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The Chronometry Service at the Geneva Observatory

At the end of the eighteenth century, Geneva had an important and active scientific community. The booming watch industry was the backbone of Geneva's economy. The convergence of a need for a precise determination of time for industry and the development of astronomy were the reasons for the creation of the Geneva Observatory in 1772. From the very beginning of its existence the Observatory has witnessed the precision that watch manufacturers were able to achieve.

Over the years watchmakers have realized the benefits and prestige they could acquire to be among the best. To improve the already renowned performances of Geneva watchmaking, the Société des Arts' Class of Industry and Commerce entrusted to the Geneva Observatory in 1872 the arbitration of the chronometer adjustment competition. Chronometer competitions took place at the Geneva Observatory from 1872 to 1968. We are in possession of the archives of these competitions.

With the arrival of quartz watches, the contest has been removed. Nowadays the timekeeping service is responsible for issuing extracts from the register of chronometer competitions.