by Michael Alexander
August 23, 2018 – The National Bank of Switzerland have released their new 200-franc note on the 22nd August which is intended to replace the banknote of the same denomination issued in 1997 as part of the Bank’s eighth series. Following the launch of the 10, 20 and 50 franc notes, this is the fourth of six denominations in the new ninth banknote series being phased in between 2016 and 2019.
More than 20 years have passed since the eighth banknote series was issued, and during this time, the capabilities in terms of banknote production have undergone a considerable step ahead in terms of technological and production capabilities. As a consequence, the Swiss National Bank have decided to design and issue a new series in order to maintain the Bank’s high security standards and protect the public against counterfeits. The new series provides the Swiss public with banknotes that are both more modern with regard to design and offers greater security than the previous generation of notes.
Both sides of the new note showing hand and globe.
With the issue of the ninth banknote series, the inspirations behind the six designs are ‘The many facets of Switzerland’. The vertically designed concept is retained from the previous series and breaks new ground as the Swiss National Bank have decided to move away from the depiction of well-known personalities altogether. Each note in the new series depicts a typically Swiss characteristic which is then illustrated graphically using a key motif. Each characteristic is communicated via an action, a Swiss location and various graphic elements. The 200-franc note for instance focuses on Switzerland’s scientific expertise which is expressed by matter, the note’s key motif.
The new banknotes explore some of the country’s many facets such as organisational talent (10 Francs), creativity (20 Francs), wealth of experiences (50 Francs), humanitarian tradition (100 Francs – not yet issued), scientific expertise (200 Francs) and communicative flair (1000 Francs – not yet issued). The six themes are exemplified in an array of design elements with some images recurring on all of the notes which are the core design elements of the new ninth banknote series. These common elements of the new ninth series include:
- Hand: Illustrating the theme of each note through an action.
- Globe: The shimmering globe reflects how Switzerland is part of an interconnected world. In the sequence of notes from 1000 francs to 10 francs, the earth rotates once on its axis and passes through one full day as seen through six specific positions.
- Location: Each note depicts a particular side of Switzerland with the six notes reflecting the diversity of the country, known for its organisational prowess, for its vibrant cultural scene, for the wealth of experiences it offers, as well as for its humanitarian tradition and its track record as a research hub and place of diplomatic dialogue.
- Object: Each of the six notes depict an object related to the relevant key motif which are time (10 Fr), light (20 Fr), wind (50 Fr), water (100 Fr), matter (200 Fr) and language (1000 Fr).
The 200 franc note (USD $201) reduces its dimensions to 151 / 70 mm. from the previous issue but retains the brown colour scheme from the eighth series and includes some new updated security features which include:
- Micro-perforations – above the numeral on the obverse, these micro-perforations or an application of finely perforated dots creates the Swiss cross that appears clearly and is made up of a grid of equidistant holes
- Aligned print register – located near the watermark field which when held to the light reveals the Swiss Cross.
- Newly designed watermarks – in the shape of the Swiss Cross and a globe which re-creates the position of the globe depicted in the denomination’s specific design.
- Latent image – seen on the hand illustration which when tilted reveals the Swiss cross.
- Three-layer substrate – this new feature is incorporated into the note’s innovative, three-layer substrate (Durasafe®) seen the centre of the note applied to the depiction of a shimmering globe. When tilted, a golden arc moves across the globe.
The fourth banknote in a new series of high-security Swiss banknotes is being released in stages with both the 100 and 1000 Franc denominations expected for release in 2019. The 50, 20 and 10-franc notes have already been released to great acclaim. The updated 10-franc note released in October 2017 was voted as the world’s best design last year by the International Bank Note Society. The same award was presented for the new Swiss 50 franc note in 2016. The National Bank of Switzerland have advised that the banknotes of the eighth series will remain legal tender under further notice.
For additional information on the new banknote series issued by the National Bank of Switzerland, please visit their website.
You can also watch a video of the official presentation of the banknote.
The author, Michael Alexander is president of the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre.