The watches and watch movement manufacture Lemania was founded in 1884 by Alfred Lugrin (1858-1920), who had acquired his expertise as a laborer at Jaeger-LeCoultre in Le Sentier. Because of the outstanding quality of his watch movements Lugrin received top awards and gold medals at exhibitions in 1906 in Milan and in 1914 in Bern. From the beginning he had specialized in the production of chronographs, stopwatches and repeaters.
Till the year 1930 the factory had the name to Lugrin S.A., until Lugrin's son in law Marius Meylan established the brand name Lemania Watch Co. with headquarters in L'Orient. In 1932 Lemania, Omega and Tissot joined to form the SSIH group. In close collaboration with Omega great chronograph calibres were created.
The Lemania Calibre 1873 (Omega Calibre 861) became particularly famous with the Omega Speedmaster, which in 1962 was selected by NASA for manned space flights and on 21 July 1969 accompanied Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon. Lemania then worked with Omega to develop a high-quality cam switching automatic chronograph, launching their Cal. 1340 in 1972. This was followed by the 1974 introduction of Cal. 5100.
With the advent of electronic watches in the 1970s the sales of mechanical watches by the SSIH group broke in massively. In 1980 the creditor banks gave Nicolas Hayek the mandate to restructure the group. As part of a management buy-out Lemania was separated by the SSIH Group in 1981 and changed its name to Nouvelle Lemania. In 1992, Nouvelle Lemania was brought under the Groupe Horloger Breguet banner. At this time, the company re-introduced their cam-switching automatic chronograph as Cal. 1350. They constructed a new manufacture in L'Abbaye in 1996.
Breguet was acquired by the Swatch Group in 1999. Over the next decade, the Lemania name was retired, with the company now called Manufacture Breguet. The company primarily produces calibres for Breguet, but many of its products are also used by other Swatch Group brands. Although Lemania's ownership by SSIH brought it very close to ASUAG, Ebauches SA, and SMH/Swatch Group, it was never part of this conglomerate or of ETA, their movement manufacturer.
Lemania has produced many famous movements, including the following
- Manual Chronograph
- 1270/1275/1276/1277 - cam switched, 30 minute counter and 60 second subdials
- 1280/1281 - cam switched, 30 minute and 12 hour counters and 60 second subdials
- 1872 (1961) - cam switched, 30 minute and 60 second subdials
- 1883 (1983) - cam switched, 30 minute and 12 hour counters and 60 second subdials, date and moon phase
- 5200/5250 - pillar wheel
- Automatic Chronograph
- 1340 (1972) - cam switched, central chronograph seconds and 60 minute totaliser hands, 12 hour counter at 6 00, small seconds at 9 00, quickset date at 3 00
- 5100/5012 (1974) - cam switched, central chronograph seconds and 60 minute counter hands, 12 hour counter at 6 00 and small seconds and 24 hour hand at 9 00, quickset day and date, hacking
- 1350 (1994) - cam switched
- Automatic time-only