The Swiss Watch Industry of 1950

While we are all energized by the new classic editions from VC, I hope you might also like to see a snapshot of the Swiss watch industry circa 1950 courtesy of a period watchmaker's parts catalog.  This catalog lists all of the brand names available at that time and illustrates the different calibers that each brand produced.  In fact, there were over 3,500 individual movements among the 177 watch brands and an additional 37 specialty chronograph manufacturers!

While much has been made of the "quartz revolution" leading to the demise of a majority of those listed here, one can also speculate that over-saturation and over-production left the Swiss watch industry unable (or unwilling) to react to the new technology that, in the end, spelled disaster for many.  Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Swiss Watch Names of 1950: Wrist and Pocket Watch Calibres

Non-chronograph calibres:
1. Abra (11 calibres)
2. Admiral (1 calibre)
3. Alpina (12 calibres)
4. Alton (11 calibres)
5. Altus (11 calibres)
6. Alvin (15 calibres)
7. Amida (7 calibres)
8. Angelus (2 calibres)
9. Arogno (18 calibres)
10. Arcadia (1 calibre)
11. Aurore (33 calibres)
12. Banner (13 calibres)
13. Barclay (1 calibre)
14. Baumgartner (13 calibres)
15. Beguelin (10 calibres)
16. Benrus (62 calibres)
17. Berger (12 calibres)
18. Bettlach (20 calibres)
19. Blancpain (see LeCoultre)
20. Boulevard (14 calibres)
21. Brigos (1 calibre)
22. Bulova (89 calibres)
23. Buren (80 calibres)
24. Buser (22 calibres)
25. Central (see Benrus)
26. Champ (15 calibres)
27. Chase (2 calibres)
28. Chezard (12 calibres)
29. Chronex (1 calibre)
30. Civitas (see Moeris)
31. Clinton (21 calibres)
32. Concord (1 calibre)
33. Cornioley (1calibre)
34. Cortebert (28 calibres)
35. Croton (24 calibres)
36. Croydon (4 calibres)
37. Culmina (2 calibres)
38. Cyma (see Tavannes)
39. Cupillard (6 calibres)
40. Damas (2 calibres)
41. Derby (7 calibres)
42. Doxa (27 calibres)
43. Eberle (see Tavannes)
44. Ebosa (11 calibres)
45. Elbon (14 calibres)
46. Election (14 calibres)
47. Enicar (32 calibres)
48. Eros (5 calibres)
49. Essor (12 calibres)
50. ETA (180 calibres)
51. Eterna (6 calibres)
52. Favre (8 calibres)
53. Felsa (117 calibres)
54. Fleurier (56 calibres)
55. Fontainemelon (100 calibres)
56. Frey (22 calibres)
57. Galco (1 calibre)
58. Gallet (1 calibre)
59. General (6 calibres)
60. Girard (5 calibres)
61. Girard Perregaux (12 calibres)
62. Glycine (57 calibres)
63. Gotham (27 calibres)
64. Gothic (12 calibres)
65. Grant (23 calibres)
66. Gruen (64 calibres)
67. C.L. Guinand (2 calibres)
68. Hafis (10 calibres)
69. Hahn (3 calibres)
70. Hampden (20 calibres)
71. Harvel (35 calibres)
72. Hebdomas (3 calibres)
73. Helbros (38 calibres)
74. Helvetia (15 calibres)
75. Ed Heuer (3 calibres)
76. Hora (6 calibres)
77. Homis (8 calibres)
78. Hyde Park (4 calibres)
79. Ibex (2 calibres)
80. Imhof (3 calibres)
81. Imperial (24 calibres)
82. IWC (17 calibres)
83. Interchangeable (18 calibres)
84. Ioco (1 calibre)
85. Jaeger (1 calibre)
86. Jules Jurgensen (5 calibres)
87. Kummer Freres (1 calibre)
88. Kurth (63 calibres)
89. Lancet (1 calibre)
90. Landeron (2 calibres)
91. Langendorf (79 calibres)
92. Lavina (21 calibres)
93. LeCoultre (26 calibres)
94. Lemania (5 calibres)
95. Leonidas (6 calibres)
96. LePhare (2 calibres)
97. Liegme (7 calibres)
98. Longines (131 calibres)
99. Lunesa (2 calibres)
100. Luxor (2 calibres)
101. Majestic (7 calibres)
102. Manzoni (19 calibres)
103. Marvin (21 calibres)
104. Matter (9 calibres)
105. Meda (see MST)
106. Medana (see MST)
107. Melano (5 calibres)
108. Meleur (1 calibre)
109. CH Meylan (1 calibre)
110. A. Michel (141 calibres)
111. Mimo (1 calibre)
112. Mido (7 calibres)
113. Mont Brilliant (1 calibre)
114. Montilier (6 calibres)
115. Movado (28 calibres)
116. Meyer Studeli (127 calibres)
117. Mysteria (1 calibre)
118. Nassau (4 calibres)
119. Nation (1 calibre)
120. Nouvelle (see Tavannes)
121. Octo (1 calibre)
122. Olympic (6 calibres)
123. O’Maire (4 calibres)
124. Omega (34 calibres)
125. Optima (15 calibres)
126. Orion (16 calibres)
127. Oris (13 calibres)
128. Orvin (5 calibres)
129. Park-Gallet (1 calibre)
130. Parker (6 calibres)
131. Paulson (3 calibres)
132. Patek-Philippe (9 calibres)
133. Pedos (2 calibres)
134. Pery (9 calibres)
135. Peseux (65 calibres)
136. Phenix (15 calibres)
137. Phinney (1 calibre)
138. Piguet (5 calibres)
139. Pierce (20 calibres)
140. Precimax (7 calibres)
141. Rayville (1 calibre)
142. Providence (3 calibres)
143. Record (66 calibres)
144. Recta (30 calibres)
145. Reconvilier (20 calibres)
146. Rego (1 calibre)
147. Rensie (20 calibres)
148. Reymond (1 calibre)
149. Roamer (see MST)
150. Rolex (7 calibres)
151. Sandoz (2 calibres)
152. A. Schild (352 calibres)
153. Seiko (1 calibre)
154. Septima (1 calibre)
155. SFG (1 calibre)
156. Solvil (5 calibres)
157. Sonceoboz (25 calibres)
158. Speedway (1 calibre)
159. Stabilis (5 calibres)
160. Seeland (11 calibres)
161. Suza (6 calibres)
162. Tavannes (76 calibres)
163. Thommen (37 calibres)
164. Unitas (49 calibres)
165. Universal (23 calibres)
166. Vacheron & Constantin (9 calibres)
167. Valjoux (3 calibres)
168. Venus (26 calibres)
169. Vulcain (9 calibres)
170. Wasa (40 calibres)
171. Welta (4 calibres)
172. Westfield (18 calibres)
173. Wilka (19 calibres)
174. Wyler (26 calibres)
175. Wittnauer (24 calibres)
176. Zenith (27 calibres)
177. Zodiac (2 calibres)

