It is interesting to note that this watch, signed by Schwob Frères & Co. in La Chaux-de-Fonds, incorporates various patents from watchmakers who have marked the history of horology. It is known that Louis-Elisée Piguet (1836-1924) of Le Brassus (Vallée de Joux) worked extensively as a supplier of movements to Charles Barbezat-Baillot (1847-1938) of Le Locle. Barbezat-Baillot worked with the Brandt company of Bienne / Biel (the future Omega), and later with César Racine (1851-1931) and the Zenith factory of Le Locle, in the production of his Grande Sonnerie and carillon watches. All this reflects how watchmaking was in those days when many different players were involved. In this case, Schwob Frères & Co. is the company that commissioned the watch but not the one that made it.
Movement based on the Swiss invention patent No. 334, delivered on January 8, 1889, to Charles Barbezat-Baillot, Le Locle, for a “Perfectionnements apportés à la construction des mécanismes de répétition pour montres de poche de toutes dimensions” (Improvements to the construction of the mechanisms of repetition for pocket watches of all sizes); this patent includes in particular the centrifugal force regulator to regulate the speed of the repetition mechanism.
Movement based on the Swiss invention patent No. 7 832, delivered on December 30, 1893, to Louis Brandt & Frère, Bienne / Biel, for a “Montre à sonnerie ou repetition à carillon” (Watch with repeater or triple chime).
Movement based on the Swiss invention patent No. 10 183, delivered on May 3, 1895, to Louis-Elisée Piguet, Le Brassus (Vallée de Joux), for a “Mécanisme de remontoir pour montres à deux barillets” (Winding mechanism for watches with two barrels).
Charles Barbezat-Baillot, Le Locle
The company “C. Barbezat-Baillot” was founded by Charles Barbezat-Baillot (1847-1938). He was the elder brother of Henri Barbezat-Bôle (1851-1921), the founder of “H. Barbezat-Bôle S.A., Le Locle”.
Charles Barbezat-Baillot is the holder of many invention patents related to watchmaking and registers numerous trademarks: “Trusty”, “Le Phare”, “Dixi”, “Fix Watch Co.”, etc.
Louis Brandt & Frère, Bienne / Biel, predecessor of Omega Watch Co.
Omega is a Swiss watch manufacturer founded by Louis Brandt (1825-1879) in 1848 in La Chaux-de-Fonds (canton of Neuchâtel). In 1877, the watchmaking company became “Louis Brandt & Fils”. On his death, his two sons – Louis-Paul Brandt (1854-1903) and César Brandt (1858-1903) – decided to launch into industrial production “in the American style”, i.e. in large series; the company name remained “Louis Brandt & Fils”.
In 1880, they established themselves in Bienne / Biel (canton of Bern) and launched their first calibre manufactured in large quantities in 1885; it was called “Labrador”. In 1891 the company name became “Louis Brandt & Frère”. In 1894, they produced a 19’’’ calibre (lines), called “Omega” (named after the Greek letter which was later to become the brand’s logo).
Following the phenomenal success of this watch, in 1903, and following their deaths, the company was transformed into a limited company under the name “S.A. Louis Brandt & Frère – Omega Watch Co.”. Paul-Emile Brandt (1880-1954), son of Louis-Paul Brandt, took over the technical management of the company, together with his brother Adrien Brandt and his cousin Gustave Brandt.
Thus, was born Omega, one of the greatest adventures in the history of watchmaking.