A way of life.

Author:Scheuringer, Carina
Position:Business: made in Switzerland
 
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Banks, watches, jewellery and pralines: this is Paradeplatz, arguably the most prestigious address in all of Switzerland. It is the type of real estate that most of us can only dream to own in Monopoly--and even there, it comes with the steepest of price tags. The first man to realise the potential of the square at the heart of Bahnhofstrasse was a certain confectioner by the name of Sprungli, who opened his Confiserie at a southern corner in 1859. He was followed by banking giants Credit Suisse and UBS (in 1873 and 1899 respectively)--and, in 1907, by a man named Arnold Turler.

The entrepreneur, Turler, showed great foresight when he moved the family business from idyllic Munsterhof to the premises in Savoy House, facing the bustling tram hub. It was a decision that was instrumental for the long-term success of the company and one that was to prove him right. 105 years down the line, the watch and jewellery retailer has become an institution both in Switzerland and beyond. Today, its name is synonymous with that of the famed Paradeplatz.

Paving the way

The story of Turler Watches and Jewellery began on 5 February 1883, when brothers Cesar Alexandre and Jean Henri broke with the family tradition of winemaking to establish a manufacture d'horologerie in Bienne. Following exhibitions in Vienna and Pforzheim, the duo decided to focus on the more lucrative retail industry and sell both watches and jewellery, thus laying the foundations for the business as it is today. The next milestone was reached at the turn of the century, when Cesar's son Arnold relocated the company to the flourishing trade metropolis of Zurich.

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At his first premises at Munsterhof, Arnold started a new family tradition in his own right that survives to date. His great-grandson, Franz Jr. recalls the story that has been passed down three generations: "When my grandfather was born, my great-grandparents hadn't yet decided on a name for him. The apartment overlooked the square, where across the road, there was a shop called Franz selling umbrellas. My great-grandfather liked the name and so he started a line of Franz-es." Franz Jr., the third in line, is determined to carry on the tradition should he ever have a son of his own--much to the delight of his own father. "There is just something about this name. Whenever I meet a Franz, his father seems to be a Franz too!" says the...

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