Swiss design is considered to be among the strongest in the world. With a great history of engineering and precision, it is natural that contemporary Swiss design is markedly simple and unpretentious often leading the way in minimalist aesthetic. Below are three selected designs and brands that are stalwarts of the made in Switzerland appeal and important design icons.
The Swiss Railway Clock was designed by Hans Hilfiker (15 September 1901 – 2 March 1993) in 1944. This piece of post war engineering embraced the latest technology, each clock taking an electronic signal from a centralised master clock to ensure universal synchronisation. It also referenced the conductor’s baton in the distinctive red second hand with a circular head. The clock is regarded as a national icon and is still very much in use around the Schweizerische Bundesbahn, or Swiss Federal Railway. It was also licensed by Mondaine in 1986 owe market themselves on the affordable luxury of their watches. Penman Watch and Jewellery are a UK biased watch retailer and restorer and have an extensive collection of Mondaine watches.
The Swiss Army Knife has been produced by the Swiss manufactures Victorinox and Wenger since the turn of the 20th Century. The knife was immediately noted for its practicality and dependability. It was both safe and convenient to carry and capable of executing a great many tasks. The red sided knife, with several pull out blades and tools, that we are used to is very similar to the original military issue ‘soldiers knife’ however, other versions of that knife have varied considerably in look. Many of their new knives are contain a greater range of less essential tools and even electronic components such as USB storage. Swiss Army Tools have a comprehensive selection of Swiss Army Knives including knives tailored to use at sea and by rescue operatives.
Freitag Bags are the most recent of the featured Swiss design classics. Freitag bags are often very colourful and also very hard wearing due to the material they are manufactured from. An example of the up-cycling, the bags are all constructed out of reclaimed tarpaulins that once covered the sides of lorries and are decorated with the livery of the various companies. The original designs and texts are cropped in abstract fashion giving the bags a bright modish finish. The company HQ is even housed inside an assemblage of converted shipping containers. Freitag operate their own online store and also stock various retailers and their own stores. Information is available at the Freitag Website.
There are of course a great many other famous and impressive Swiss designs and products exported around the world. In addition there is an impressive built history in Switzerland. Both architecture and engineering find a refined expression in the beautiful and pragmatic alpine country.