Move Over VC - Gallet Claims World's Oldest Brand

I was gobsmacked when a fellow recently told me in no uncertain terms that the oldest watch company was Gallet, which now claims a founding date of 1466 surprise.

Move Over VC - Gallet Claims World's Oldest Brand

This claim did not appear in vintage advertising and if one backtracks their corporate history it would lead to the date of 1826.  But in 2009 a new business plan was developed between Gallet and their movement manufacture Montres Lunesa to take advantage of the void anticipated by the Swatch Group's withdrawal as ebauche supplier.

Lunesa, which retails watches under its own name and claims a founding date of 1777, had developed some 28 new calibers.  Concurrently, the brand Gallet had a new direction from CEO Walter Hediger who brought in capital from his family luxury-goods business.  Like a Richemont mini-me, he saw the future in transitioning the "brand" from under $3k watches to the highly profitable $5k-$300k arena.  The targets were clearly spelled out in this snip from their ambitious Action Plan:

Move Over VC - Gallet Claims World's Oldest Brand

So what stretch of logic brought them to the date of 1466, and will they next take credit for the sundial and water-wheel?  A careful reading of the corporate hyperbole reveals references to the Gallet name and Gallet family, without establishing a geneological link.  It appears they wish to take credit for every jeweler, watchmaker, and goldsmith ever living in Switzerland with the surname Gallet.  One reason for this desperation is the need for money.  Gallet wishes to join the ranks of Manufacture by merging with Montres Lunesa and this requires capital.  You too can purchase a piece of the oldest watch company for as little as $10k:

Move Over VC - Gallet Claims World's Oldest Brand

This story has been repeated with many resurrected luxury watch brands since the 1990s.  Many failed to gain traction for despite the now-standard glitzy marketing campaigns, they were unremarkable and just another name trying to crowd into the same life boat.  Do you get a sense of desperation from this recent press release?

Move Over VC - Gallet Claims World's Oldest Brand


Re: Move Over VC - Gallet Claims World's Oldest Brand
02/18/2016 - 20:06

It's kind of a Ponzi salesman on amphetamines


Even their own publicity can't get it straight
02/18/2016 - 20:59

First it was 1685 in their 2009-2014 business plan and its History Driven Publicity strategy, then "poof" it becomes 1466.  Well, they wanted controversy....hey, maybe I'm a pawn in this evil plan blush.

Even their own publicity can't get it straight

So what was really going on in 1466?  Acknowledging that Geneva was the cradle of Swiss watchmaking, Technique and History of the Swiss Watch by Chapuis and Jaquet notes there had been a clock in the tower of Cathedral St. Pierre since 1419.  A blacksmith was first appointed to maintain its works, followed by a locksmith in 1469.  Neither were named Gallet.  In fact, Gallet doesn't appear anywhere in this tome, including the appendix; Index of Swiss watchmakers and other craftsmen up to 1900.

this is when I miss Doc most
02/19/2016 - 17:10

He was never one to shy from a controversy.  I imagine we'd talk about the common marketing formula followed by luxury brands and the increased lengths new names are going to so they stand out.  We might speculate how collectors are not being served by such manipulations, and how we should challenge misinformation.  Probably end with an acknowledgement that VC is one of the best at sharing its heritage, but of course could always do better to borrow a phrase.  Oh well, back to buckles.

What I want to know is does anyone really care? They should actually drop one L and
02/19/2016 - 19:01

call themselves Galet which means pebble in French, like that they can trace their history all the way to the Big Bang (not talking about Hublot herecheeky

02/19/2016 - 19:22


02/19/2016 - 22:28

I wish I spoke French so I could add to this pun... 

Don Vito, what is the story behind Lunesa?
02/20/2016 - 00:44

They were an obscure manufacture with just 2 calibers to their name in 1950 and now offer an extensive line of movements including complications.  Although this wandering hours tourbillon will require 3 subdials for hours and minutes indecision.

So Don Vito, whats the story behind Lunesa?

never heard of these guys but will check
02/20/2016 - 11:14