Gübelin’s story began at a time that coincided with the beginning of the technical, medical and economic developments without which today’s world would be unthinkable. Jakob Josef Mauritz Breitschmid first opened his watchmaker’s shop at Pfistergasse in Lucerne in 1854, six years after the Constitution of 1848 established the modern state of Switzerland. Business was going so well that soon he was able to take on an apprentice by the name of Eduard Jakob Gübelin. After his years as an apprentice and as a journeyman in Paris, the young man returned to his master, married his daughter Bertha and in 1899 also bought the business. Breitschmid’s watchmaker’s shop was universally stocked and he himself was open to new ideas. He was a watchmaker heart and soul, but also a man in touch with the times. A look at the Berne Post Office archives shows that it was Breitschmid who installed the first telephone sets in Lucerne. While the world was going through the dramatic changes of the turn of the last century, Breitschmid and Gübelin spotted an opportunity and moved their shop to a location were the nobles and aristocrats were known to stroll. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the head of the company is Thomas Gübelin. His father, Walter Gübelin, who had successfully managed the company since the end of the Second World War, handed over the business to his son in 1988. Overall, Thomas Gübelin continued the tradition established by his father, consolidated the company’s position as a Swiss family-run enterprise for Swiss and foreign clients, and did so by expanding the range of services which today are crucial to the company and its clientele, namely competence in design and service. The design applies as much to each individual item of jewelry as to the entire range of watch makes offered by Gübelin. Watches, jewelry and gems are intended as mementos of precious experiences, a reminder of significant moments. The individual care and attention is appreciated by anyone who walks into Gübelin after all service has always been one of the company’s strengths. And what Thomas Gübelin has initiated is to be continued one day, in the sixth generation, by his two children, Raphael and Sara, both of whom already work for the company.
That’s 150 years for the three big secrets of the world: love, beauty and time. All three have accompanied the family and the enterprise throughout, and will continue to do so. They have been the essence and the objective, and since no-one is really able to grasp them, the fascination of shaping and conveying the world of beautiful things remains as undiminished as before.