosexuality.
The first Modern Olympic Games were held in Athens.
Creation of the Dow Jones.
Coronation of the last Tsar, Nicholas II.
The first Zionist Congress.
The hydroelectric plant at Chèvres supplied Geneva with its electricity.
Creation of the Vienna Secession, Austria's Art Nouveau movement, by Gustave Klimt (1862-1918), Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956), et al.
Leroy made the most complicated pocket watch of its era.
The Boxer Uprising in Peking. European and American troops retaliated by ransacking the Forbidden City.
1901. Foundation of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
1901. The first Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Henri Dunant, founder of the Red Cross.
First performance of Puccini's Tosca.
Universal Exhibition opened in Paris.
Monet exhibited his Nymphéas.
The architect Frank Lloyd Wright created the revolutionary Prairie Style.
Taking turns at the commands, the Wright brothers Orville and Wilbur made four flights over a few dozen metres along Kill Devil Beach in North Carolina.
Rabindranath Tagore established a traditional Indian education system in reaction against British schooling.
Creation of the Académie Goncourt.
Wens Wilsdorf launched large-scale production of a lady's wristwatch.
An artillery officer gave account of his experience during the Boer War, stating that wristwatches were essential field equipment and had stood up well to the extreme heat and cold, as well as to heavy rain and constant sandstorms.
Commercialisation of synthetic jewels.
Cartier created the Santos.
The Japanese fleet launched a surprise attack on the Russian naval base of Port Arthur at the southern tip of Liaotung Peninsula in China.
New York inaugurated its subway, following on from London which had built the world's first underground in 1863, Budapest in 1896, Paris in 1900 and Berlin in 1902.
Birth of Salvador Dali.
Anton Chekhov wrote The Cherry Orchard.
Georg Jensen became the first modern jeweller.
1905. Albert Einstein formulated his first Theory of Relativity.
Patents for wrist-chronographs were filed in Berne.
1908. Henry Ford assembled his first Ford T cars.
Louis Blériot (1872-1936) made the first flight across the Channel on July 25th, 1909.
Japan annexed Korea.
Foundation of Tel Aviv.
1907. Foundation of the National Bank.
The Russian author Leo Tolstoy was found dead at the railway station in the rural town of Astapovo.
Wassily Kandinsky's first abstract paintings.
Paris accepted to take the Greenwich meridian as the basis for legal time. France's new time was 9 minutes and 21 seconds behind the old one. Now all of Western Europe shared the same time zone.
The end of the Qing Dynasty and the proclamation of the People's Republic of China.
Italy declared war on Turkey and occupied the Libyan coastline.
The Indian capital was moved from Calcutta to Delhi.
Switzerland's population reached 3.753 million, of which 550,000 (15%) were foreign (compared with 1.665 in 1798). Since 1880, the migratory balance had swung the other way; prior to then, there were many Swiss mercenaries and emigrants.
Six months after Gustav Mahler's death, Bruno Walter conducted Song of the Earth in Munich.
The metallurgist Harry Brearley developed the first genuinely stainless steel at his laboratory in Sheffield (England). This new steel, an alloy of iron, chromium and nickel, could withstand chemical aggressions.
Opening of the Panama Canal.
Henry Ford introduced assembly-line production. Thanks to this new method, the time required to produce a Ford "T" was substantially reduced, from six to one and a half hours.
The controversial premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées of The Rite of Spring, a ballet by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky.
Creation of Cubism whose representatives included Picasso and Braque.
Marcel Proust self-published Swann's Way.
The Russian painter Kasimir Malevitch laid the foundations for Suprematism.
The Armory Show brought modern art to the United States.
The women's magazine Femina polled its readers for their opinions of wristwatches. Of the 4,350 respondents, 3,437 said they found wristwatches "extremely practical." 480 had yet to get to grips with them, while just 433 preferred the pendant watch.
Creation by Eterna of the first series-production wristwatch with alarm.
On a visit to Sarajevo, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sofia were assassinated by a nineteen-year-old Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip.
Outbreak of the First World War.
