Fabriques de Balanciers Réunies
Les Fabriques de Balanciers Réunies S.A. (FBR) was a holding company in Bienne including many Swiss balance manufacturers until the formation of Swatch Group in the 1990s.
FBR was created by ASUAG and Swiss banks on October 24, 1932. As the depression began impacting Swiss watch production, the makers of balance wheels were brought together to ensure their survival. Founding members included manufacturers Maurice Favre of Cernier, Werner Vaucher of Evilard, Romano Sieber of Saint-Imier, and Emile Vogel of Bienne. The company was headquartered in Ponts-de-Martel near Le Locle, where Vice President Robert Guye was located, with a second office in Bienne. Other directors included Sidney de Coulon of Fontainemelon, Georges Schaeren of Soleure, Albert Juillard of Cortébert, and Maurice Vaucher of Bienne.
By 1934, FBR had grown to include many more affiliated manufacturers, including Henri Devenoges-Dubois of Les Hauts-Geneveys, Ed. Devenoges and Schopfer-Montandon of Travers, the former Baume Frères of Saignelégier, the former Assortiments Gallay of Le Sentier, Gaberel & Ducommun of Savagnier, Jaquet-Guguenin and Roulet Frères of Ponts-de-Martel, Fernand Nicolet of Bienne, Otto Pfister of Granges, Caesar Schopfer of Genève, Constant Thiébaud of Saint-Aubin, Médéa of La Chaux-de-Fonds, and eponymous manufacturers in Tramelan and Le Sagne. Many of these were soon merged and closed, including the workshops in Savagnier, Ponts-de-Martel, Travers, and Genève.
By 1961, FBR included about 800 employees working in 14 factories in the Cantons of Berne, Neuchâtel, Soleure, and Vaud. These were managed by local managers but technical and commercial direction was focused on the Bienne headquarters. The group then produced 30 to 35 million balance wheels. FBR was also involved in the development of the Beta 21 quartz watch movement at the CEH, though this would not use a balance wheel.
In the 1970s, FBR was involved in the marketing and promotion of high-frequency watches and Glucydur balance technology. By 1977, FBR was down to 210 workers and had relocated to Les Ponts-de-Martel and accounted for just 0.7% of revenue of ASUAG.
In 1984, FBR was merged with Fabriques d'Assortiments Réunies (FAR) and Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies (FSR) to become Nivarox-FAR, a subsidiary of ETA within Swatch Group.