Sandoz

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Sandoz was a brand of watches produced throughout the 20th century.

History

The Odin Watch Factory was established in 1870 by the Lassueur family of Bienne. Henry Sandoz became a watchmaker in the Canto of Neuchâtel in 1895 and soon took over the Odin factory. In 1914, Sandoz began producing wristwatches. In 1920, Hermann Sandoz joined his father, renaming the firm Henry Sandoz & Fils. The company later marked its start as 1870.

Sandoz sold the original facility fo Peseux in 1919, constructing a larger factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1926. At this point, in addition to the Sandoz and Odin brands, the company produced watches as Crusader and Henry Sandoz & Fils. The company was recognized with two first prizes at the Neuchâtel Observatory in 1938.

In 1958, André Bezzola became a partner in the company. He had been production manager since 1952. The company opened another new factory in Moudon in 1960. In 1961, on the retirement of Hermann Sandoz, Eric Kocher took over management. This enabled the firm to expand their operations in both locations. The company marketed itself as Sandoz of Switzerland from the 1950s.

Sandoz specialized in ultra-thin watches in the 1950s and 1960s. Cal. HSF 55 was the thinnest in the world in 1955, as was the similar Cal. HSF 56. Cal. 333, introduced in 1959, was the thinnest automatic movement, with six ball bearings for the peripheral automatic rotor. It was available with 17, 25, or even 50 or 60 jewels.

By 1970, Sandoz was part of Société Des Garde-Temps SA along with Elgin, Fleurier Watch, Invicta, and Waltham. The company sold LCD digital watches under the SGT brand in the 1970s.

Other Sandoz References

  • Huguenin-Sandoz of Neuchâtel was a supplier of components
  • The Sandoz Family Foundation is a majority owner of Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier and Parmigiani Fleurier
  • Maurice Sandoz of La Chaux-de-Fonds collected automata and is the namesake for the room housing his collection at the [[International Watch and Clock Museum.