Switzerland was surrounded by belligerent nations, though avoided the worse thanks to its neutrality and its army. German-speaking Switzerland supported the central Empires; the French-speaking cantons the Allies. Supplies were difficult to obtain. Imports from the allied countries (overseas products) outweighed imports from the central Empires (coal). Both insisted that these goods not be re-exported, which handicapped Swiss industry, based primarily on transformation and export.
Charlie Chaplin created his "tramp" character.
Creation of the Swiss trade fair MUBA, in Basel.
Heuer filed a patent for the "Micrograph" to 1/100th of a second, and the "Semi-micrograph" to 1/50th of a second.
Start of the Battle of Verdun which would continue for ten months until December 15th, 1916. One of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, it claimed 700,000 lives. A German Zeppelin bombarded Paris.
Assassination of Rasputin.
Ibn Ali led a revolt against the Ottoman Empire.
Creation of Dada.
A group of European artists met in Zurich at the initiative of the stage director Hugo Ball, for the inauguration of the Cabaret Voltaire. They used a paper-knife to randomly flip open a dictionary. The first word they came across was "dada". In reaction to the absurdity and tragedy of the First World War, they named their newly-founded movement Dadaism. Their intention was to destroy conventional art and literature.
The October Revolution in Russia (October 25th by the Julian calendar; November 7th by the Gregorian calendar).
China declared war on Germany (which had territories there).
The Balfour Declaration supported a Jewish "national home" in Palestine.
Jazz was officially born when The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded Livery Stable Blues.
The French artist Marcel Duchamp showed Fountain, his first "ready-made", in New York.
Based on research by Charles-Edouard Guillaume and in collaboration with the Imphy steelworks, the compensating balance-spring was made using a nickel-steel alloy.
Cartier created the Tank.
In the Hall of Mirrors at Château de Versailles, Germany and the Allies signed the treaty which ended the First World War.
In Milan, former journalist Benito Mussolini founded the "Fasci di Combattimento" fascist movement.
1918. General strike. The army was mobilised and the 250,000 strikers ended their movement without condition, though certain of their demands were satisfied (48-hour week, higher wages).
Geneva was chosen as the seat of the Society of Nations and of the International Labour Organisation.oui
Walter Gropius (1883-1969) founded the Bauhaus movement in Weimar.
The Soviet painter Vladimir Tatlin began Constructivism.
In the early 1920st. a type of wristwatch for pilots was developed known as an hour-angle watch. All the watch manufacturers then specialising in aeronautics, including IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Lange & Söhne, Longines and Vacheron Constantin proposed models that could be used to determine longitude.
Observing that "communism of war" was an economic and social failure, at the tenth Communist Party Congress, Lenin announced the introduction of a new economic policy ("Novaïa Ekonomitcheskaïa Politika").
Geneva became the sixth canton to propose the introduction of women's suffrage, a proposition that was only enacted in 1971.
First screening in the United States of The Kid, with Charlie Chaplin and child actor Jackie Coogan.
The English watchmaker John Harwood sought to improve the watch's water-resistance by doing away with the crown and stem. He filed a patent in 1923.
Russia became the USSR.
1923. An earthquake destroyed almost three-quarters of Tokyo.
Oil was discovered in Iraq.
The German director Friederich Wilhem Murnau showed his film Nosferatu the Vampire in Berlin.
James Joyce published Ulysses.
The Lebanese author Khalil Gibran published The Prophet.
John Harwood filed the first Swiss patent for a self-winding wristwatch with a central oscillating weight.
Benito Mussolini's fascist party won its first victory in the Italian legislative elections.
Death of Lenin. Stalin took power.
Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Company merged to form the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production company.
The Czech-born, German-speaking writer Franz Kafka died of tuberculosis at a sanatorium in Kierling, near Vienna.
The American composer George Gershwin (1898-1937) wrote Rhapsody in Blue.
The first known wristwatch with a perpetual calendar was manufactured using a pendant watch movement (Patek Philippe).
The Locarno Conference, to which France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Belgium were party, resulted in the Locarno Treaties which guaranteed the borders set up by the Versailles Treaty (June 28th, 1919).
The Decorative Arts Exhibition in Paris ushered in the Art Deco style.
First Surrealist exhibition.
Premiere of Battleship Potemkin, directed by Sergei Eisenstein.
The American author F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) published The Great Gatsby.
