Emile Maître

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Emile Maître (1837-1891) was a watchmaker focused on manufacturing ebauches and machine tools to aid their production around the turn of the 20th century.

Maître was born about 1837 in Montmelon but lived in Delémont and most of his work was focused there.

Prior to the 1883 survey of businesses, the firm E. Maître was established in Delémont to produce and finish ebauches. The business must have been quite small since it is not listed in Indicateur Davoine until 1886 and is not listed in 1889.

Maître, Frêne & Künzli

See Also: Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Delémont

On April 1, 1886, Maître partnered with Léon Künzli (perhaps related to Ernest Künzli or the same person) and Hippolyte Frêne to construct a new ebauche and toolmaking factory in Moutier. The business was called Maître, Frêne & Künzli and appears to have been somewhat successful especially in supplying machine tools to other ebauche makers. La Fédération Horlogère reported in November 1890 that a new ebauche factory in Delémont started production with tools made by Maître, Frêne & Künzli in Moutier. The article continued, mentioning a new ebauche factory in Tavannes (likely Henri Sandoz' Tavannes Watch factory) and another in Tramelan (perhaps Nicolet or A. Reymond). The firm of Maître, Frêne & Künzli in Moutier continued until Emile Maître's death in 1891, suggesting that he was the key partner.

The company Maître et Fritschi, specialist producer of winding mechanisms, was established on May 1, 1888 in Develier near Delémont by Achille Maître (likely a relative) and Emile Fritschi. It is no longer listed in 1893. Maître was later a founder of the famous Wenger Swiss pocket knife company in Delémont.

Another company, called E. Maître & Cie was established in Delémont by Emile Maître on February 18, 1890. His partners were the sons of Raphaël Picard (founder of Invicta), and his three sons Edmond, Gabriel, and Armand Picard, each limited to 10,000 francs. The firm produced ebauches for pocket watches until Emile Maître died and it was dissolved in August of 1891. The operation was then taken over as a branch of the sons' firm, Les Fils de R. Picard of La Chaux-de-Fonds. In 1895 it was taken over by Jämes Ruedin as Weber, Ruedin & Cie and then the Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Delémont.


Emile Maître died in March 1891 at the age of 55. His death notice said he was "was loved and esteemed by the entire population."


  • About 1837 - Emile Maître is born in Montmelon
  • Before 1883 - Emile Maître establishes an ebauche manufacturing and finishing business in Delémont
  • 1886, April 1 - Emile Maître, Léon Künzli, and Hipolyte Frêne establish a business in Moutier to manufacture ebauches and tools for other makers of ebauches
  • 1890, February 18 - Emile Maître establishes a limited company called E. Maître & Co to manufacture and finish ebauches in Delémont; his partners are Edmond, Gabriel and Armand Picard of Fleurier, each investing 10,000 francs; Edmond is given power of attorney in 1891
  • 1890, September 1 - Hippolyte Frêne and Jules Garraux establish an ebauche manufacturing business in Reconvilier called Frêne & Garraux
  • 1891, early March - Emile Maître dies in Delémont
  • 1891, August 29 - E. Maître & Co is deleted following his death