Private Label Trade Names on American Pocket Watches: The Non-Magnetic Watch Company: Part 43: The Swiss Operation – The Adjusters
The business operation of the Geneva Non-Magnetic Watch Company in Switzerland was more complex than most American watch factories. Production spanned several factories, with many different companies working together to manufacture the non-magnetic watches for the American market.
In January 1888, James Haswell visited the offices and factories managed by the company and published a summary in the March 1888 issue of The Horological Journal.
The factory adjustments applied to the movements manufactured by the Non-Magnetic Watch Company were critical to the company’s success. Palladium hairsprings are heavier than steel, requiring more skill to implement positional adjustments.
According to Haswell, this adjustment work was led by Charles-Auguste Paillard, Alexis Favre, and Marius Favre, representing some of the most skilled adjusters in Switzerland:
“It will be seen from the foregoing that nothing has been spared that would enhance the quality or facilitate the production of these watches. The best methods and the best men have been requisitioned. M. C.A. Paillard, Messrs. Alexis and Marius Favre, and others – the best known and most successful adjusters of Geneva – are exclusively occupied in this work, and with the settled conviction that it is the most important introduction that has been made in horology during this century.”James Haswell, March 1888 issue of The Horological Journal
Alexis Favre was exceptionally talented, outperforming other master adjusters in various rate competitions. His expertise was so valuable that the company offered a premium grade, personally adjusted by Alexis Favre to the standards required by the Geneva Observatory.
The Grade No. 100 Extra was identical to the Grade 71 in all other respects. However, the Grade No. 100 Extra was adjusted by Favre and demanded a price of $125 in the 1888 company catalog, representing a $35 premium over the standard Grade No. 71. The movement adjusted by Alexis Favre would cost approximately $3,500 in the modern economy.
The 1888 catalog description for the premium grade draws attention to the master adjuster:
“No. 100 Extra – This Movement is the same in detail of description as “No. 71”. It is finely finished throughout, beautifully damaskeened and is especially adjusted by Alexis Favre, the most celebrated adjuster in Geneva, for the requirements of Class “A” Geneva Observatory. Each movement is accompanied by a Certificate of Rate.”1888 Catalog Description of the Grade No. 100 Extra Adjusted by Alexis Favre
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