mercredi 21 avril 2010

Tavannes Watch Co History

Tavannes Watch Co - The watch manufacturer's history

In 1891 a young, talented master watchmaker, Henri-Frédéric Sandoz, founded the Tavannes Watch Company in a small Swiss village, Tavannes, in the Jura mountains. He and his partners, who were rich fabric merchants, soon opened markets around the world, notably in Canada, Russia, United States, and the Far East.

It was during this time that watches were becoming popular. Industrialization and the expansion of the railroad system made a standardized time necessary. The United Kingdom, in 1884, set its time to Greenwich Mean Time and it really established the watch business as we know it today.

At the beginning of the new century, The Tavannes Watch Company had to expand and build a new factory.
By 1905, the 750 employees produced 450’000 watches and the production grew very fast to reach 750’000 pieces made by 950 employees in 1909.

Thanks to its constant innovation, Tavannes Watch Co won the Gold Medal at the Grand Prix de Bruxelles in 1910.

The company’s 20th-century product range naturally included wristwatches of the most diverse character for example the shock-proof models with a protective cover over the fragile crystal glasses that were issued to soldiers in 1915.

Henri-Frédéric Sandoz was a real entrepreneur. His visits to American manufacturers inspired him, and he was the first to create machine tools exclusively for the Swiss watch industry. Tavannes became an important Swiss watch company because of his engineering abilities.

At the end of the twenties and beginning of the thirties, Tavannes Watch Co created new kind of watches like “La Captive” or the Belt-Watch, which consisted of completely new concepts at that time. These were followed by “waterproof” wristwatches, as well as wrist-chronographs equipped with Valjoux movements.

In half a century, Tavannes built five factories in Switzerland, and became the fourth largest watch manufacturer in the world. At that time they employed over 2,000 skilled watchmakers and produced over 4,000 watches a day.

A huge fire destroyed several buildings of the factory as well as most of the archives.

In 1943 the company launched its first automatic movement, the caliber 420, with a swinging arm winding in one direction. This movement was fitted into the square cased « Watersport » model, for example. The Tavannes Watch Co Distributor Network was based out of the whole world.

With over 300 patents obtained for mechanical and automatic timepieces, Tavannes was producing movements for most of the famous Swiss brands. Many of these innovations are still used today.

Around 1957, the “Autorotor” self-winding caliber 485 was launched. It’s now a collector’s item.

In 1966, Tavannes Watch Co continued to sell movements to other watch brands until 1982 and then concentrated in the production of specialized numeric command machines (Tavannes machines) for the watch industry.

Rebirth of the Tavannes Watch Co, which comes back with a new generation of watches, greater, more reliable and more perfect. Several collections, limited editions as well as a few rare unique pieces.

This will be the year of the launch of a unique new concept based on a historic piece of Tavannes Watch.

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