In the Swiss market, shoes from Zlín had been sold since 1926 and Tomáš Baťa´s business grew more rapidly in the country since the establishment of own affiliate company in December 1929. Firstly, the network of shops was expanded and in 1932 the production of footwear in the factory in Möhlin was added. In the 1930s, business developed in several new directions: financial and capital operations (Leader), production of stockings (Argo), wholesale (Kotva). Business in the country successfully developed also after the Second World War and the number of employees reached its peak in the 1960s. The production ended in the 1990s, but the network of shops lasted until 2016. The presence of the company in Switzerland continues today – the Bata headquarters are situated in Lausanne.

  • In 1926 the shoes from the Baťa factory in Zlín were brought to the Swiss market
  • In December 1929, Tomas Bata founded the company Bata Schuh Aktiengesellschaft Zurich in Switzerland; it was registered in the Zurich canton Business Register on 12th December 1929
  • At the end of 1929, the first Bata shops were opened – in Basel and Bern. In the following year, other stores followed – Zurich, Geneva, Biel, St. Gallen, Winterthur, Schaffhausen and additional shops joined in in 1931 – Lausanne, Thun Friborg, Baden, Aarau, Grenchen, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Zurich II. The next year, in 1932, new stores were opened – Neuchatel, Zurich III, Basel II, Möhlin; during this period, 1929–1932, 20 outlets in the country were opened.
  • On February 5, 1931, Tomas Bata established company Leader A. G. St. Moritz; this enterprise was responsible for financing and managing Bata companies abroad
  • In September 1931, Bata Schuh A.G. purchased 24 hectares of land in the Möhlin area for the future construction of the factory (the sale of 81 plots with the size of ​​24 ha was negotiated for Bata by Industriewerke Möhlin AG)
  • In April 1932, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of the factory in Möhlin; the next month, in May a building permit was obtained; a simple ground floor hall was completed in June; around 20th June machine equipment was brought from Zlín for a new factory and then assembled
  • In April 1932, representatives of 14 municipalities around Möhlin supported the request that authorities approve operation of Zlin instructors in a new factory; authorization procedure continued in June; in the following months, 25 instructors from Zlin helped to introduce production – trained employees, etc.; their annual residence permit was set to expire on 1st May 1933
  • In mid-August 1932 a production with the first 30 employees (leather shoes) was launched in the new factory in Möhlin; At the turn of September and October, 60–80 employees worked there and in February 1933 there were already 200 workers
  • In November 1932, the first group of boys from Switzerland travelled to Zlín to Bata´s apprenticeship school (Bata School of Labor)
  • During the years 1933–1934, the second ground floor hall for rubber footwear was built
  • The third ground floor building was constructed in the middle of 1934; in factory premises in June 1934 there were three production facilities – leather shoes, rubber footwear, warehouse
  • Construction of the production area and then also residential areas were carried out according to the projects of the Bata building department in Zlín (architecture plans for Möhlin is attributed to Antonin Vítek and other architects)
  • In March 1933, the company filed an application for a building permission for residential houses; in the same year, the first three family houses were built as the basis of a future residential neighborhood
  • In April 1934, the construction of a large three-storey building originally designed for rubber production started; critics of Bata business managed to halt the construction of the building, so it was completed in 1935; instead of the original purpose the building was used by the administrative department and warehouses
  • In 1935, Bata Schuh A. G. moved its headquarters from Zurich to Möhlin
  • In March 1936, a building permit was obtained for the second three-storey building, which was completed the following year. According to the permission from August 1937, production of sports rubber footwear started in the building.
  • In 1936, seven new family houses and two dormitories for employees were built in the residential area, according to the projects of the Bata building department in Zlín
  • Since 1936, the company produced stockings in Switzerland by Argo A. G. (77 employees in December 1945), which belonged to the Bata organization
  • In 1939, Bata sold its products in Switzerland; own retail network consisted from 23 stores
The number of Bata employees in Switzerland
in the 1930s
1932 160
1934 320 200 520
1940 392 199 591
  • On 24th October 1940, the Bündner Schuhfounds Stiftung St. Moritz was founded
  • On July 11th 1941, the sister company Kotva A. G. Zurich in the Zurich canton was registered
  • During the 1941–1945 period, the residential district was expanded by 9 new houses; Hannibal Naef was in charge of the construction from 1942; He also designed the new building of the Club House, which was built during 1948–1949, which became the dominant feature of the social life in the company town and premises
  • In the years 1949–1960, three ground floor halls and four residential buildings were added to the production facilities
  • In 1959, there were 30 shoe stores in the Bata company Swiss retail network
  • 1962 – On the list of historically existing Bata companies, the following companies were registered for the territory of Switzerland:
    • Bata Schuh A.G. (Switzerland)
    • Leader A.G. (Switzerland)
    • B.S.F. Stiftung (Switzerland)
    • Kargan A.G. (Switzerland)
    • Incosa A.G. (Switzerland)
    • Aiglon Sport S.A. (Switzerland)
    • Strumpfabrik Argo A.G. (Switzerland)
    • The Swiss Partnership of Dr. Charles Jucker and Dr. Hans Berger (Switzerland)
    • Anchor Export-Import A.G. (Switzerland)
The number of Bata employees in Switzerland during 1950s–1980s period
1953 650 350 1 000
1963 750
1980 350
1990 125
  • In 1978, a Switzerland member of the Bata Show Organization was a sister company Bata Schuh A. G.
  • In 1989, the production of leather shoes in the factory in Möhlin ended and the following year the rubber footwear production also finished. In 1990, the factory with 125 employees was closed; until 2005, Bata maintained its offices in Möhlin; two factory buildings and a Club house were protected by monument protection in 1992 year
  • In 1992 the Switzerland Retail, Moehlin, one of the Bata enterprises operated in country
  • In 2005 Bata left office in Möhlin and transferred its Swiss company headquarters to the nearby village of Pratteln
  • In April 2016, all 29 shoe stores were closed in Switzerland
  • Bata operates in the country today, as its global headquarters have been in Lausanne since 2004


  • Bata Archiv Mohlin, Švýcarsko
  • Moravský zemský archiv v Brně – Státní okresní archiv Zlín, Česko
  • Tobias Ehrenbold, Bata, Schuhe für die Welt, Geschichten aus der Schweiz, Baden 2012, ISBN 978-3-03919-256-4
  • Tobias Ehrenbold, Putting Möhlin on the map. The Swiss town as an integral part of the Company´s national image, In: Company Towns od the Baťa Concern. History – Cases – Architecture, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-515-10376-3, s. 129-145
  • Markus Widmer, Die Bata Kolonie in Möhlin, Diplomwahlfacharbeit, Zürich 1990
  • Markus Widmer, Baťova kolonie v Möhlinu, In: Zlínsko od minulosti k současnosti, Zlín 2002, sv. 19, s. 115-134
  • Karl Schib, Geschichte des Dorfes Möhlin, 1985, 305 s.
  • Martin Jemelka – Ondřej Ševeček, Tovární města Baťova koncernu, Praha 2016, ISBN 978-80-200-2635-4
  • Martin Marek, Zasutá minulost? Baťův koncern ve střední Evropě za druhé světové války, In: Hospodářské dějiny, 27/2, Praha 2012, s. 191-232.
  • Bata, The Bata Shoe Organisation, 1978
  • Thomas J. Bata, Remmembered, Zlín 2016, ISBN 978-80-7473-398-7
  • Alain Gatti, Chausser les hommes qui vont pieds nus, Metz 2004, ISBN 2-87692-619-9