A. Schild

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A. Schild S.A. (also known as ASSA) was an ebauche and watch movement maker operating from the 1890's through the 1970's.


Adolf Schild (1844-1915) was the youngest son of Anton Schild (1800-1877), who taught his children the watchmaking trade. Adolf trained as a watchmaker in his sisters' workshop before joining his brother Urs Schild at his firm Girard & Schild in 1864. Adolf married Pauline Hugi in 1873, sole surviving heir of miller Urs Josef Hugi (1822-1880).

On August 1, 1896, Adolf Schild left his brother's firm to found his own watchmaking company, called A. Schild & Cie, with Stefan Zimmermann. The new company was located in the Schützengasse complex which later housed the famous Grenchen watchmaking firm A. Michel. In 1897 A. Schild & Cie relocated to the Mühlestrasse area, the location of the Hugi family mill and farm.

The sons of Adolf and Pauline Schild-Hugi joined the company soon after: Adolf junior in 1898, César in 1901 (as Zimmermann left), Ernst in 1907, and Robert in 1924. Adolf Schild-Hugi died in 1915, leaving his sons and widow to run the growing watchmaking concern.

ASSA purchased the factory from Pauline Schild-Hugi and soon expanded to take over the entire Mühlestrasse complex.

ASSA maintained a branch in Selzach, formerly owned by Adolf Schläfli, from 1917 through 1935. In 1929 the company purchased the factory at Staadstrasse 7-11.

Schild, formerly associated with Eterna, began producing watch movements Grenchen, Solothurn after 1896. Schild produced many different movements and became one of the largest movement makers in Switzerland by the 1920's. It was unrelated to Schild Frères which also produced movements in Grenchen at this time.

In 1926, ASSA was combined with A. Michel AG (also of Grenchen) and Fabrique d' Horlogerie de Fontainemelon (FHF) (of Fontainemelon) to create Ebauches SA. Each component company maintained independence and branding, but the combined entity was able to weather the difficult economic conditions of the depression and World Wars and rose to dominate Swiss movement manufacturing. A. Schild would become part of ASUAG (along with Eterna) in 1931.

After 1939, A. Schild movements were identified by a stamped marking featuring a shield with the letters "AS" inside. A. Schild movements were used by many manufacturers in the 1950's through 1970's, including such familiar names as Harwood, Fortis, Enicar, and even Jaeger-LeCoultre.

The quartz crisis of the 1970's hit A. Schild especially hard, as inexpensive Japanese and quartz watches cut into the market for volume-produced three-handed watches. By 1979, Ebauches SA, including A. Schild, was merged with ETA (also of Grenchen) to survive. ETA had been formed by Eterna after the departure of Adolph Schild, so this merger was a historic reunion of Schild family movement-making.

A. Schild movements are greatly respected today for their reliability, and many new old stock pieces remain in use. Indeed, manufacturers like Alexander Shorokhoff and Favre Leubra continue using A. Schild ebauches in new watches.

See Also

  • Schmelzi - The factory complex at Mühlestrasse in Grenchen