Tick-tock Geneva

By | Category: Travel destinations

Flower clock © Genève Tourisme

Think of Switzerland and you might first think of chocolate. Or cuckoo clocks except that the cuckoo clock is not Swiss. But over the years it – and Geneva in particular – has become known for watches and luxury watchmaking in particular.

It was here in 1601 – 413 years ago – that the first watchmaking corporation in the world was set up. Today, Geneva boasts the highest concentration of watchmakers per square kilometre in the world. So is it any surprise that there is now a watchmaking tour that visitors can enjoy when they come to this city.

Potentially you can stop at 100 different sites on this walk around Geneva as there are 50 retailers and 50 monobrand boutiques. And that is before you think of visiting the other delights of Geneva. There is the Flower Clock that tells time, showcases 6,500 flowers and forms the entrance to the English Garden. Or the Round of Hours that plays a traditional Geneva tune using only the chiming of its sixteen clocks before a parade of 42 bronze figures and 13 horses appears.

Take, for example, the Jet d’Eau the spout or fountain that shoots water into the air and which has become symbol of the city. Some 4,000 craftsmen set up shop here in the late nineteenth century because of the pressurised water that erupted from the hydraulic plant. A continuous fast flow enabled the grinding of the metals to take place. But at the end of the day when the craftsmen turned off their equipment if workmen at the plant did not quickly stop the pumps the pressurised water would quickly become a menace. One of the engineers came up with the bright idea of a valve which would the water to shoot into the air. And that is how the Jet d’Eau came into being. By 1891, the council decided to make it into a city institution so popular had it become with visitors.

The tour is free and you can either see it online, collect a mobile version or you can pick up a map from the tourist office when you get to the city. Click here for more details.

For more about Geneva, click here.

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