Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Fontainemelon

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Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Fontainemelon (FHF) was a Swiss watch movement manufacturer. It became part of Ebauches SA in 1926 and was absorbed by ETA in 1985.

History

The Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Fontainemelon was founded in 1793 by Isaac and David Benguerel together with Julien and Francois Humbert-Droz in Fontainemelon under the name "Benguerel & Humbert" and is the oldest Ebauche movement manufacturer in the world. In 1816, FHF started industrial production of watch movements in its first factory, a move which would be the foundation for ETA, today the largest movement manufacture.

FHF expanded throughout the 19th century, purchasing a factory in Corgémont in 1838 to use hydraulic energy from the River Suze and adding steam power in 1862. By 1876, FHF was producing 240,000 ebauches per year with 400 employees. In 1900, Paul Robert modernized an FHF workshop with American machines, bringing the quality of Swiss watches up to the standard of American factories. FHF merged with Landeron in 1925 and became a founding member of Ebauches SA in 1926.

In the 1950's, FHF was relegated to mass-production of watch movements for Ebauches SA. They introduced a low-priced mechanical option which became the "standard" grade in 1955, and were precluded from advanced developments. By the mid 1960s, the FHF Standard Cal. 608 was the most popular movement in the world, with over 40 million examples produced.

In 1979, FHF introduced the mini-quartz, the world's smallest movement.

By 1982, the quartz crisis forced Ebauches SA to reorganize its movement manufacturers. Focus was moved from FHF, and the company was effectively dissolved into ETA in 1985.

FHF Calibres

  • Standard
    • Standard 608 - 6.75 x 8 ligne tonneau (Also Standard 609 and Standard 69)
    • Standard 96 - 11.5 ligne (Also 961, 962, 963, 964, 965, 969)
  • Automatic
    • FHF 65 - 13.25 ligne
    • FHF 905 - 11.5 ligne (Also FHF 908, FHF 909, and FHF 90)