- 1985 to 2002: the personal watch of Theodor Beyer
- 2003 until today: the property of a private European collector
Theodor Beyer (1926-2002)
As the sixth-generation owner of one of the world's leading watch retailers, Theodor Beyer was among the foremost figures on the international watch scene during the second half of the twentieth century. He was a broadly recognized scholar, an avid collector and brought together an exquisite range of timepieces that was to become the basis of the Clock and Watch Museum Beyer Zürich set up in 1970/71.
Born in 1926 into a family of watch dealers and watchmakers whose business has existed since 1760, Theodor was exposed to the world of horology from an early age. After training as a watchmaker in Solothurn, Switzerland and subsequently working for the Henry Stern Watch Agency in New York, the twenty-one-year-old Theodor joined the family business, Chronometrie Beyer, in 1947. Just eight years later upon the passing of his mother, he took charge of the firm, which has occupied the same building at Bahnhofstrasse 31 for more than eighty years.
Theodor steered the family business through a period of transition in the watch industry when a shift in consumer tastes meant less demand for traditional pocket watches. Despite that change in the market, the firm prospered over time and Theodor enjoyed close ties and personal friendships with many of the figures behind the Swiss watch industry, including Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, and the Stern family, owners of Patek Philippe. Indeed, Chronometrie Beyer was the first dealership to sell Patek Philippe watches. In 1985, the long-standing ties between the Beyer and Stern families were further strengthened by the creation of a special limited edition of Ref. 3940, made in 25 examples to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the renowned Zürich retailer.
The present limited edition watch with its champagne dial was Theodor's personal watch and is number 6, a significant number to him as he represented the 6th generation of Beyer Zürich. Theodor also travelled widely to auctions over the years and continued to expand his collection of timepieces. He died in 2002. The business is now run by his son René Beyer.
The Property of a Private European Collector - Formerly the personal watch of the late Theodor Beyer, Chronometrie Beyer, Zurich
Homage To Theodor Beyer, Tribune des Arts, Geneva, 2003.