The Geneva balance spring factory of Dufaux Lutz et Fils was originated by Jean-Célanis Lutz (1800-1864) who invented a method of quenching steel to make it more durable and better for use in springs. It was continued by his daughter Emma Dufaux (1824-?), first as Lutz & Fils and later as Dufaux Lutz & Fils. The company would take the name of Charles Dufaux in the 1890s and was one of the five companies that combined in 1895 to form a cartel to corner the production of these springs, Société des Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies (FSR).
J.-C. Lutz, from Neuchâtel, established a balance spring workshop in Geneva in 1847, and this is considered the origin of mass production of balance springs. Lutz invented a process for the manufacture of hardened steel hairsprings using a water quenching process ("trempés"). His work was recognized by the Société des Arts in 1850, and he received a Medal of Honor at the Universal Exhibition in London the following year. Queen Victoria herself reportedly asked about the Swiss watchmaker who received this special English award.
Lutz received many more honors for their balance springs in the second half of the 19th century: London 1851, Paris 1855, Genève 1836, Berne 1857, Besançon 1860.
Jean-Célanis Lutz died in 1864 but the business was continued by his daughter Emma.
Split Between Montandon and Dufaux
- See Also: Montandon-Lütz
The firm was split following the death of J.-C. Lutz, with two separate companies claiming his legacy. By 1871 the factory was called Gentil-Lutz and was located at Rue de la Servette 433 in Geneva. This would continue as Montandon-Gentil-Lutz and later simply Montandon-Lütz, which operated independently until the establishment of FSR in 1895.
A larger operation was created by Charles Dufaux, who claimed the Lutz brand and became a founder and board member of FSR. Montandon-Lütz used an umlaut in the 1890s, likely to differentiate itself.
The company had relocated to Route de Lausanne along the lake and was called Dufaux Lutz et Fils by 1875. The company produced flat, cylindrical, and spherical springs in the 1870s and was undoubtedly the leading maker of balance springs. Depots were set up to supply watchmakers in Le Locle, Ponts-de-Martel, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Fleurier, Bienne, Sainte-Croix, Geneva, and London. A new line of blued anti-magnetic springs were offered by 1879. The firm continued winning awards: Paris 1867, Vienna 1873, Paris 1878, and Geneva in 1885.
In 1880 the firm was renamed for Charles Dufaux, as Charles Henri Dufaux had taken over. But the Lutz name was still used and associated with the company's springs and was registered as a trademarked brand in 1892. Dufaux added the production of palladium springs by 1890 to compete with C.-A. Paillard of Geneva. These swept the chronometer testing in Geneva, being used in nearly every winning watch in the first half of the decade.
In 1895 all of the producers of balance springs came together to form a cartel. The Société des Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies (FSR) would incorporate every Swiss balance spring maker, with the rest exiting the business. Charles Dufaux became a board member and the production of springs was moved to the Guye et Cie factory in Geneva.
- 1800 - Jean-Célanis Lutz is born
- 1847 - November 1 - Lutz' tempered springs are demonstrated for the first time at a meeting of the Réunion des Industriels in Geneva
- 1851 - Lutz exhibits his springs at the London exposition, receiving the attention of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria and winning medals and recognition
- 1855 - Lutz springs receive a medal at the Universal Exposition in Paris
- 1856 - Lutz springs receive a medal at the Geneva exposition
- 1857 - Lutz springs receive a medal at the Berne exposition
- 1860 - Lutz springs receive a medal at the Besançon exposition
- 1864 - Jean-Célanis Lutz dies; his daughter Emma continues the business
- 1867 - Lutz springs receive a medal at the Paris exposition
- 1871 - Gentil-Lutz, maker of balance springs, is listed at Nant 433, Servette, Geneva
- 1873 - Lutz springs receive a medal at the Vienna exposition
- 1875 - Dufaux Lutz et Fils, maker of balance springs, is listed at Route de Lausanne in Geneva; an advertisement shows "Spiraux Lutz" and claims that the company is the successor to Lutz & Fils
- 1877 - The firm is split, with Montandon-Gentil-Lutz taking over the former Gentil-Lutz workshop and Dufaux Lutz & Fils continuing in the new workshop with the Lutz brand
- 1878 - Lutz springs receive top recognition at the Universal Exposition in Paris and is the spring used by the top winners at the Geneva Observatory
- 1880 - Charles Henri Dufaux takes over the firm
- 1883 - The company is known as "Charles Dufaux Successeur de Dufaux Lutz & Fils"; Charles Henri Dufaux of Geneva, living in Prieuré, is the head
- 1885 - Lutz springs win at Concours Chronométrique in Geneva
- 1892 - The Lutz brand is officially registered by Charles Dufaux
- 1895 - The company is merged into FSR with Charles Dufaux joining the board
- 1898 - Charles Dufaux and Louis-Georges Sandoz found a company to sell velocipedes
- 1907 - The firm of Charles Dufaux is officially deleted
- 1912 - The Lutz brand is officially registered by FSR