Ernest Borel was founded and established in 1856 in Neuchâtel by Jules Borel and Paul Courvoisier. Jules Borel’s son Ernest took over the firm’s management in 1898 and gave it his name. He served as director for about 40 years until his son Jean-Louis took over from him in 1936.
Ernest Borel underwent rapid international expansion. In 1859, contacts were established in various countries throughout Europe, South America and in the United States. The company then quickly expanded to Asia, with Japan, China and India becoming Ernest Borel’s main markets. In 1959, Ernest Borel was present on more than 70 markets across the five continents.
The firm’s history has always been closely tied to the watchmaking region of the Jura: ever since its foundation, the company has relied on regional manpower and expertise to pursue its development. In recognition of this, Ernest Borel products have won numerous Swiss and International prizes and awards, the first as far back as 1861; amongst others, a first prize from the Observatory in 1866 and the Certificate of Award at the Philadelphia International Exhibition in 1876. Shortly before celebrating its centenary, Ernest Borel was awarded two first prizes for wrist-chronometers by the Neuchâtel Observatory. Between 1945 and 1958, 4,172 timepieces obtained the certificate issued by the Swiss offices for official verification of watch accuracy.
In the 1940s, Ernest Borel launched its famous Cocktail model, which is still patented. The distinguishing feature of this mechanical timepiece is its display in the form of an hour hand with 2 discs for the minutes and seconds, creating an unusual kaleidoscopic effect. This model was an immediate worldwide success, contributing to the expertise and reputation of Ernest Borel, especially in the United States, where the watch was a huge success.
After the difficult years of the quartz crisis in the 1980s, the company moved to La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1997 and implemented a new, modern production facility under the management of Raphaël Boillat, the company’s President. Thanks to a thriving business climate, and in order to cater to the expansion and further development of the brand, a new factory and headquarters were inaugurated in 2009 in Le Noirmont, in the heart of the Swiss Jura region, anchoring the brand’s identity even more firmly in this watchmaking heartland.
In 1990, a subsidiary of Ernest Borel SA was established in Hong Kong to take over operations on the promising South East Asian markets. Ernest Borel now benefits from a solid reputation on these markets with almost 900 points of sale and is one of the best-known quality Swiss Made brands in this region.
Today, staying true to its roots in the heart of the Franches-Montagnes region with its age-old watchmaking tradition, Ernest Borel - guaranteed Swiss Made for over 150 years – strengthens its international development. Over the past few years, Ernest Borel has revived its operations in the United States, which is historically an important market for the brand, as well as in India and the Middle East.