Jean d'Eve is a Swiss watch brand associated with Le Phare. It traces its roots to 1888 and the firm, Barbezat-Baillot. Other brands used include Memory, Lighthouse, Rolnik, Kowal, Temporis, and Elfarc.
On November 30th, 1888 Charles Barbezat founded the Barbezat-Baillot watch factory in Le Locle. He sold the products under the brand name "Le Phare" ("The Lighthouse"). In 1905, the company changed its name officially to Le Phare SA. The brand name "Memory" was also used beginning in 1925. In 1939, Le Phare relocated to La Chaux-de-Fonds, changing ownership the following year. The company specialized in complicated watches.
In 1950, the company changed its name to Le Phare-Sultana SA after merging with Sultana. By 1970 the company was the second-largest manufacturer of chronographs in Switzerland, and it was widely known for masculine watches with modern designs. As early as 1974, Le Phare offered a watch with retrograde hour and minute hands. By 1976, the company also offered LED watches and quartz movements. In 1977, the "Pebble" model embedded a quartz movement in a semi-precious stone as a table clock or pocket or pendant watch. The company continued to produce mechanical watches, however, including an ultra-thin skeleton model in 1980.
In 1981, the brand "Jean d'Eve" was launched, generally being used for higher-end models. One signature piece was the Spinnaker, which included a rope design around the bezel and inspired many copycats. In 1984 the brand launched its "Sectora" models, in which the time was represented in sectors of the dials by retrograde hands. The company also changed its name to Le Phase Jean d'Eve SA in 1984.
The 1988 Samara model is claimed to be the first automatic quartz watch in the world. The Kentron Cal. 861.0 "Generotor system" features a dial-side rotor (between the hands and dial) that winds a generator spring that spins up a multi-polar generator to 15,000 rpm. This charges a condenser which can hold 10 days (240 hours) of power for the quartz movement. It also included an "Energizer" which can re-start the watch once it has stopped.
Le Phare-Sultana was acquired in 1991 by Renley Watch Manufacturing along with Buler Quartz SA of Lengnau. Founded in 1983 by Hong Kong-based Stanley Lau, Renley was a private label producer of Swiss and French watches.
The "Quarta" model was launched in 1993 and included retrograde hands in all four corners of a rectangular dial. The Sectora was updated with a new case in 1999. The 2006 Sectora II Automatic turned this display sideways in a new case. In 2010, Jean d'Eve launched a tourbillon at BaselWorld based on the Progress movement.
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CH-2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds
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