Series production began of self-winding wristwatches with an oscillating weight, based on Harwood's patent (Selza, Fortis and Blancpain using blanks by A. Schild S.A.).
Rolex created the Oyster wristwatch with water-resistant case and crown. Mercedes Gleitze wore one when she swam the Channel in 1927.
The Scottish inventor John Logie Baird demonstrated his procedure for receiving images by cathode ray tube before the Royal Institution of London. He called his invention a "televisor".
The American physicist Robert Hutchings Goddard successfully launched a rocket propelled by a blend of petrol and liquid oxygen. It reached a height of 12.50 metres and a speed of 100 kph.
Switzerland's population reached 4 million.
On learning the death of Rudolph Valentino from acute peritonitis, hysterical crowds gathered outside the New York clinic where the silent-movie heartthrob had passed away.
In Berlin, the German director Fritz Lang premiered his film, Metropolis.
Death of the painter Monet.
Patek Philippe produced what was then the world's most complicated watch, known as the Packard after the automobile magnate James Packard who commissioned it.
The first commercial telephone service was launched between New York and London.
Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) flew non-stop across the Atlantic.
Execution in the United States of Sacco and Vanzetti.
The Jazz Singer became the first "talking picture".
At the tender age of 11, the Russian-born American violinist Yehudi Menuhin gave his first concert in Paris, at the Salle Gaveau, before 1,500 people.
Louis Armstrong recorded numerous tracks, including Weary Blues.
LeCoultre revealed the world's smallest movement, the 101 calibre. It comprised 74 parts, measured 14 x 4.85 x 3.4 mm and weighed less than one gram. Invention of the perpetual motion Atmos, "the clock that lives on air" (in principle for 60 years), by Jean-Louis Reutter, an engineer at LeCoultre (which became Jaeger LeCoultre in 1937).
Eterna launched the first eight-day alarm wristwatch.
1928. Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) discovered penicillin.
Hirohito became Emperor of Japan.
1929. The Wall Street Crash (Black Thursday, October 24th).
Benito Mussolini, head of the Italian government, and Cardinal Pietro Gasparri signed the Latran Treaty in Rome, smoothing relations between the papacy and the Italian State.
1928. Kodak introduced its first 16mm film, paving the way for home movies.
The Surrealist André Breton organised in Paris the first exhibition of works by the Spanish painter Salvador Dali.
Publication of the first Adventures of Tintin.
The first known tourbillon wristwatch.
Wristwatches and pocket watches now had an equal share of the market.
Mahatma Gandhi began a campaign of non-violent protest against British rule in India and its salt tax.
World population estimated at two billion.
Construction of the Chrysler Building in New York.
Emile Borer made the first self-winding wristwatch whose unidirectional rotor swung in a complete circle: the Rolex Perpetual.
Carouge-born Louis Cottier (1894-1966) made a watch showing universal time (with 29 world cities) for the Genevan jeweller Baszanger.
Proclamation of the Republic of Spain.
Inauguration of the Empire State Building.
Creation of the Commonwealth.
As part of a study to measure cosmic rays, Switzerland's Professor Auguste Piccard and his assistant Paul Kipfel made a record-breaking ascent of 16,000 metres in a balloon with a pressurised cabin. Professor Piccard set a new record of almost 17,000 feet the following year, after which he devoted himself to underwater diving.
The world economic crisis, which had begun in the United States in 1929, reached Switzerland.
Patents were filed for a chronograph with two push-buttons (Breitling). The company Porte-Echappement Universel (Fritz Marti) invented the « Incabloc » shock absorption system that could be adapted to any calibre. Introduction of the « Nivarox » compensating balance-spring and the « Nivaflex » mainspring.
Invented in the 1880s, the speaking clock came into service at the Paris Observatory. 140,000 people called on the first day, blocking the 20 lines; only 20,000 callers got through.
Patek Philippe created the Calatrava.
Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich.
The Reichstag fire.
Roosevelt launched his New Deal.
Einstein was forced to leave Nazi Germany after his house was ransacked early in the year.
Prohibition was repealed in the United States.
The film King Kong was released.
Fritz Lang fled Nazi Germany.
Walt Disney made his first colour cartoon, The Three Little Pigs.
