Edgar Bichsel

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Edgar Bichsel (1889-1956) was director of Zénith from 1934 until his death in 1956.

Bichsel was born in 1889 in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Although his parents were watchmakers, Edgar studied finance and apprenticed in a bank. He soon began a career in management, assisting failing Swiss companies in turnarounds.

In 1934, Raoul Perret, scion of Universal Genève, engineered a takeover of the ailing but respected firm of Zénith in Le Locle. Ernest Strahm, former head of Vulcain, had taken over the company from Jämes Favre in 1924 but was becoming more involved in consolidation of the Swiss watchmaking industry. He stepped aside on the formation of ASUAG, and Edgar Bichsel was selected to replace him as director of Zénith, a post he took up on May 7, 1934.

Bichsel joined the board of directors of Zénith in 1942 as Georges Perrenoud took over the firm intent on producing war material. He remained on the board until 1949 when it the company was acquired by the Dupasquier-De Montmollin private bank.

Edgar Bichsel was also involved in the Swiss Chamber of Watchmaking, the Swiss Watchmaking Federation, and Fidhor.

Bichsel died of a stroke on December 15, 1956 at a clinic in Lausanne where he was being treated for Pneumonia. His place at Zénith was taken by Jean-Pierre Hainard in May of 1957, former manager of the Zénith factory in Besançon.