Helvetia was registered in 1892 by Louis Brandt & Frere who in 1894 registered the brand name OMEGA. In 1895 the new company ‘Société d’Horlogerie La Générale’ was formed in La Chaux-de-Fonds; this was a joint venture between Louis Paul Brandt, Edouard Boillat of the ébauche company. In 1897 the company was registered under its English name “General Watch Co”. After the deaths of Louis Paul and then César Brandt in 1903. Helvetia watches were built alongside OMEGA at their Bienne factory in Switzerland. Until Omega left the General Watch Co in 1911. During WW1 they produced a Hunter and half Hunter pocket watch with waterproof properties and a hinged lid to protect the dial from damage. By 1924 they started to produce watches with shock protection developed for miners at first. In 1929 Helvetia introduced their first waterproof and shockproof wristwatch. A new logo was designed at the same time and was seen on their dials from that time. Helvetia made waterproof watches during the 1940s for many brands including Aero, Aeroplane, Huber and Abercrombie & Fitch; their big date watches were used by brands like Ditis, Mimo, Girard Perregaux and Angora; innovations in their pilots’ watches were used by brands such as Aero, Helbros, Huber and Savoy. They supplied watches to the British and German armed forces during WW2.
During the 1960s we saw an influx of Japanese imports to counter this Helvetia changed their logo and added model names to their dials. In 1968 Helvetia became one of the founding members of the Société des Garde-Temps S.A. or SGT alongside Avia, Degoumois & Co., Silvana, Eugene Vuilleumier, William Mathez and Fleurier. In 1973 Helvetia S.A was dissolved but on the same day, Silvana S.A. held its meeting and changed its name to Helvetia S.A. Through the 1980s and 90s, we saw many factory closures but the Helvetia logo and trademarks survived and today they are sold on a much smaller scale through a jeweller in Vienna Austria.
Our 1960s Helvetia Salon Chronograph Has a 37mm chrome case. The case gently curves toward the twisted lugs with a lug to lug length of 44mm and a case thickness of 12mm ensures a comfortable fit on the wrist. On the right side, we have the chronograph pushers and a signed crown in the centre. A stepped polished bezel holds a domed crystal above a cream dial. An outer Tachymeter scale is precisely printed in blue. An inner minute track with Arabic numerals coated in Tritium marks the hours. At 3 o’clock we have a 30-minute register, at 6 o’clock a 12-hour scale and finally, the small seconds register at 9 o’clock each with concentric circles and thermally blued hands. Long baton hands coated in Tritium alongside a thermally blued chronograph hand. At 12 o’clock Helvetia is finely printed. On the reverse, a snap-off case back. Inside a manually wound Valjoux 72 Column wheel chronograph, 17 jewels, 18,000 beats per hour. This movement was modified by Rolex under their Cal. 722-1 and used in the Daytona for over thirty years from 1961 until 1988. The watch comes fitted on a 20mm leather strap.
Points of Mention
This watch is sold as "Watch Only" and therefore comes with no original Helvetia box or paperwork. The watch comes paired with a 20mm leather strap. The watch is from Circa. 1960s and is sold in worn, vintage condition, wear and age can be seen throughout the watch, but overall as good as you could get for its age. The watch comes with our 12-Months NON-Waterproof Warranty.