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Kunsthistorisches Institut

A Promising Market and a Rival Industry

A Promising Market and a Rival Industry: Swiss Watchmakers in Japan,

Prof. Dr. Pierre-Yves Donzé (Osaka University)

Saturday, 27th November 2021, 13:15–14:45 (Zurich / UTC+1)
Online lecture (Zoom) Join


Watchmaking has been at the core of relations between Switzerland and Japan since the end of the Edo period. Watch merchants from Neuchâtel were among the first Swiss citizens to settle in Yokohama, opening a new market in East Asia. However, Japan was not only a growing outlet but also a nation that built its own watch industry, mostly based on two main companies (Seiko and Citizen). This lecture will hence discuss two main aspects of relations concerning the watch trade of the two countries between the 1860s and the 1930s: sales activities (the import and distribution of watches by Swiss merchants) and industrial relations (technology transfer from Switzerland and the investment of Swiss watchmakers in Japanese firms).

Prof. Dr. Pierre-Yves Donzé was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds and studied History at the University of Neuchâtel, where he received his PhD in 2005. He is a Professor of Business History at Osaka University since 2015 and Visiting Professor at the University of Fribourg. He has published numerous books and articles on the history of global business in a broad range of industries (including watches, fashion and luxury, food, and medical devices). Website:  

Flyer (PDF, 258 KB)

This lecture will be held in English.

This event is generously supported by the Swiss-Japanese Society of Switzerland and the Swiss-Japanese Chamber of Commerce.


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