Member since: 1986-1992
Born: 1925 – Lucerne, Switzerland
Josef Karl Snétivy (“Pepe”) was born on May 9th, 1925 in Lucerne as the son of a watchmaker. His grandfather had already been a watchmaker. Therefore, the career as a watchmaker was given from the beginning.
At the age of 7 years, his family moved from Lucerne to Zurich, where his father took over the management of the Gubelin branch there. J.K. Snétivy attended school first in Lucerne, then in Zurich. In 1941 he began his professional training with a renowned pendulier in Zurich. From 1943 to 1945 he was trained as a small watchmaker at the Gübelin company in Zurich and the headquarters in Lucerne. He completed his apprenticeship in 1945 and then began working as a rhabilleur at Gubelin in Zurich and Lucerne. During this time, he completed the recruit school and NCO school and active service.
1948 – 1950 followed a stay abroad with Gubelin in New York.
From 1951 to 1952, J.K. Snétivy stayed in La Chaux-de-Fonds to perfect his French language skills, where he became acquainted with watchmaking as a rhabilleur at the company A. Schild & Cie.
In 1952 he opened a repair-and-terminage atelier in Zurich and worked independently from then on.
In 1954 he took over a shop for watch fittings and tools in Basel. He also continued to run the Rhabillage-Atelier with the necessary personnel. In the same year, he married Eleonor Kunz from Zurich, who took over the commercial department and helped him to build up his own company in the first few years.
As a balance to his professional activities, J.K. Snétivy developed his artistic talent in courses for painting and sculpture from an early age. He has always taken a deep interest in art. He shared this preference with his wife, who, in addition to bringing up their three sons, continued to cultivate and expand their arts and crafts activities. From 1974, after an accident, he deepened his artistic studies.
From 1980, J.K. Snétivy specialized in the restoration of antique clocks. With great care and expertise, the movements are restored to their original condition. The cases are also restored with great care and expertise, with his wife restoring any paintings.
These activities led to the self-construction of an astronomical wall clock in small series, which was on display at the special show at the Watch and Jewellery Fair in Basel. The same clock was already exhibited in 1985 in the Watch Museum in Le Locle, on the occasion of a special show entitled “Watchmaker-Artists Today”.