The French writer André Malraux was awarded the Prix Goncourt for his novel, Man's Fate.
Nelson Rockefeller commissioned Diego Rivera to paint a fresco that was subsequently destroyed because it featured a portrait of Lenin.
Dubois-Depraz devised a system for chronographs that did away with the column wheel.
Japan invaded China.
The American chemist Wallace Hume Carother filed a patent for Nylon on behalf of Du Pont de Nemours.
The Hindenburg airship burst into flames while landing in Lakehurst.
Abdication of Edward VII.
Ireland declared its independence.
An agreement (la paix du travail) was reached between unions and employer organisations in the metal industry. Plans for strikes and lock-outs were abandoned, and instead conciliation and arbitration were used to settle disputes.
1936. First showing of Chaplin's Modern Times.
In reaction to the bombing of Guernica (Spanish Basque Country) by German aircraft allied to General Franco in the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso painted the most dramatic work of his career.
The Scottish engineer John Logie Baird, inventor of mechanical television, staged the first demonstration of his prototype for colour television.
Hitler annexed Austria and occupied Sudetenland.
"Night of Broken Glass" in Germany.
Max Morgenthaler and his team of researchers at the Nestlé factory in Orbe invented instant coffee.
In May, the Society of Nations recognised Switzerland's absolute neutrality.
The American Orson Welles directed a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' science-fiction novel The War of the Worlds, causing a wave of panic to sweep across America.
Germany invaded Poland.
Outbreak of the Second World War.
Germany and the USSR signed a Non-Aggression Pact.
Switzerland, completely surrounded, imported more from Germany than from the Allies. Germany demanded credit in exchange for its iron and coal, and wanted to sell its gold against currency. Great Britain considered Switzerland to be too submissive with regard to Germany, and threatened a blockade. Switzerland set out to achieve self-sufficiency and increase farm production through the Wahlen Plan.
Sigmund Freud died of cancer in London, aged 83.
Victor Fleming's film Gone with the Wind was screened for the first time in Atlanta.
The American novelist John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath.
The Wehrmacht entered Paris.
England was hit by the Blitz.
Japan signed a pact with Germany and Italy.
Extremist parties (National Movement and Communist Party) were banned.
General Guisan assembled the entire Swiss officer corps at Rütli Meadow.
Discovery of the Lascaux Cave paintings.
Chaplin's film The Great Dictator was released.
The "bidynator", a bidirectional rotor, was developed by A. Michel-Felsa in Granges. Breitling created the Chronomat.
The Nazis adopted the "final solution".
Creation of the ENIAC computer (18,000 tubes, 500,000 soldered joints, 135 sq m of floor space, 300 multiplications/sec).
Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz, premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York.
Liberation of Auschwitz.
General capitulation marked the end of the Second World War in Europe on May 9th at 00:01.
Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6th/9th).
Creation of the UNO and UNESCO.
1946. Geneva became the European seat of the United Nations.
Children of Paradise, directed by Marcel Carné, was released.
1947. Jackson Pollock developed his technique of "dripping" pain
The American Harold Lyons invented the ammonia maser atomic clock.
The first self-winding watch with a rotor on ball bearings (Eterna-matic).
The Marshall Plan was launched in Europe.
Assassination of Gandhi.
Founding of the State of Israel.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1949. Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China.
First performance of Les Mains Sales, a play by Jean-Paul Sartre, at the Théâtre Antoine in Paris.
Columbia Broadcasting Systems (CBS) launched the LP (long play) record.
The first Polaroid camera went on sale in a Boston department store, priced $89.75.
The first electric watches with contacts, a joint collaboration between engineers at Elgin and Lip.
Breitling created the Navitimer.
The Egyptian monarchy was overthrown.
Death of Evita Peron.
The first H-bomb explosion.
1953. Geneva became the site of CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research).
First performances by the composer John Cage and the choreographer Merce Cunningham.
The Baghdad Modern Art Group had far-reaching influence on art and culture in the Arab world.
1955 Vacheron Constantin created the Extraplate.
The first self-winding watch with alarm: the Memovox by Jaeger LeCoultre.
Calculating from 0 hour on January 1st, 1900, the second was defined as 1/31,556,925.947th of the year during which the earth revolves around the sun.
Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal.
Anti-Communist uprising in Hungary.
Franco-British intervention in Egypt.
Switzerland's population came to 5 million.
The Indian film director Satayajit Ray made Pather Panjali.
Jacques Cousteau won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for The Silent World.
Elvis Presley had his first hit with Heartbreak Hotel.
The Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster (Pennsylvania) presented a new generation of electric watches.
Signature of the Treaty of Rome (Common Market).
Launch of the first Sputnik.
The French writer Albert Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The Hundred Flowers Movement coincided with a brief interlude of artistic freedom in China.
The American novelist Jack Kerouac published On the Road.
First performance of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story.
Launch of Explorer 1, the first American artificial satellite (January 31st).
Mao announced his "Great Leap Forward".
Egypt and Syria founded the short-lived United Arab Republic.
Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, was given the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Inauguration of the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Strapped to the hull of Professor Auguste Piccard's "Trieste" bathyscaphe, a special Rolex Oyster was submerged 10,916 metres in the Mariana Trench (Pacific).
World population estimated at 3 billion.
Belgian Congo, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Centrafrican Republic gained their independence.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected President of the United States.
Creation of OPEC.
1959. The cantons of Vaud and Neuchâtel are the first ones to adopt women's suffrage in Switzerland.
Creation, in Japan, of Butoh dance.
New Realism founded in Paris.
Beginning of Pop Art in the United States, with Andy Warhol (1929-1987).
The Palme d'Or of the 13th Cannes Film Festival went to La Dolce Vita, directed by Federico Fellini.
An aquatic version of the Cricket was made. This watch, with its especially loud alarm, was created by Vulcain in 1947 to a project by Robert Ditisheim.
The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to travel into space (April 12th) in Vostok 1. He wore a "Shturmanskie" watch, renamed "Poljot".
Alan Shepard became the first American in space (May 5th).
Erection of the Berlin Wall (August 13th).
Independence of Kuwait.
The American writer Joseph Heller published Catch 22.
Emergence of Minimalism and Conceptual Art.
Favre-Leuba created the Bivouac altimeter/barometer watch.
Martin Luther King made his speech, "I have a dream".
Assassination of Kennedy.
The Baath party took power in Syria and Iraq.
Switzerland joined the Council of Europe.
Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, was released.
Bob Dylan recorded Blowin' in the Wind.
First transfer of time by transportation of atomic clocks between the USA and Switzerland.
The company Ebauches SA created the Dynotron, the first electronic watch. It was launched on the market in 1966.
Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Creation of the PLO.
Indira Gandhi came to power in India.
National Exhibition in Lausanne.
John Coltrane recorded Love Supreme, the masterpiece of his modal period.
First prototype for a quartz wristwatch, known as Bêta 1.
First American air raids on Vietnam.
Beginning of the Chinese cultural revolution.
Switzerland's population grew to 6 million.
Emergence of American and European Avantgardism.
The Beatles gave their farewell concert.
Persona by the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman.
In Paris, the 13th Conference on Weights and Measures defined the second as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133 atom. This replaced the astronomical definition where a second equalled 1/86,400th of the average solar day.
Presentation of the first analog quartz watch, Bêta 21, by the Centre Electronique Horloger (CEH) in Neuchâtel.
Coup d'état by colonels in Greece.
Six-Day War. Death of Che Guevara.
Coronation of the Shah of Iran.
Independence of South Yemen.
First heart transplant.
The Graduate released, starring Dustin Hoffman.
Assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.
May 68 uprising in France.
Warsaw Pact forces invaded Czechoslovakia.
Athletes made the Black Panther salute at the Mexico Olympic Games.
After welcoming Charles Lloyd for its first edition, the Montreux Jazz Festival went on to showcase other great artists, including Nina Simone and Bill Evans. This annual event rapidly became a reference in the jazz world.
The Japanese writer Kawabata received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Stanley Kubrick released 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The Omega Speedmaster is worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the mission Apollo XI, that allowed human beings to walk on the Moon.
Simultaneous launch of the first self-winding wrist chronographs by Heuer, Breitling, Bürer and El Primero by Zenith.
First quartz watch with LED (light-emitting diode) display. Tag Heuer created the Monaco.
