Sam Bomer


Patek Philippe – The number 5

There has always been a very special bond between Beyer Watches and Jewellery and the Genevan watch manufacturer Patek Philippe. A limited series of 25 timepieces, which Patek Philippe designed on the occasion of Beyer’s 225 year anniversary, bears witness to this relationship. After 30 years, one of these rare watches has found its way back to Beyer.

The long-established Zurich based company Beyer Watches and Jewellery, founded in 1760, has always been one of the top addresses in the antique and vintage watch sector, far beyond the Swiss borders. Tradition, a love of valuable timepieces, expertise and longstanding partnerships have formed the basis for their success. One of these partnerships, going back to the middle of the 19th century, is with the exclusive timepiece manufacturer Patek Philippe; the two companies have worked together practically from the outset. It is the longest business relationship to date for both partners, ennobled in 2011 with the only store of its kind in Switzerland, the retailer-run Beyer’s Patek-Philippe-Boutique on Bahnhofstrasse 31 in Zurich.

A golden hommage

EIn 1885 the limited series of 25 timepieces for Beyer’s 225 year anniversary paid special homage to the long-standing business partnership between the two Zurich companies. Patek Philippe designed a limited edition on this occassion – a new and uniquely flat automatic watch with the intricacy of a perpetual calendar with moon phase and 24-hour display. The exclusive timepiece with Ref. 3940 and made of 750 solid gold bore the retailer signature „Beyer“ on the dial and at the six o’clock position the limited edition number between 1 and 25. The month and weekday information was in the German language on watches numberred 1 to 15 and in the English language on watches numberred 16 to 25.

The number 5 returns

While the Number 7, the symbol for the „Seventh generation of Beyer“, was presented to Theodor Beyer and can be viewed today in the Beyer watch museum, in the past few years only the Number 8 watch made its way back to Beyer in 2007 and the Number 18 in 2013.

Then this year there was a real sensation when Beyer was able to acquire another of these rare watches; the Number 5
in the series, proven by the hand-engraved inscription„Patek Philippe No 77005 Fabriquée pour le 225ème anniversaire de Beyer à Zürich 1760 – 1985“ on the solid gold snap-in back. The special thing about this timepiece is the complete documentation provided thanks to the first owner. The elegant mahagony box with an embedded anniversary plaque does not only contain the original invoices and the personal letter from Theodor Beyer, but also all press articles on the watch from the year 1985 and a large advertisement printed in the NZZ newspaper on Beyer’s 225th anniversary. A complete, exclusive package, which promises to set some watch collectors‘ hearts racing.

Watches with soul and history

Beyer Watches and Jewellery has been specialising in antique and vintage watches since 1965. Many of the rare timepieces have an extract from the manufacturer’s archives. Before a watch is presented to the new owner, the watchmakers test it in Beyer’s in-house atelier. And of course the expert for vintage watches, Jürgen Delémont, provides support during development, upgrading, purchase or in the procurement of complete watch collections.

Photos Copyrights: Dave Nauli

The multi-talent


No one could blur the borders between object design, art and articles of everyday use as masterfully as he – Piero Fornasetti. Born on 10th November 1913 in Milan as one of four children from an entrepreneurial family, the arts fascinated him from an early age. It would later prove to be his good fortune that his brother declared that he was prepared to carry on the family business, leaving the way clear for Piero to pursue artistic studies. However, his days as a student in Brera were not to last long, after only two years he was expelled from the school, due to insubordination.

A true autodidact and artist, who would not let himself be pigeonholed into a restricted artistic genre, this expulsion proved only beneficial to his career. In 1933 at the Milan Triennale, while exhibiting his self-painted scarves – at only 20 years of age – he met the designer and architect Gio Ponti, who was to become his first sponsor. The beginning of a fruitful collaboration, in which they designed not only furniture, but also complete interior concepts.

