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Degoumois & Cie. was a watch company founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887. It is best known for the Avia and Protector brands.
Degoumois and Protector
H.-V. Degoumois founded a watchmaking shop in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887. Located at Boulevard de la Fontaine 6, it would remain at this address through 1899. In 1900, the company relocated to Rue Aurore 11 and noted “succ de. J.-V. Degoumois”, though it is not clear what this refers to.
By 1916, Degoumois had registered the Protector Watch Co. brand, and would use this at least through 1937.
Degoumois was successful with the Protector brand and moved to Rue Régionaux 11 in 1918. Degoumois & Cie. succeeded H.-V. Degoumois by 1920. By 1923, Degoumois had moved to Rue Aurore 11 and 13, and expanded to number 9 by 1930. In 1931, Degoumois & Cie. was located at Rue de la Paix 71, 73, and 75 in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Degoumois relocated to Rue du Musée in Neuchâtel starting in 1933. In 1940, Degoumois no longer listed the Protector brand, and by 1945 was referring to Fabrique de Montres Avia instead.
Degoumois had launched the Avia brand in association with UK company Louis Newmark Limited. It was a mass-market brand, and saw Degoumois begin using Roskopf and cylinder escapements in addition to higher-priced Swiss lever movements. The brand covered most of the range, from cheaper Roskopf watches for the American and UK market to expensive lever watches with gold and silver cases.
Degoumois had relocated to Place-d'Armes 1 by 1954 and number 3 by 1968.
SGT and Avia-Silvana
By 1970, Degoumois and Avia were part of Société des Garde-Temps.
The company was merged with the existing Silvana of Tramelan and was now listed as Avia-Silvana, Degoumois & Co SA in 1972, having relocated to Tramelan. Watches were now sold under the Avia-Silvana brand under SGT. This company would produce LED and LCD watches using the Avia brand through the 1970s.
SGT was liquidated by 1981, and the Avia brand was purchased by Louis Newmark Limited who had collaborated with Degoumois to create the brand after World War II. Newmark would continue as a brand for ETA in the UK, while the new Corvette brand would be sourced from non-Swiss sources, notably Sanyo of Japan. Sanyo had purchased a stake in Newmark.