Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Caran d’Ache Saga – the story of a global Genevan brand

Hopefully every Swiss living abroad will soon be using Swiss Caran d’Ache pencils to support the economy back home,” wrote the “Correspondenzblatt für die Schweizer und Schweizervereine im Ausland” in 1925. Geneva-based pencil manufacturer Caran d’Ache - still a fledgling company in those days - had just opened a shop in Berlin. 

This was the beginning of a success story that saw Swiss writing and colouring products become a global hit. Freelance author Ralph Brühwiler tells the story of Caran d’Ache in a new, lavishly illustrated book. His evocatively written chronicle contains a wealth of facts and details. 

Company founder Arnold Schweitzer, an industrialist from eastern Switzerland, features prominently, Brühwiler describing him as a kindly businessman who experienced his fair share of setbacks. The author also explains why the company name transliterates the Russian for pencil, how the company’s laboratories and workshops became a conveyor belt for new products, and why Caran d’Ache pencils are just as popular among Swiss school children as they are among famous artists. Caran d’Ache is a global brand these days, and is still owned by three Swiss families.

Unfortunately, this book is only available in German but definitely worth reading if you dominate Goethe's language. ;)

Die Caran d’Ache Saga. Von Genf in die Welt.” NZZ Libro 2020 (in German), 264 pages; CHF 49.-

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Roger's insider tip...Ticino

Here's a pairing we didn't see coming: Robert DeNiro and Roger Federer. Ask the Swiss tennis star, recently named the new brand ambassador for Switzerland Tourism, and he'd say the same. “I am a huge fan of his so I couldn't believe he said yes to the campaign,” says Federer, who calls up the Hollywood actor in a new commercial spotlighting Switzerland's spectacular beauty. 

The short film features the unlikely duo, split between New York City and Zermatt, with a guest appearance from the towering Matterhorn. 

"The outdoors are where Switzerland shines", Federer says, reminiscing on summer hikes near his home in Graubünden and beyond. "We're also very proud of our lakes and rivers. I think Ticino, the Italian-speaking part, lends itself very well for a beautiful summer trip. A lot of people from the Swiss-German part travel down to the Italian-speaking part because it's really a hidden gem. People know about it here in Switzerland, but not on a worldwide level."

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