Letters to the editor
When I saw that Schumacher was paying less tax than me, I left. I don’t see why I should have to put in 60 hours of work a week, sometimes more, plus the army (yes, the army) and not start earning my living until August (the first seven months of the year going on tax) so that the wealthy can benefit almost scot-free. I now pay my taxes in California with the added bonus of the sunshine.
I was absolutely delighted to see an article about watchmaking in Switzerland. I was an employee of Piaget in the 1970s and now live in Lincoln, Nebraska, where I provide the official after-sales service for Maurice Lacroix, Louis Erard, Louis Chevrolet, Revue Thommen, Grovana, Charmex, Pilo Genève, David Van Heim and Ernest Borel. We have also set up an internship programme for Swiss watchmaking apprentices who have completed the 3rd or 4th year of their apprenticeship in the industry. We currently have six interns with us. This is an outstanding opportunity for them to leave Switzerland and practise their profession, study new calibres, learn English and learn how an after-sales service works.
Most things I learned in Switzerland
I am grateful for this detailed history of one of the industries Switzerland is most famed for, and I am very impressed with its tenacity to survive. It does not come as a surprise to me. I had the privilege myself to work in Switzerland (although in the heavy engineering industry) and have no qualms to state that most of the things that I have ever learned in my profession, I learned in Switzerland. Good on you!
Nation of sailors
In your article on Switzerland as a nation of sailors, you could perhaps have mentioned the fact that Switzerland has (or had?) a merchant navy on the high seas. It was established to ensure the supply of provisions to Switzerland during the 1939–1945 war. Using the port of Genoa and based in Basel, it carried out its mission to perfection and continued to exist after 1945. In 1974, I photographed the cargo ship “Zinal” (?) in the port of Lagos, as can be seen on my website of old photographs. I was even invited to dine there one evening with the Swiss consul. I believe this merchant fleet still existed until at least 10 years ago.