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S.1 ASUAG, Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG

S The History of the Most Important Watch Manufacturers

Swiss watch exports diminished from 307 million Swiss francs in 1929 to 86 million Swiss francs in 1932 and the average price of a movement devaluated from 13 Swiss francs in 1929 to 7 Swiss francs in 1935.
The Swiss Watch Chamber of Commerce, the Ebauches S.A. and some other organisations wanted to preserve Switzerland's industrial heritage and the livelihood of the watchmakers. To achieve this, the Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG was founded on August 14th 1931. A small historical survey of some factories which joined the ASUAG is added.

The members of ASUAG were:

1Ebauches S.A., ETA-group (ETA SA, FHF, EEM, Durowe, SEFEA) and four others.
2Les Fabriques d'Assortiments Réunis S.A., Nivarox AG, Pierre Holding S.A. (1968).
3General Watch Co.Ltd (1971) (Certina, Diantus, Dynasty, Edox, Endura, Eterna, Longines, Microma, Mido, Oris, Rado, Roamer, Rotary and Technos), A. Reymond S.A. (Arsa, Damas and Hoga) and Atlantic S.A.
4ASU Componants (formerly Fabriques de Balancier Réunis), Oscilloquartz and Statek Corp. (1979).

1793Isaac and David Benguerel, and Julien and Francois Humbert-Droz establish an ebauche factory in Fontamelon (Neuchâtel) which is later named 'FHF'.
1851The Communal Council of Grenchen, Switzerland decides to encourage the watch-making industries in the hope of creating new means of existence.
1856A teacher, Urs Schild, physician Joseph Girard and lawyer Kunz, founded the first ebauche factory in Grenchen. This was the first watch enterprise in the canton of Solothurn. Soon, Girard and Kunz sold their participation share to Urs Schild who became the sole owner. In 1881 the name is changed into: 'Gebruder Schild & Co.'
1896Adolf Schild-Hugi establishes 'A. Schild S.A.' in Grenchen, an ebauche factory with 19 employees, usually referred to as 'AS'.
1900Paul Robert innovates FHF by installing a totally new production line with very modern American machinery, until then unknown in Switzerland.
1926AS manufactures the first automatic watch, designed by the Englishman John Harwood. FHF, AS and some smaller factories take part in the foundation of the holding: 'Ebauches S.A., abbreviated: ESA. Together they form the largest ebauche manufacturers in the world. Between 1926 and 1928, the following ebauche manufactures join ESA: Charles Hahn & Cie, Ad. Michel S.A., Guerrin-Bourquin & Cie, Hora S.A. (also known as Cortebert), Felsa S.A., Vénus S.A., Unitas S.A. (A. Reymond S.A.).
1932Gebr/der Schild & Co. is subdivided into Eterna S.A. with the ASUAG as a major shareholder and on the other hand 'ETA S.A. Fabrique d'Ebauches', abbreviated ETA. At the same time ETA became a independent part of Ebauches S.A. (ESA). As ESA was a member of ASUAG, ETA automatically joined the ASUAG holding.
1932Fleurier Watch Co. joins ESA.
1933Peseux S.A. becomes a party of Ebauches S.A.
1941Derby S.A. and Valljoux S.A. in 1944 also join ESA.
1948The first Eterna automatic caliber with a rotor and ball bearing: The 'Eterna-matic'.
1966Founding of 'Chronos Holding S.A.' to strengthen a position on the world market.
1967Foundation of 'Ebauches Electronic S.A.' at Marin (EEM), Switzerland for the production of quartz crystals, ICs and other watch elements.
1968ASUAG establishes 'Pierre Holding S.A.' in Bienne, a group of watch jewel manufacturers.
1971ASUAG sets up a co-operation of seven watch factories, which were already engaged in the production of finished products. The co-operation is extended in 1974 by five other factories and again by another new participator in 1981. The co-operation traded under the branch name General Watch Co.Ltd and released watches under the following brandnames: Certina, Diantus, Endura, Edox/Era, Eterna, Longines, Mido, Oris, Rado, Rotary, Technos, Ebauches S.A. (ESA).
1974ETA produces 10 million ebauches in 1974 alone. The introduction of the 'ETA-Flatline', the ultra-slim mass-produced man's automatic caliber.
1976The first man's 'Flatline-Quartz' caliber is produced: height 3.6 mm.
1979On the 1st of January the merger of ETA and AS (A. Schild S.A.), two subsidiaries of Ebauches S.A. takes place. The company is given a new name: Fabrique d'Ebauches ETA. S.A. or ETA. The total amount of different calibers this corporation produces, is reduced from 136 to 40. In December, ASULAB S.A. is set up in Neuchâtel to co-ordinate the group's industrial research. ASUAG obtains an 85% participation share in the Statek Corporation USA, specialising in electronic components and quartz crystal resonators.
1980Ebauches SA acquires 15 % of the shares of XICOR Inc. USA to consolidate its position in the area of MOS-integrated circuits. 'Delirium IV': first watch in the world with an overall thickness of 0.98 mm.
1981ASUAG becomes the world's largest producer of watch parts; 80 % of the Swiss watches had movements manufactured by ASUAG and 92 % of ASUAG products were exported.
1982In the spring of 1982, five manufacturers of mechanical and electronic movements (ETA Grenchen, FHF Fontainemelon, EEM Marin, SEFEA Annemasse-France and Durowe Pforzheim- Germany) form a new operational production entity headed by ETA. Swatch enters the market. See: special paragraph dedicated to Swatch. Financial problems: 2000 workers are dismissed by ETA.
1983On July 29th, during the general meeting, the stockholders agree with reorganisation and an increase in participation by Swiss banks from 38% to 97.5%. In December, SSIH and ASUAG are merged to become Asuag-SSIH.
1985Completion of the reorganisation of the entire Swiss watch industry. The new name SMH Swiss Corporation for Micro-electronics and Watch-making Industries Ltd is given to the holding company. ETA S.A., as a subsidiary of the former ESA, which itself was merged into Asuag-SSIH, becomes part of SMH.
1991PUW Porta GmbH, Pforzheim is sold to SMH.

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