Anniversaries Watch brand anniversaries in 2018
In the first of two articles, we take a look at the major brand milestones reached in 2018.
Some call them milestones, while for others they are anniversaries and in some cases commemorations. The choice of terminology can be telling, since not all of these milestones carry the same weight, as the examples below illustrate. We list them in order of seniority according to the brands themselves.
Jaquet Droz - 280 years
Pierre Jaquet-Droz started making clocks in 1738 and after a fortuitous trip to Spain where he sold some long-case clocks to the Spanish court, he returned to his native La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1759 with sufficient funds to focus on creating the automata for which he became famous. He moved to Geneva in 1784 to set up a workshop for the production of complicated timepieces. Unfortunately, the French Revolution just a few years later in 1789 all but wiped out the company's aristocratic customer base. Little is heard of the brand until 211 years later, when the Swatch Group acquired the name and revived the ancient tradition of automata production, even miniaturising the technology to fit into wristwatches.
Grande Seconde Hommage © Jaquet Droz
Urban Jürgensen - 245 years
Urban Jürgensen indicates its official year of foundation as 1773, even though Jürgen Jürgensen had actually been producing watches for much longer. He was confirmed as an apprentice at the Clock and Watchmakers' Guild of the City of Copenhagen in Denmark on 19th January 1759 and presented his apprentice's examination watch on 24th October 1765. As required of apprenticeships at the time, he became a "journeyman", embarking on a six-year period of travel around German-speaking countries. It was after this period that he adopted the Germanic spelling of Jürgen Jürgensen for his name, rather than the Danish Jørgen Jørgensen and, on his return to Denmark, applied to the guild for permission to produce a repeating watch as his masterpiece. In the intervening 245 years, production of Jürgensen timepieces has never stopped, surviving a schism in the Jürgensen dynasty only for the two separate companies to be brought back under the same ownership and returned to Danish hands, but firmly based in Switzerland, since 2014.
Réf. 2140 © Urban Jürgnsen
Arnold & Son 240 years (…of the chronometer)
Arnold & Son's CEO Florian Serex prefers to talk of commemorations rather than anniversaries. Although John Arnold coined the term chronometer for a pocket watch 240 years ago, the brand does not celebrate this as an anniversary, since Arnold & Son does not trace its origins back to the late 1700s but to 1995, when it was founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. There will be no big celebrations from the discreet company that produces just a few hundred watches per year and prefers to invest in production and quality rather than marketing. Instead there is a fitting "tribute" edition of the Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36.
Tourbillon Chronomètre n°36, Tribute Edition © Arnold & Son
IWC 150 years
American watchmaking pioneer Florentine Ariosto Jones founded the International Watch Company in Schaffhausen in 1868. Attracted by the promise of cheap power from a dam across the Rhine, he set about combining skilled Swiss craftsmanship with American manufacturing technology. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, IWC Schaffhausen presented jubilee models in each of its main collections: Da Vinci, Pilot, Portofino and Portugieser, as well as a distinctive Tribute to Pallweber model with digital display.
Tribute to Pallweber IWC
Carl F. Bucherer 130 years
In the same year that the world's steepest cogwheel railway opened up to the Pilatus, the mountain overlooking the town of Lucerne, Carl Friedrich and Luise Bucherer opened a watch and jewellery store to cater to the large number of tourists visiting the town to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful scenery on a steamboat trip around the lake. From these relatively humble beginnings the company has grown into a global operation that includes the world's largest watch and jewellery store in Paris. The Bucherer Group acquired the US retailer Tourneau in the year of its 130th anniversary, adding a further 28 retail locations in the United States to its global network. Since 2001 the watch brand that Carl F. Bucherer created has been operated as an independent entity and this year also celebrates the 10th anniversary of its in-house CFB A1000 movement, which was first used in a watch in 2008.
Adamavi © Carl F. Bucherer
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