Horology the art of watches and clock making. Horology is the measurement and study of time. Least did I know about Horology until I step foot inside the beautiful city of Bern? It was a pleasant afternoon when I desired to sip a cup of tea. Generally, I am not a tea person. It is coffee that I savor the most. However, that afternoon had a very swizz charisma to my change of mood. I walked down the street outside my hotel and sat in one of the local cafés. I ordered myself a classic English tea and a couple of biscuits. The set up was cozy for the vibrant winter chills, and I was enjoying myself more productively.
It was then I noticed the waiter, having a watch that looked no less than jewelry. The craft designed on the watch allured me. My curiosity employed me to ask the waiter of which company the watch belonged? The waiter with his instrument of Swiss charm smiled and said that it doesn’t belong to any company instead was a watch made by his grandfather who was a horologist. Horologist? I was baffled. I had no idea what that was. To my utter embarrassment, I politely asked my waiter about it.
He started narrating all about there is to know about Horology. Firstly his name was Corentin Bellamy, and he is the fifth generation French settled in Switzerland. His ancestors were all horologist. Corentin family lives in a city called La Chaux de Fonds which is like an hour and a half outside the city of Bern. He then went on talking about the heritage value of this Swiss city.
La Chaux de Fonds is the French-speaking area of the country that is the nerve-center of the culture of watchmaking. There is an industrial area which is called the Watch Valley. The valley is the place where tourist takes tours to watch the mastery of horology. Corentin also briefed me about how the ancestors went bankrupt after a massive fire that burnt the entire town to ashes. But the love for horology set the course of work right. Everything was well settled and merry with the Bellamy family later on. I asked Corentin about him not being a horologist. He said he is a horologist himself and being a waiter is his part-time job to break the monotonous conversations at home. Interesting. I asked Corentin to take me to do this beautiful city of La Chaux de Fonds. Corentin was more than happy to get me to his town the next day.
To pronounce La Chaux de Fonds had a very classy and high standard French charm. I kept recited the name La Chaux de Fonds as if I have appreciated art to my non-French speaking friends. La Chaux de Fonds. When we reached the city, I realized how beautifully the city was organized just like the precision and perfection crafted on Corentin’s watch. Magnificent! That was the only word coming out of my mouth.
The first thing we did together was visiting the historic Watch Valley. I was wondering if the valley was about to be similar to those of European streets with medieval charms but to the surprise that was not the case. It was a modern valley with big brands like Gallet, TAG Heuer, Tissot, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Chopard branding their watches. Thanks to the views of the Jura Mountains, horology was getting into my head. I started witnessing every hand passing by me. One watch was better than the other. Oh my god! What’s up with Swiss people and watches? I could never have imagined the art of watchmaking to have such Importance. It was a world within itself. It was a time within time, measured by time and stopped by time.
After having some fantastic horology knowledge gaining and horology shopping, Corentin took me to his house for a cup of coffee and then I set back to my hotel in Bern right before the sun was setting its course for a lovely night. I was heading back to the states, and I had to pack. Although I did not wished to leave the city soon and be in the company of my beloved friend Corentin, I had to go with a heavy heart.
Once I reached my hotel, I packed all the souvenirs I got for my friends and family. I then let FareFerry book plane tickets back to Chicago. They were grateful enough to grand me a low-cost airline deal even at the last minute. Once I was done with all my miscellaneous chores, I sat down again looking at the watch and appreciating the little things life has given to me. For now, it was a lesson to value time. Because if not for all the horologists, the entire world would be living in chaos.