My books: Swiss Precision

There is an out-of-print overview of Thorens written by Gerhard Weichler in German and English about the music boxes, gramophones, turntables and other products that were produced for over 100 years. To maintain integrity, this publication did not go into any more detail on the Swiss belt and idler wheel driven machines of the years 1957 to 1967. Given that Thorens had developed a world-wide reputation for hi-fi stereo turntables during this time and little was known except for rumors, I found it a shame that there was a gap in the available information.

Since 2005 Swiss Precision has been closing this gap – now available in double pack!


Because of the abundance of additional material and handling reasons, the 962-page mammoth work was divided into two complementary volumes

By popular demand, the greatly expanded, richly illustrated third edition is available again in German.

Third edition, 2019, Volume 1 with 656 pages and 1300 illustrations, German

Volume one describes the history of the Thorens TD124 and other classic hi-fi turntables as well as the associated tone arms and pickups in many aspects and in exciting forms. A detailed section at the end of the book deals with the renewed interest in the TD124 in the 1980s. Numerous tips for the purchase, restoration and associated parts of the coveted classic round off the provided details in the book.

Third edition, 2019, Volume 2 with 306 pages and 570 illustrations, German

Volume two focuses on Thorens’ key sales and distribution companies in Germany (Paillard-Bolex), Switzerland (Thorens-Franz), the UK (Metro-Sound), and the United States (Elpa Marketing Industries) – combined with information about the market environment. This lead to the inclusion of a chapter on the barely known first attempts of High Fidelity in West Germany during the 1960s as well as sections on development of Hi-Fi in the native countries (United States from 1950, Great Britain from 1956). These additional contributions provide the reader with the full picture of Hi-Fi and phono industry in the era of the Thorens TD124. An area in which there is currently no other book publication.

Second edition, 2008, with 290 pages and 590 illustrations, English

The second edition of Swiss Precision appeared in English due to numerous requests from the UK, the Commonwealth countries and the USA, where the Thorens TD124 was predominatly sold.

Garrard 301 – Ivory version with strobe platter, built between 1954 and 1964

New in this revised and expanded second edition were chapters on other turntables from the 1960s that were actually competitors for the Thorens TD124. Extravagant models by Garrard, Connoisseur, Lenco/Goldring, Jobo/Acoustical, Rek-O-Kut, and Empire remained a dream for most audiophiles in that era. And because such motor units still needed a tone arm and a cartridge in order to play records, well-known products by Ortofon, SME, and Shure from that era are also acknowledged with chapters. Another chapter in the book describes the beginnings of high fidelity in Germany, a story that is inseparable from that of the Thorens TD124.

Head of Shure tone arm M232 Professional

A testimonial of the English version by Art Dudley from the US magazine Stereophile: “As a nonspeaker of German, I don’t know whether to credit the writing, the translation, or both, but the second edition is a smooth read: The English version of Swiss Precision is as free of curious word substitutions and clumsy, unintentionally funny syntax as the typical owner’s manual is full of them. Bung is more than just a hobbyist with a word processor. He’s a good storyteller with, apparently, endless enthusiasm for his subject.” Swiss Precision second edition in English is still available.

First edition, 2005, with 112 pages and 215 illustrations, German, out of print

My first book was published after two years of preparation and several reconnaissance trips to Switzerland. Creating a low priced book on demand was ruled out in order to ensure high quality images and production. Development of a bilingual German/English book was also not considered based on limitations in terms of size and layout. Publishers to whom I presented the topic, rejected the production as economically uninteresting. Swiss precision was therefore, similar to turntable books by other authors, developed as a private initiative.

Roger Turin (right), happy owner of the Thorens TD124, with the author and editorial dog “Berta”

Sales were of course initial started in Switzerland, during the October 2005 high-end trade fair “AdVance05” in Pfäffikon on Lake Zurich, visitors were able to purchase the books directly from our stand.

Here are the Thorens books: Angelika Bung at the trade fair stand

Following on from the trade fair my wife Angelika and I drove with our dog Berta to Sainte-Croix. Here a memorable press conference took place in the former Thorens factory on the Avenue des Alpes.

Upper row starting from the left: Simone Fuchs (daughter of Louis Thévenaz, designer of Thorens TD124), Luc Martin (mayor of Sainte-Croix), Angelika and Joachim Bung, Michel Ruchat (head of tourist information)
Bottom row: Robert Thorens with his wife Bekka and son Dr. Blaise Thorens

Two local newspapers in French reported on the press conference: “Publications on the rich industrial past of our community are few and far between,” writes the Journal de Sainte-Croix. “This makes the book by Joachim Bung on the glorious history of the company Thorens, about which there was no publication so far, all the more welcome to us”. The daily “24 Heures” published in Yverdon on Lake Neuchâtel finds it remarkable that a German journalist managed to retrace the Thorens story. “Robert Thorens, grandson of the company founder, referred to the excellent relations with Germany, where the company is based today. He highlighted that such a book might delight readers to visit Sainte-Croix, the historic birthplace of Thorens”.