Charles Hahn & Cie

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Landeron was a Swiss watch movement maker in Le Landeron famous for chronograph movements.

Hahn Frères

Aimé-Auguste Hahn and David-Henri Tissot-Vougeux worked together under the name "Hahn et Tissot" in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the 1840s, but this business was dissolved on December 21, 1844.

Just 10 days later, on December 31, 1844, Aimé-Auguste and Charles-Alfred Hahn founded the firm of Hahn Frères. The company was established for the manufacture and trade of watches. The firm was located at rue de là Charrière 81 in La Chaux-de-Fonds until 1859, when it moved to number 2 on the same street.

On January 1, 1875, the brothers opened an ebauche factory in Le Landeron near Lake Neuchâtel, with the La Chaux-de-Fonds operation disappearing that same year. Some sources put this date at 1873, but contemporary references are specific that it was two years later.

Charles-Alfred Hahn died in 1875 or 1876, with his son Charles Hahn-Leuzinger taking his place.

By 1879, the factory of Hahn Frères in Le Landeron employed 100 workers and was powered by a 15 horsepower steam engine. That same year, on May 28, Aimé-Auguste Hahn and Charles Hahn formed a general partnership with Charles-Frédèric Couleru under the name "Hahn Frères & Cie", This company was responsible for operating the ebauche factory in Le Landeron.

The company was reorganized effective January 1, 1883, as "Hahn Frères & Cie." Still owned by Aimé-Auguste Hahn and his nephew Charles Hahn, the company specialized on producing and finishing ebauches.

Charles Hahn & Cie

Hahn Frères was dissolved on March 20, 1889, and was replaced on April 1 of that year by a new company called "Charles Hahn & Cie." The company was a partnership of Charles Hahn (son of the co-founder of the same name), unlimited partner, along with Laure Reutter (née Hahn) and Julie Hahn. Aimé-Auguste Hahn was not a director of the new company, though he was given power of attorney on June 20.

The company used a variety of rooster designs for its logo (a reference to the family name of Hahn) and traded under the names "Hahn", "C. Hahn", "Hahn Landeron", and simply "Landeron." The firm was expanded after 1900, with a new annex added on the east side. The firm soon converged to electric power as well, offering the old steam boiler for sale in 1899. The new system must not have performed well since it was also offered for sale in 1901.

They produced watches and watch movements as early as 1883 and won medals at Paris in 1878, La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1881, Geneva in 1896, and a gold medal in Paris in 1900 for their work.

Laure Reutter retired from the company in 1898, taking her 30,000 francs of operating capital with her. Aimé-Auguste Hahn died in 1905.

In 1907, the third generation Charles-Alfred Hahn-Bürger joined the firm's management. He became the sole director on October 25, 1912, effectively taking control of his family's firm.

The company was a maker of ebauches and a finisher of movements and watches and could produce simple or complicated watches in Landeron. The company was producing chronograph movements by 1923 and its growth lead many people to refer to it simply as Landeron by the 1910s.

In November 1919 the name of the company was modified to become "Charles Hahn & Cie, Fabrique d'Ebauches du Landeron."

FHF and Ebauches SA

In 1925, Landeron merged with Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Fontainemelon (FHF), being renamed Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Fontainemelon, succursale du Landeron ci-devant Charles Hahn & Cie ("Landeron branch under Charles Hahn"). FHF/Landeron became a founding member of Ebauches SA in 1926.

Landeron's column wheel chronograph movements were famous, and the company supplied these movements to many militaries. Examples include Cal. 11 and 13 and the state-of-the-art Cal. 39. Because they held the Breitling patents, Landeron was the exclusive supplier of column wheel chronograph movements until their expiration in the 1930's.

Just before World War II, Landeron developed the first cam actuated chronograph. Their Cal. 47 had three pushers: One to start, another to stop, and a third to reset the counter. They refined this movement to become the two-pusher Cal. 48. This would become one of the most popular chronograph movements ever made, with more than 3.5 million examples produced between 1937 and 1970. The lower price of production compared to a column wheel model meant an average person could afford a chronograph for the first time.

In the 1960's, Landeron produced the first Swiss electric movement, Cal. 4750. It featured a battery-powered balance wheel rather than a mainspring.


See also Category:Landeron calibres

Detailed Timeline