From sleeping beauties to international stars, all Geneva watch brands have a story to tell...through their logo. A secret tour of the heraldry of time. 
A city, a canton...and a brand: like it or not, Geneva is a political entity and a commercial argument. The watchmaking industry is the prime beneficiary. Swiss Made retains its primacy, but from Patek Philippe to Vacheron Constantin, Geneva has always been one of the epicentres of fine watchmaking.
Its watch brands all tell a story through their logos. Make no mistake about it: small, almost illegible on a dial no bigger than three centimetres square, a logo is an emblem, even a mark of social status. And the most powerful communication factor: who doesn't know who's behind the "brand with the crown", among a thousand others?
Yet few enthusiasts know the history of their favorite brands' logos. And only the most discerning remember that, in the past, ambitious entrepreneurs didn't hesitate to include the city's name in that of their brand, such as Geneva Watch Co or Nervus Genève, both of which have since died. They have joined the ranks of Geneva brands that have been forgotten for decades, if not centuries: Ardath, Lalsa, Itana Watch, Incaflex, Eldor and other dusty delights.
A story of lilies and bicorns 
In Geneva today, you'd swear that Vacheron Constantin has always had its Maltese Cross as a logo. A serious mistake: there have been some forty variants since 1755, the vast majority without the cross! For a long time, the brand used the horseshoe logo of its American subsidiary, Horse Show. Or the trident, the name of an eponymous sub-brand for customers who wanted Vacheron Constantin quality but couldn't afford it.

The famous Patek Philippe logo was registered 130 years ago, on April 22, 1887. It definitively replaced the Manufacture's former heraldry, "PP&C°". Note that "Patek-Genève" and "Patek et Cie-Genève" were registered at almost the same time, but never used. It is not known why Jean Adrien Philippe and his associates chose the Calatrava cross. One might imagine the appeal of La Croix's design, which contains four lilies, symbols of French royalty and associated with the coat of arms of Adrien Philippe's native village.

More recently, neighboring De Witt (in Meyrin) uses the image of Napoleon and his famous bicorne as its logo. The brand thus recounts the relationship of its founder, Jérôme de Witt, with the Emperor. Alpina is just as simple: a red triangle, whose shape recalls the origins of the brand, which was created for the needs of a mountaineering club...This triangle symbolizes the peaks they conquered.
Heraldic hesitations
The history of the Baume & Mercier logo is less straightforward and less well known. In 1960, Baume & Mercier became the property of Piaget. It was in 1964 that the company created its current logo: the Greek letter "PHI", symbolizing the golden ratio - its perfect proportions and aesthetic balance towards which every Baume & Mercier strives.
The no logo clan (or almost)

Other Geneva logos are less easy to decipher. At Tudor, for example, the rose of the Tudor dynasty appeared on dials in 1936. Inserted in a shield, this logo symbolizes the union of strength - the robustness of the watch - and grace - the beauty of its lines. In 1947, the shield disappeared. In 1969, Tudor reversed course, the shield returned and the rose disappeared! At Frédérique Constant, finally, it's a skilful marriage of Peter Star's family coat of arms, revised and corrected to incorporate the Swiss mountains and cross.

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