Brand History

When Isaiah Hirschsohn arrived on the shores of Cape Town, South Africa in 1896, with two suitcases filled with watches from America and Switzerland, he could hardly have imagined that his standalone Cape Town store would over the years evolve into the largest watch and jewellery boutique chain in Southern Africa — and spread its wings to Australia.

After first selling his wares from door to door, he opened his first store at the foot of Table Mountain and called it The AmericanSwiss Watch Company. Soon after that, the name changed to simply AmericanSwiss, and the company started to trade in diamonds, gold, and other precious gems. The world of watches remained part of the AmericanSwiss DNA, and in 1928, it created its first in-house watch brand, called Union Special.  A unique piece of South Africa’s Horological Heritage.

In 1967 AmericanSwiss became part of the Foschini Group, now known as TFG and the business took a great leap forward.  In fact, in 1969, AmericanSwiss sold the first Omega Speedmaster in Africa — the watch worn by the astronauts who landed on the moon.  AmericanSwiss soon became the go-to destination for important watch purchases, and many South Africans still cherish those timepieces they bought from AmericanSwiss boutiques.

AmericanSwiss continued to innovate, and in the 80’s launched Tempo, now the largest watch brand across Africa.   Tempo uses high quality Japanese movements, offers a three-year guarantee and elegant contemporary styling.

AmericanSwiss is the South African bride’s first choice.  No other jeweller can compete with the sheer carat volume of diamonds traded in the market.  In celebration of AmericanSwiss’ 120 year heritage in watches and diamonds, Tempo launched The Tempo Diamond Collection in 2017.

This year, 122 years after AmericanSwiss was founded, South Africa’s most trusted jeweller is set to open five stores in Australia in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The beginning of the company’s expansion outside of Africa.

AmericanSwiss invites Australia to Live, Love, and Celebrate its fine jewellery and most-wanted watch brands.

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