Arguably Switzerland’s most famous export after watches, Cuckoo Clocks are, in fact, a German invention. The earliest mention of these characterful chronometers can be traced back to the 17th century, and Germany’s Black Forest region is historically known for its elaborate cuckoo clocks. Nevertheless, cuckoo clocks are commonly associated with Switzerland, which is perhaps not surprising given its worldwide reputation for impeccable timepieces. Guests at Hotel d’Angleterre in Geneva will quickly discover that they are also a popular Swiss souvenir for many travellers who visit the country.
Whilst cuckoo clock creation might have its roots in Germany, the classic Chalet style design of the clocks originated in Switzerland in the 1800s and, if you look carefully, you’ll still find local craftsmen making Swiss cuckoo clocks. Take a scenic drive along Lake Geneva to the town of Renens and you’ll discover Swiss Koo, an artisan cuckoo clock manufacturer. Started by two Swiss designers and mechanics, Alexandre Gaillard and Martino D’Esposito, who wanted to uphold their Swiss cultural heritage and champion locally made products, the brand takes an icon of traditional Swiss design and gives it a modern twist. Swiss Koo’s clocks are painstakingly handmade in Renens and the quality of both the workmanship and the materials used is second to none. Fashioned out of metal and wood and laser cut, each clock is made without glue, as a real chalet would be.
What’s more, cuckoo clocks work on the force of gravity, so there’s no need for batteries. The clock’s mechanism is dependent on its weights, meaning that each clock needs to be pulled once a day or every eight days depending on what movement each clock has. A cheerful and unique addition to any home, a Swiss-made cuckoo clock is a guaranteed conversation starter, and a stylish piece of Swiss craftsmanship to have in your home. Look out for Swiss Koo’s brightly coloured KooKoo designs, featuring intricately carved chalet scenes and available in a range of eye-catching colours, they are playful yet beautiful works of art. The Lake Geneva-based brand also often work on a bespoke basis, designing clocks that are unique to the customer.
Discover the art of Swiss cuckoo clocks and other local crafts when you visit Hotel d’Angleterre.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Swiss Koo.