Brand Directory: Helvetia
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 Austra.