WATCH•SWISS
HISTORY

1880

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First production of wristwatches: Girard-Perregaux delivers a special series of 2,000 watches equipped with a metallic grate to be placed over the glass to protect it from shocks.

1894

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Louis Brandt & Frère launches the Omega caliber, which features easily replaceable parts and a crown used both to set the time and to wind the watch. This caliber will give its name to the company in 1903.

1910

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A Rolex watch is the first wristwatch in the world to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision.

1924

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Audemars Piguet presents the first wristwatch with full calendar and moonphase display.

1924

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John Harwood files a patent for his invention: a self-winding wristwatch that will be produced by Fortis and Blancpain.

1925

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Creation by Patek Philippe of the first wristwatch with perpetual calendar.

1926

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Creation by Rolex of the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch, the Oyster, which features a hermetically sealed case.

1928

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Invented by Jean-Léon Reutter, and then perfected and manufactured by Jaeger-LeCoultre, the Atmos clock extracts its energy from the slightest variations in temperature.

1931

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Rolex invents and patents the world's first self-winding mechanism with the renowned Perpetual rotor. This system is at the origin of the modern automatic watch.

1931

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The Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre meets the needs of polo players thanks to its swivel case designed to protect the glass against violent shocks.

1932

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Omega launches the first commercially available divers’ watch, the Marine, water resistant to 135 m.

1933

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Birth of Incabloc, the famous shock protection system.

1934

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Breitling creates the first chronograph set with a second independent reset push button.

1934

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Launch of the Mido Multifort, water resistant, antimagnetic and impact resistant, equipped with a new cork sealing system later known as Aquadura.

1936

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Universal launches the first hour-counter wrist-chronograph, the Compax.

1940

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From this date, IWC starts producing the Big Pilot’s Watch 52 T.S.C. with a central second hand in accordance with military specifications for navigation or observation watches.

1947

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Vulcain begins mass production of its famous mechanical alarm watch, the Cricket, whose name is inspired by the distinctive chirping sound of its alarm.

1948

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A patent is filed for the ingenious Eterna-Matic ball bearing system by Eterna, which facilitates the movement of the rotor in self-winding watches; this system is subsequently used to equip the collection named after it.

1949

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Heuer launches the Solunar wristwatch displaying the tide times.

1953

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Blancpain creates the Fifty Fathoms, the first modern diver’s watch, equipped with luminous indexes, unidirectional bezel, automatic and antimagnetic movement and water resistant up to 50 fathoms.

1955

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Vacheron Constantin develops the ultra-thin calibre 1003 (1.64 mm thick), the thinnest in its category at the time.

1959

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The Certina DS (for Double Security), with special movement suspension and reinforced case, becomes the brand’s star model.

1959

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Mido launches the Ocean Star, equipped with a monocoque case and a cork joint that ensure exceptional water resistance.

1960

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Bulova presents the first electronic watch, the Accutron, which is the most accurate of its time.

1962

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Rado introduces a revolutionary innovation: the Diastar 1, the first scratch-resistant watch, with a tungsten carbide case and sapphire crystal.

1963

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Launched as a new-generation chronograph, the Cosmograph by Rolex soon gained the name that will become the mark of an icon: Daytona.

1965

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Girard-Perregaux builds the first mechanical high frequency caliber, at 36,000 vibrations per hour.

1967

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Presentation at the Neuchâtel Observatory’s Timekeeping Competition of Beta 1 and Beta 2, the first quartz movements, developed by the Centre Electronique Horloger.

1969

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Zenith produces the first self-winding chronograph equipped with a central rotor and fitted with a balance oscillating at 36,000 vibrations per hour: the famous El Primero movement is born.

1969

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The Speedmaster chronograph, launched by Omega in 1957, is the first watch worn on the moon.

1971

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Tissot innovates with the Tissot Idea 2001, the first mechanical watch with synthetic case and movement.

1972

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Launch of the Longines LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), the first digital watch created by the brand.

1975

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Heuer produces the Chronosplit, the first quartz wrist-chronograph with LCD/LED display and accurate to 1/10th of a second.

1976

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Omega launches the first chronograph wristwatch combining an analog display for the time functions and a digital LCD display for the chronograph.

1976

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Chopard introduces an exclusive model, Happy Diamonds: mobile diamonds dance and spin freely between the glass and the dial.

1979

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Concord Watch launches the Delirium I, the thinnest analog display quartz watch (just 1.98mm thick), followed in 1980 by the Delirium IV, just under 1mm thick.

1980

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Corum creates the Golden Bridge, equipped with the only linear baguette movement in the world.

1983

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Birth of Swatch: the unexpected appearance of an affordable, Swiss made, plastic watch.

1985

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Ulysse Nardin launches the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei, the first in its trilogy of astronomical watches; it is to be followed by the Planetarium Copernicus (1989) and the Tellurium Johannes Kepler (1992).

1986

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Audemars Piguet develops the first self-winding wristwatch equipped with a tourbillion mechanism.

1986

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The Rado Integral is the first watch made of high-tech ceramics.

1988

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Introduction of the Samara model by Jean d’Eve, the first Swiss battery-free automatic quartz watch.

1989

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To mark the company’s 150th anniversary, Patek Philippe unveils the Calibre 89, the most complicated watch in the world with its 33 complications.

1998

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Audemars Piguet presents the world’s smallest ladies’ wristwatch with minute repeater.

1999

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Omega launches its new self-winding Co-Axial movement. Devised by master watchmaker George Daniels, it features a new type of escapement ensuring greater precision over the long term.

1999

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Tissot launches the Tissot T-Touch, the first Swiss touch-screen watch, equipped with six functions (meteo, altimeter, alarm, chronograph, thermometer and compass).

2001

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Ulysses Nardin creates the Freak, the first watch equipped with some silicium parts. No dial, no hands and innovative case back winding, including a 7 days power reserve.

2004

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Parmigiani presents the first mechanical watch with a transverse movement, in association with Bugatti, a legendary name in automobile construction.

2004

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Greubel Forsey invents the Double tourbillion 30°, a mechanism with one tourbillion rotating inside another, to average out gravity-induced errors on the oscillator.

2005

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Hublot launches the Big Bang, featuring an innovative combination of materials such as steel, ceramics and rubber.

2006

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Van Cleef & Arpels introduces the Poetic Complications. The Lady ArpelsTM Féérie watch is launched in 2008.

2008

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Girard-Perregaux invents the Constant escapement, in the form of butterfly wings, allowing constant amplitude and operation to the very end of the power reserve.

2013

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Swatch unveils the Sistem51, equipped with a self-winding mechanical movement made of a total of only 51 parts. It is the first mechanical watch with fully automated assembly.