From the Ramp to the wrist
Founded in 1951 by Swiss citizens Erwin Bernheim and Egon Frank, the Mondaine Watch Company is arguably one of the biggest names in horology. The company is famous for taking the recognizable design of the Federal Swiss Railways (SBB) clock and combining that symbolic style with their meticulous standards for watchmaking to create a truly iconic Swiss product. The SBB clocks were first developed in 1944 by SBB engineer, Hans Hilfiker, whose goal was to synchronize every station clock across Switzerland while creating a highly visible design for hurried travellers. What resulted was one of the most innovative, supremely precise timepieces ever created, boasting a simple white face with black dials and a distinctive bright red second hand that resembles the railway guard’s signalling disc.
“Hans Hilfiker once said, ‘Outstanding design is something where you cannot add something to it without overloading it, and cannot take something away without it lacking something.’ This is the perfect description of the SBB clock, probably the biggest Swiss icon ever developed. Mondaine took it from the station to the wrist.”
A PAUSE FOR THE NEW ERA
The SBB clocks are not only highly appealing, but functionally a piece of technical art in itself. When Hilfiker began his work, he was working from a mother clock that led the others through a telephone network on electricity, a system that doesn’t support constant flow and energy supply. His solution was to have the clocks run fast for 58 seconds, then stop for synchronization, the basis for the newest feature of Mondaine’s Stop2Go watch, which also features a two-second pause.
Mondaine watches are available in the Jarrold’s watch department on the Ground Floor or online here