MSR

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Manufactures d'Horlogerie Suisses Réunies SA (MSR or United Swiss Watch Manufacturing Companies, Ltd.) was a federation of Swiss watch manufacturers active between 1961 and 1999.

History

MSR was founded in 1961 in Bienne. The organization was headed by Roland Straumann of Revue Thommen in Waldenburg and included Vulcain of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Buser of Niederdorf, and Phenix of Porrentruy. The goal of the group was to "rationalize" production, as all four founding members produced their own ebauches as well as complete watches. The combined firm produced over 600,000 watches per year, making it one of the largest in the Swiss industry.

MSR launched a new ladies caliber in 1963. In 1967, MSR introduced their jointly-developed Exactomatic movement. A modern automatic movement, it included steel ball bearings under the rotor and extra-thick plates for durability. This movement entered production the next year and was a key component of Revue Thommen and Vulcain watches in 1969.

MSR developed a high-frequency quartz movement in the early 1970s. In production by 1974, this movement operated at an impressive 1.5 MHz with a digital divider. MSR was also active in the development of LED digital watches in the 1970s. The Marvin brand was added by 1976 as well.

Revue Thommen and Vulcain emerged from the quartz crisis with barely 25,000 watches produced per year in 1980. This rebounded in the 1990s, but the firm became increasingly focused on the Asian market and still managed to produce just 40,000 watches annually by the end of the decade. Thus, they were hit hard by the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s. In 1999, MSR management divested of their La Chaux-de-Fonds operation and focused production in Waldenburg.

The Revue Thommen company had a near-monopoly in production of altimeters and other aircraft instruments, so the watchmaking operation was no longer emphasized. The watchmaking entity was bankrupt by July 2000, marking the end of MSR.

In 2001, the Vulcain brand was sold to PMH, which re-launched it shortly after with new interpretations of the historic Cricket model. Marvin was acquired in 2002 by Time Avenue and re-launched in 2007. The Revue Thommen brand was licensed to Grovana in 2004 and re-launched.

Membership