The Muse

Wildlife, butterflies, newspaper article excerpts or floral patterns – they all frolicked happily on the ever so characteristic, inked or patterned ashtrays, lamps, scarves, crockery or furniture from Fornasetti. His imagery is strong, unmistakeable and enriched with a large portion of humour and surrealism.
His probably most famous motif is well known even to those, who do not know Fornasetti by name. The face on his plates. It is that of no one less than the former Italian opera diva Lina Cavalieri. The divine soprano, who was considered the most beautiful woman in the world around 1900 and was adored by countless gentlemen in her lifetime, from which seven are supposed to have taken their life out of despair for her love. And it was not without good reason that even the Italian writer Gabriele D’Annunzio described her as „the greatest manifestation of Venus on earth “. Piero Fornasetti however fell for her posthumously in 1952, when he happened to be flicking through a French magazine. His obsession for her was no less significant. In his artistic creations he brought her face back to life over 350 times – with and without monocle, cheekily blinking, with her tongue out, with half of her face a skull and in countless other variations.

The only individual fabrication

In his private life the ingenious artist was regarded as an eccentric, who excelled in his exceptional rudeness. His son Barnaba, whom he referred to as his only individual fabrication, had a hard struggle with his father’s tyranny. Since his father’s death in 1988 Barnaba Fornasetti has been running the company and as such continues the legacy. He certainly managed to successfully bring the name Fornasetti to the fore again and to elevate it to a Must-Have for stylish interiors. Some would claim that Fornasetti’s work was never modern, but it is also true that it was never not modern.
So all that remains to say in the words of Getrude Stein: Fornasetti is a Fornasetti is a Fornasetti is a Fornasetti.

Via Nassa 3, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland

Corso Venezia 21A (corner via Senato)
20121 Milano, Italy

Photos Copyrights: Fornasetti

Time out… But highly addictive

A number of great things have emerged from lovesickness. For example the legendary Burning-Man-Festival, probably the most flamboyant cultural and musical festival in the Nevada desert, which has been attracting an increasing number of visitors since it began. The general rule is: your first Burning Man will definitely not be your last.

In 1986 Larry Harvey probably could not have envisaged that one day 70,000 people would visit his festival. It all began with a private beach party on Baker Beach in San Francisco, at the end of which he burnt a figure to rid himself of his lovesickness. It proved such an unforgettable evening that he staged the party again every year. In 1990 the beach party was so popular that over 500 people took part, by this stage the „Burning Man“ had reached a height of 12 metres. Too high for the local police, who banned the festival without further ado. A solution was close at hand: a change of location to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada and so the legendary Burning Man Festival was born. Since then the festival begins each year on the last Sunday in August and ends on the first Sunday in September.

A lived utopia

And so, seemingly from nothing, the legendary Black Rock City emerged, a temporary city, which becomes the hub of the world for 70,000 people of all shapes and sizes every year. One-man shows, visionaries, birds of paradise, hippies, performers, artists and completely normal people from all over the world meet here to celebrate a utopia far removed from commercial concepts and boundaries. Trying to describe the festival in the desert is like trying to explain colours to a blind man. Burning Man is unique in the world. A wonderful, bizarre microcosm, which leaves all thoughts of reality far behind. A world, in which money no longer plays a role, because the principle of exchange applies, where creativity, radical self-expression, love, tolerance and community is the foundation and where everyone can be what he wants to be. It is time out from normal life, where advertising and sponsoring are banned and it is immaterial who earns how much.

From another world

The festival cannot be topped for creativity. Spectacular installations, fantastic constructions, artistic structures and micro projects can be discovered everywhere and people make the festival a synthesis of the arts in their rococo costumes, as post-apocalyptic beings or futuristic creatures. The legendary Art Cars are the means of transport, works of art on four wheels in the shape of rockets, fire-spitting unicorns, pirate ships and many more and, of course, the bicycle, which is a must for the long stretches on the festival grounds. And at the end when the main protagonist „The Man“, a colossal wooden figure is burnt in the midst of all „Burners“, it is not only the most emotional moment in the week, but also the moment, in which the majority swears to return the following year.

Photos Copyrights: BLM Nevada