Hoeter and Tritona
H. Hoeter was founded in 1872 in Germany as a watch manufacturer. It was located in La Chaux-de-Fonds on Rue Fritz-Courvoisier 2 by 1875 but had relocated to Rue du Parc 14 by 1877 and Rue du Serre 18 in 1879. By 1880 it was listed as Auguste Hoeter, though still at that location. In 1886, Auguste Hoeter had relocated to Rue du Parc 25 and in 1894 it was listed at Rue du Progrès 28 as Aug. Hoeter & Cie. In 1908, Hoeter & Cie. relocated again to Temple Allemand 29.
Auguste Hoeter registered the Teutonia brand in 1888, specifically for dials, cases, and movements for watches, not necessarily whole watches. He also registered a design patent for a specific style of watch hands in 1892, suggesting that the company was not yet a watchmaker.
In 1893 the firm of "Aug: Hoeter" (sic) was dissolved and reformed into Aug: Hoeter & Co under Auguste Hoeter of Münster and Gustave Robert, born in Le Locle but now living in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The company registered the brand name "Zeus" for complete watches in December of 1895, but Auguste died by May of the following year.
Following Auguste Hoeter's death, the company was reorganized on May 4, 1896 simply as "Hoeter & Cie". Ownership passed to his widow Marie Hoeter née Bach and previous co-owner Gustave Robert. Jules Py remained manager of the new firm through 1906, which was located at Rue du Progrès 28 in La Chaux-de-Fonds and registered definitively as a maker of complete watches. The Hoeter brands, Zeus, Kronos, and Teutonia, as well as a prancing horse under a stylized H were registered by the new company the following year.
Ernest Hoeter took over direct management of Hoeter & Cie in December 1907, picking up from Jules Py who was removed 16 months earlier. A die showing HC along with 5 and 3 was registered as a brand in 1903, and this was joined by a castle tower overlaid with an S in 1910. The company registered a dozen different dial designs in 1911, most of which showed 24 as well as 12 hours, suggesting that the company was producing 24 hour watches, a novelty at the time. Two more brands, registered in 1913, were MiA and Werkbund GxS. The prancing horse, Kronos, and Teutonia brands were renewed in 1917.
Marie Hoeter died by May 1923 and the firm was again reorganized. Ernest Hoeter became unlimited partner, with Gustave Robert reduced to a limited role of 5000 francs and Max Hoeter (noted as an engineer in Marseille) joining at 35,000 francs. Max is presumably the brother of Ernest and inherited part of his mother's share. His share was reduced to 20,000 francs in 1927 and he left the company in 1942. Dame Emma Hoeter née Bourquin was added to management in 1931.
A new upward-curving representation of the Teutonia brand was registered in 1929 along with the unusual ZEP and GYZAC brands. Similarly curved brand marks for Electo and Tona were added the following year. Another brand, Eclectic, was added in 1938 and PAX in 1939.
Rue du Progrès was renamed Temple-Allemand in 1935 and a renumbering placed Hoeter's offices at number 29. A 1938 advertisement for Hoeter & Co shows them still located at Rue Temple-Allemand 29 in La Chaux-de-Fonds and producing waterproof watches as well as gold watches for men. The company was still using the Tona and Tritona brands in 1940 and boasts that they are pioneers in slender watches. Throughout the war, Hoeter continued the focus on slim watches under the Tritona brand, advertising it as "La Bonne Montre Étanche" ("the beautiful slim watch") in 1944.
Brémon and Breitling
The company was reorganized as a Société Anonyme on February 2, 1944. Montres Brémon Hoeter S.A. took over the firm, with a board consisting of Ernest Hoeter (president) and Maurice Boillod originally of Cerneux-Péquignot. The company registered the brand name Brémon in March. Shockingly, Ernest Hoeter resigned at an unusual meeting of the board on December 27, 1944, leaving Maurice Boillod solely in charge. The firm relocated to Rue Daniel JeanRichard 44 at this time as well. In 1949 Boillod was also removed, with Gaston Vuilleumier (originally of La Sagne and Tramelan-Dessus) taking over the company. Vuilleumier was closely associated with Breitling in the 1950s, serving on the company's board from 1952 to 1954 and then as commercial director for Angelus from 1957 to 1959.
Brémon would be the primary brand for the company going forward, with the Hoeter name no longer used after 1952. The ZEP and GYZAC brands were renewed in 1949, and Eclectic was modified to Eclecto the following year as Tona was renewed. A large symmetrical logo for Bonanza was added in 1951.
Vuilleumier was removed in 1952 and the company was soon renamed simply to Compagnie des Montres Brémon SA. From 1953 through 1959, Brémon was sharing offices at Place du Molard 6 in Geneva with G.-Léon Breitling S.A. and the company relocated their La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacturing operations to Breitling's Montbrillant Watch Manufactory (Montbrillant 3) in July 1954. These watches appear to be Breitling-based, though the company remained nominally independent. Still, Brémon could be seen as a less-expensive sister to Breitling, and their product ranges and even model numbers overlapped. The Teutonia brand continued to be used as well, and was renewed in 1969.
Other companies sharing the offices at Place du Monard 6 in the 1950s and 1960s include Waltham S.A. (from 1960 through 1962) and gem setters Diarhône (in 1953 through 1959) and Gaston Dubois (in 1956).
Brémon's primary place of business after 1958 was the Montbrillant factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds. As of 1969, the company listed thin watches, chronographs, and men's and ladies watches in their catalog.
On June 22, 1979, the board of Compagnie des Montres Bremon SA of Geneva voted to liquidate the company. The officers were listed as Roger Siffert (president), Gregory Breitling (secretary), and Alain Breitling with Willy-Léon Breitling removed. The company's address was that of Siffert, Rue du Vieux-Collège 8 in Geneva. This liquidation was completed on August 22, 1983.