In 1872 at just sixteen years old, Albert Wittnauer moved from Switzerland to New York to work for his brother-in-law, Eugene Roberts. Eugene ran a watch importing business that was focused on high-end pieces such as Vacheron & Constantin and Jaeger LeCoultre. Albert had a vision of creating his own watch brand that would suit the American market: his idea was to create an affordable Swiss watch that was still of high quality but at a lower price. In 1880 the first Wittnauer watches were being made. In that same year, F. Eugene Roberts & Co became the exclusive seller for Longines in America, this partnership would last nearly 125 years. In 1890 Eugene honoured Albert by naming his new venture "A. Wittnauer Company". The business was an instant success and attracted watchmakers from around the world to join them such as Ferdinand Haschka who became the head watchmaker for Tiffany & Co and Charles Johns who created a perpetual calendar chronometer that was shown to the world at the 1939 World's fair. Sadly by 1916, the brothers had passed away and the company was left to their sister Martha. She became the first woman C.E.O of a watch company in America. She had no prior experience but still led the company for 20 years.
In 1936 A. Wittnauer was sold to Hella Deltah, who was a pearl manufacturer. Building upon the long partnership and history with Longines, the company was renamed Longines-Wittnauer. In 1994 Longines-Wittnauer was bought by SMH who later became the Swatch Group. SMH soon took over the distribution of Longines in the US, and the 125-year association with Wittnauer was over. Renamed Wittnauer International Inc., they now refocused to build upon the Wittnauer name. Two years later Composite Resources LLC outbid Movado and Bulova to purchase Wittnauer for $28 million. This was not to last as in the first year the company made a loss of $5 million. In just 4 years the company had trade debts of over $24 million, it was then that Bulova bought them for $11.6 million. Bulova launched the “Nightlife” range of fashion watches under the Wittnauer brand.
This 1960’s Wittnauer Geneve has a 30mm square case. Its slim profile case is highly polished. A lug to lug length of 37mm ensures a comfortable fit on your wrist. The case is a monocoque design, the movement and case are made of one piece and are removed from the front. A domed crystal sits above the silver sunray dial. The applied faceted indexes are very Art Deco in style. As you rotate your wrist they capture the light perfectly. Elegant slim pencil hands with a sweeping seconds hand complete this classic dial. Inside
Points of Mention
This watch is sold as "Watch Only" and therefore comes with no original Wittnauer box or Wittnauer papers. The watch comes paired on a fun green leather strap. The watch is from Circa. 1960s and is in worn, vintage condition as you can see from the photos. Overall, however, the watch is very good for its age, and the dial is completely original and never touched. The watch comes with our 12-Months NON-Waterproof Warranty.
Anyone who knows me will know I absolutely love watches that are different from the "norm" and this Wittnauer is exactly that! The case shape is so fun and art-deco, then when you take a closer look at the dial and notice the interesting indices with the facets, its a real gem for an affordable price!