Arafat was elected head of the PLO.
At 03:56 (Central European time) on July 21st, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. He wore an Omega Speedmaster watch.
The Woodstock Festival.
The first mass-produced quartz watches with analog display and integrated circuit (Bêta 21).
Salvador Allende was elected President of the Republic of Chile.
Death of Nasser.
Hafez-Al-Assad seized power in Syria.
1971 Switzerland adopted women's suffrage.
Deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
Alexandre Soljenitsyne, Russian writer and former Soviet dissident, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The Japanese author Yukio Mishima committed ritual suicide (seppuku) at the Japanese defence forces building.
Audemars Piguet created the Royal Oak.
The United States withdrew from Vietnam.
Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland. Watergate.
Massacre at the Munich Olympic Games.
Signature of the SALT-1 Treaty between the USA and the USSR.
Independence of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.
Free trade agreements were signed between Switzerland and the EEC on July 22nd.
The American director Francis Ford Coppola released The Godfather.
Quartz watches overtook mechanical watches in popularity, plunging the Swiss watch industry into crisis.
Ebel created the Sport Classique.
The first scheduled supersonic flights were made by Concorde (Paris and London-New York) and the TU 144 Charger. Concorde flew Paris-New York in 3h 38mn.
Aldo Moro was assassinated in Italy.
Signature of the Camp David agreement.
1977. The beginning of the Star Wars series by the American director George Lucas.
Launch of the Delirium, the world's thinnest watch (1.98mm). This was the first time the case back had been used as the bottom plate, an idea that the Swatch would later borrow.
The Shah of Iran fled the country.
Vietnam invaded Cambodia.
Accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.
Following the signature, in 1978, of the Camp David Agreements, Egypt regained control of the Sinai.
The Clash recorded London Calling.
Francis Ford Coppola won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival with Apocalypse Now.
Launch of the Sony Walkman.
Corum launched the Golden Bridge, a miniature baguette movement whose prototype, three years earlier, had won Vincent Calabrese a gold medal at the Geneva Inventions Fair.
Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States.
Mauritania became the last country to abolish slavery.
In China, the trial ended of the "Gang of Four"; Mao's widow was sentenced to death.
Creation of Solidarnosc. Start of the Iraq-Iran war.
CNN began broadcasting.
Umberto Eco published The Name of the Rose.
The crisis hitting the Swiss watch industry reached a critical point.
François Mitterrand was elected President of France.
The American IT company IBM launched the first personal computer (PC).
First cases of AIDS.
State of war in Poland.
Death of Bob Marley.
New York returned Guernica to Spain.
Official launching in Switzerland of the Swatch watch, in Zürich the first march 1983. The Swatch would be instrumental in reviving the Swiss watch industry.
The first books on the history and technology of the wristwatch were published, sparking huge interest in vintage watch collecting. Meanwhile, Osvaldo Patrizzi developed vintage watch auctions (Antiquorum) and in doing so helped strengthen the market.
Lech Walesa was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
Acting on their intuition that the mechanical watch could spark interest and hold the public's attention, Jean-Claude Biver and Jacques Piguet relaunched the Blancpain brand.
As recommended by Nicolas G. Hayek, the merger between SSIH and ASUAG, a holding company that controlled manufacturers of movement blanks, assortments and electronic components for the entire Swiss watch industry, gave a new bill of health to all brands concerned and gave rise to what would become the Swatch Group.
IWC launched the Da Vinci chronograph with perpetual calendar.
The creation, by Lucerne-born Ludwig Oechslin for Ulysse Nardin, of the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei astronomical watch, followed by the Planetarium Copernicus (1989) and the Tellurium (1992).
Foundation of the Académie des Horlogers Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI), a group of independent master watchmakers, a significant force behind innovation and creation in mechanical watchmaking.
Gorbachev became leader of the USSR.
Portugal and Spain joined the European Economic Community (EEC).
The first meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev took place in Geneva.
A consequence of the "quartz crisis", the number of persons employed by the Swiss watch industry fell from 90,000 in 1970 to some 30,000.
The sculptor Cristo wrapped the oldest bridge in Paris.