*note: MST = Meyer & Studeli

Vacheron calibres consist of:
• 5 ¾ ligne tonneau
• 6 ¾ ligne cal. 153
• 9 ¾ ligne cal. 457 cushion
• 9 ¾ ligne cals. 458 (sub-seconds), 466 (center seconds)
• 12 ½ ligne cals. 453, 455, 465 (base JLC 449, 450)
• 12 ½ ligne cal. 455SC (center seconds)
• 13 ligne cal. 477 auto (base JLC 476 bumper-winding)
• 13 ¼ ligne 492 chronograph (base Val. 23)
• 19 ligne round pocket watch cal.


Chronograph calibres:
1. Alpina (1 calibre)
2. Angelus (5 calibres)
3. Cortebert (1 calibre)
4. De Praz (1 calibre)
5. ETA (4 calibres including for Eterna, Heuer, Gallet)
6. Excelsior Park (1 calibre including for Gallet)
7. Galco (1 calibre)
8. Gallet (1 calibre)
9. Geneva (3 calibres including for Leonidas, Harvard)
10. Guinand (5 calibres)
11. Hahn (1 calibre)
12. Heuer (2 calibres)
13. Landeron (23 calibres including for Moeris, Heuer, De Praz, Novice)
14. Lemania (8 calibres including for Omega)
15. Leonidas (1 calibre)
16. Le Phare (1 calibre)
17. Longines (5 calibres)
18. Mido (1 calibre)
19. Minerva (6 calibres)
20. Moeris (3 calibres)
21. Movado (3 calibres)
22. National Park (3 calibres)
23. Omega (4 calibres)
24. Oris (1 calibre)
25. Park (1 calibre)
26. Pierce (1 calibre)
27. A. Schild (3 calibres)
28. Stauffer (1 calibre)
29. Suburban (1 calibre)
30. Tissot (1 calibre)
31. Ulysse Nardin (2 calibres)
32. Unitas (including for Leonidas) (1 calibre)
33. Universal (6 calibres including for Agassiz)
34. Valjoux (33 calibres including for Leonidas, Gallet, Eterna, Heuer, Vacheron)
35. Venus (22 calibres including for Eska, Pronto, Cortebert, Chrona, Leonidas)
36. Vulcain (1 calibre)
37. Zenith (1 calibre)

fantastic research! I didn't count but seems that 3/4th of the
11/09/2009 - 12:09
companis listed don't exist anymore!
And some of the 1/4 left are just old names used by new firms (nt)
11/09/2009 - 15:17
;-)
11/11/2009 - 02:17
thanks Dean for the list!
Too true...
11/11/2009 - 03:26
Names that boast of their "long" history are either not present or only contribute a handful of movements to the total Swiss production, like Blancpain.
Fascinating list!
11/10/2009 - 15:34
Thanks for posting. What jumped out at me is the truly remarkable number associated with Longines (131). With the exception of pure movement manufacturers (e.g. ETA, A. Scild, etc.), that number towered over the the rest. Regards, Tony C.
Re: Fascinating list!
11/11/2009 - 03:25
That was surprising, along with dead names like Felsa.  What diversity existed back then, but I wonder why the need for so many calibres?  Seems like the result of competition gone wild .
Re: The Swiss Watch Industry of 1950
11/10/2009 - 23:05
Thanks for this great list. Looks like you have a lot of "extra" time Thanks for sharing with us. Oliver
Just shows what can happen...
11/11/2009 - 03:22
when you don't watch much TV
Very interesting Dean, thanks!
11/11/2009 - 14:11
I found it interesting that Seiko is listed with 1 calibre (did they have a Swiss factory?) Also, I learned that a lot of the brand names that I've seen adverstisements for in China are real Swiss brands (I thought many of them were strictly local Chinese mfgs.  Though some of those brands may now be owned by Chinese parent companies?) Great stuff!  BR, Dan
Yes indeed
11/12/2009 - 02:37
Hey Dan.  Yes, I double checked non-Swiss brands like Seiko, Bulova and Benrus.  During that time they did indeed have Swiss manufacturing facilities.
Re: Excessive Calibres ?
11/11/2009 - 21:53
In response to fellow HL's speculations - It seems at a glance that some of the more obscure makers with excessive numbers of calibres on their books,probably reflects not so much their development,but the fact that they were keeping some rather old and obsolete calibres on their books - some of the premier brands with a greater development budget,like PP have a far more compact by comparison. Dr Strangelove