Xantia

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Xantia is a Swiss private-label watch maker in operation since 1962.

History

Founded in 1962 in Evilard by Edmund Knutti, Xantia was one of many mass-market watch producers in the Bienne area. The company produced Roskopf watches and was a member of the Roskopf Association by 1967. By 1975, Xantia had become the distributor of Quasar and Armitron LED watches. The company was also actively creating new LCD digital watch designs in the late 1970s, including an early electronic chronograph.

In 1982, Xantia acquired the Hebdomas trademark and design from Schild & Co. This legendary 8-day movement had a massive mainspring barrel covering the entire 15 to 19 ligne movement and an exposed balance on the dial side with a distinctive decorative carved bridge. In production since 1913, Xantia would produce various Hebdomas watches through the 1990s.

Xantia was converted to a joint stock company in 1983 and re-focused on private-label watch manufacturing. It was acquired by employee Michel Thiévent in 1989 and moved to Bienne in 1993. Most of Xantia's designs in this period resembled popular models from well-known brands and remained in the less-expensive fashion watch range. One important product was a special coin watch featuring the image of William Tell, produced to celebrate 700 years of the Swiss Confederation. As early as 1993, Xantia produced and represented Anne Klein watches. Founder Knutti died in 1998.

In 1990, Xantia began producing watches for the American company, Swiss Army Brands. This company acquired Xantia in 2000 for $11.5 million, and production of Victorinox "Swiss Army" watches for the North American market intensified. In July 2001, Victorinox merged with Swiss Army brands, creating a new company called Victorinox/Swiss Army. Annual production of Swiss Army brand watches had reached nearly a million units by this point.

Jean-Pierre Loetscher, an employee since 1994, arranged a management buyout of Xantia in 2006, with the Swiss Army brand remaining in the hands of Victorinox. Loetscher had been responsible for private label watches and continued the company's focus in this area.