0

Are you sure?

You still have in your basket

If you continue to our gift website, these items will not be present in your new Utility Gift basket.s in your basket won't carry over to the gift site.

However, your Utility Design shopping basket will be saved here for 30 days should you wish to return to it.

Sign Up To The Utility Newsletter For 10% OFF Your First Order

  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Back in Time with Mondaine

Back in Time with Mondaine

It was back in the 1940s when Hans Hilfiker, Swiss engineer, designer and employee of the Federal Swiss Railways, was asked by his company to create a highly visible clock that would not only form the basis of their corporate and national identity but that would also guarantee on-time train departures.

The product of his invention was the Official Swiss Railways Clock, a bold, easy-to-read modernist design that Swiss commuters were treated to in 1944, whilst the rest of Europe struggled amidst the chaos of the Second World War.

Although the Swiss have been fighting against the incorrect claim made by Orson Wells in his film noir The Third Man that their major contribution to Western Society was the Cuckoo Clock (those are native to Germany’s Black forest), Switzerland did make an iconic contribution to the world of timekeeping with its functional and well-designed masterpiece, The Official Swiss Railway Clock.

swiss_train_geneva Official Swiss Railway Clock at Geneva Train Station

A distinctive feature of the clock was the unique red second-hand that was nicknamed the “Rote Kelle” or “Red Signal” because of its red disc - a small replica of the station manager’s hand-held departure signal.

The "Rote Kelle" was designed to complete its rotation in 58 seconds before pausing at the 12 o’clock mark for two whilst the black minute hand jumped forward, starting its next rotation. This ensured the smooth and absolutely precise departures of Swiss trains on the full minute and as it could be seen from great distances, it allowed passengers to know exactly how much time was left before the minute was up and the train would leave the platform, demonstrating punctuality in a highly visible and iconic fashion.

Historically, Swiss trains were and still are timed to the second. Seventy years on, the unique second-hand feature on railway clocks across Switzerland continue to delight and intrigue travellers from all over the globe, and Hillfilker’s second hand has become the symbol of Swiss punctuality.

However, that’s not the clock’s only legacy. The Official Swiss Railway Clocks are now found not only in Switzerland but also around the word at train stations, airport terminals, offices, homes and more.

2013 London art installation based on the Swiss Railway Clocks 2013 London art installation based on the Swiss Railway Clocks

 

They are notably sold as watches under the world-famous watch brand Mondaine, stocked by Utility. In 1986 the Mondaine watch company, owned by the Bernheim family, took the blueprint of the iconic design of the Railways Clock and turned it into a watch collection with official license from the Federal Swiss Railways. The simple designs, easy-to-read faces, and distinctive hands have made Mondaine timepieces uniquely recognised all over the world. The Mondaine Official Swiss Railways watches embody ingenuity and simplicity whilst proudly exemplifying iconic 20th century design, and since the first Mondaine collection launched in 1986, new lines have been introduced.

The Evo watch line features a gently rounded case topped by a slightly domed mineral crystal with a magnifying effect.

 

 

 

The Stop2go watch line has incorporated the unique second-hand motion into its design.

 

 

Helvetica Mondaine watches, choosing the Helvetica font as their muse, exude quintessentially Swiss values and style in being discreet and simple yet strong in the conviction of providing efficient time keeping in a recognisable form.

 

Mondaine Helvetica Light watch 38mm available at Utility for £255.00

 

The different types of Mondaine watches have their own little quirks, but all combine form and function in historical design masterpieces that originally and authentically capture a pristine and punctual look.

Shop our full collection of Mondaine watches here 

Next Working Day Delivery

View UK delivery options

Delivering to 150 Countries

View delivery options

Thank You Messages

I have rarely experienced such excellent quality advice, support and reliability. Your staff communicate effectively and helpfully. I am a truly satisfied customer. I love my String Shelving and I will not hesitate to return to Utility for my next purchase. Thank you!

Oct 24th 2019 | Sarah

Your customer service has been fantastic. I'm seriously impressed. Really pleased to be able to place the bigger order and make your time worthwhile. I think I need to send you a medal!

May 19th 2019 | Jason

I just wanted to express my thanks again for your great customer service. I ordered my items less than 24 hours ago and I’ve amended my order- yet I still have my order here with me now. You went out of your way to deliver my order and I’m very grateful. I wish more places had people like you :-)

May 14th 2019 | Louise

Thanks so much for your extraordinary service. -

Jun 19th 2019 | Maria (US)

Thanks again for such amazing customer service - I have honestly been so impressed by everything! Thank you for doing such a wonderful job

Jun 19th 2019 | Amber

Excellent customer service and immediate response to enquiry (live chat). Very happy every time used Utility both online and on high street.

Jun 28th 2019 | Jo

I couldn't be happier with the custom made sofa bought through the online store. It is perfect and made all the more enjoyable by buying it through the guys at utility. Ben and Paul who delivered the sofa were amazing, kind and really helpful in a difficult situation (of course the lift broke when I was getting something delivered). Would highly recommend!

Aug 13th 2019 | Holly

Just wanted to message and say that I'm a big fan of the Utility Stores and the types of products you guys sell. I work close by to the Manchester store at University Green, so I'm popping in a fair bit generally for cards, gifts, etc. I just nipped in again this afternoon about one product I'd bought earlier and the staff were super helpful and attentive. It made it really easy, and I was in and out in no time.

Aug 13th 2019 | Richard

Just wanted to drop you guys a quick note to say how happy I am with the service I have had. Especially the two guys who delivered/carried into an awkward space/built/then took away the packaging, not to mention then gave me a lift into town. Thank you. Plus the sofa looks amazing. I will definitely be using you guys more in the future and will highly recommend you to anyone who will listen.

Sep 13th 2019 | Luke

Thank you for all your help and customer service, the Eames Lounge Chair arrived yesterday and I love it.

Nov 1st 2019 | Ross

Comment: I just wanted to say that Esther on the checkout in the L1 store made my day today she was so friendly

Dec 9th 2019 | Katy