Jean d'Eve launched the Samara, the first quartz watch whose power source was an automatic rotor, the Generotor.
End of the Iraq-Iran war.
First International Conference on AIDS.
Inauguration by François Mitterrand of the Louvre Pyramid, the work of the architect Ieoh Ming Pei.
Patek Philippe made the most complicated pocket watch of its time to commemorate its 150th anniversary.
Solidarnosc was legalised.
Protests in Beijing were violently crushed.
Fall of the Berlin Wall (November 9th) and with it Communism in Eastern Europe.
Fatwa on Salman Rushdie.
The dramatist Vaclav Havel was elected president of the Czech Republic.
Seiko launched a quartz watch, unveiled in Basel in 1986 and electrically powered by an oscillating weight, similar to that of a self-winding mechanical watch. Seiko and various Swiss firms have continued to build on this technology.
Dissolution of the USSR (December 8th) which became the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Berlin became the capital of unified Germany.
Mikhail Gorbachev resigned.
First Gulf War.
The World Wide Web was invented at CERN in Geneva.
Deaths of the French singer Serge Gainsbourg and of Miles Davis.
The emergence of grunge music which spawned its own dress style.
The Vatican lifted its condemnation of the Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo, who at the turn of the 17th century had demonstrated that the earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa, and that the sun was not the centre of the universe.
Election of Bill Clinton.
The UNO condemned "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia.
Claude Nicollier became the first Swiss astronaut to travel into space (mission STS 46).
The Swiss voted 50.3% against their country joining the European Economic Area (EEA) versus 49.7% in favour.
Lange 1 is created by Lange & Söhne.
The EEC became the European Union.
Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa.
Inauguration of the Channel Tunnel.
Genocide in Rwanda.
The Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Arafat, Rabin and Peres.
Switzerland had a population of 7 million.
Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, committed suicide.
Casio revolutionised photography when it unveiled the first digital camera for the general public.
Oé Kenzaburo became the second Japanese writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Philippe Dufour invented the Duality, a wristwatch with a double regulator, a complication that is considered to be even more complex than the tourbillon.
Death of François Mitterrand.
The Russian president Boris Yeltsin was re-elected at the head of the Russian confederation, with 53.5% of votes.
The Talibans took control of Kabul.
Launch of Al Jazeera, the first Arabic satellite channel.
The Amsterdam Treaty replaced the Maastricht Treaty, opening the way for an extended European Union that would include Eastern European countries and Cyprus.
Dolly the sheep became the first cloned mammal. Hong Kong was returned to China.
Signature of the Kyoto Protocol.
The Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis won the Key Biscayne tournament in Miami, and at 17 became the youngest-ever player to attain number-one ranking in the history of professional tennis.
Opening of the new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Designed by the American architect Franck O. Gehry, it is entirely covered in titanium.
Research stepped up to develop movements that would function without lubricant.
The 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th.
Lisbon hosted Expo '98 on the theme "The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future" for which Santiago Calatrava designed the Gare do Oriente and Álvaro Siza Vieira the Portuguese Pavilion.
Jean Kazes made the world's tallest clock (30 metres) for a hotel in Geneva.
Omega launched the coaxial escapement, developed some 20 years previously by George Daniels.
The Euro became currency in the European Union.
Boris Yeltsin resigned.
World population reached 6 billion.
Switzerland's Bertrand Piccard and Britain's Brian Jones became the first men to circumnavigate the globe in a balloon, the Breitling Orbiter III. Their non-stop flight covered 42, 810 kilometres and took 19 days, 1 hour and 49 minutes.
Death of Yehudi Menuhin.
First results of research into silicon as a material for wristwatch escapements.
François-Paul Journe unveiled the first resonance watch.
The Internet bubble reached its highest point; share prices were at record levels before losing up to 80% of their value over the following years.
Mad cow disease in France and the world.
Start of the second intifada.
Richemont bought LMH (Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne) for CHF 2.8 billion, thus ending the wave of acquisitions that had restructured the Swiss watch industry.
Creation of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.
Seiko launched the Spring Drive Kinetic, the first self-winding mechanical watch with an electromagnetic escapement.
World population estimated at 6.5 billion.
For the first time, Swiss watch exports exceeded the CHF 12 billion mark.