Fabrique d'Ebauches de Chézard

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Fabrique d'Ebauches de Chézard was a maker of ebauches in Chézard-St-Martin in the Val-de-Ruz near Fontainemelon. Originally established in 1892 as Sandoz & Cie., the company was known as Manufacture de Chézard, Albaret, Kohn, & Cie. in 1904 and Albaret Chézard & Cie. in 1911. David Mader took over the factory in 1939, becoming known as Mader & Co.

Fabrique d'Ebauches de Chézard was brought into Ebauches SA in 1936, where it remained until 1969 when it was merged into nearby FHF. The watch manufacturer remained independent and was taken over in 2010 by Axesus GmbH. It appears to be defunct as of 2022.


The young Auguste Sandoz was director of the Neuchâtel Watchmaking School from 1883, when he was just 20 years old, to 1887. According to an 1893 court conviction and later publicity, Sandoz was approached by Japy Frères to develop an inexpensive mass-produced watch movement in 1888. He spent two years working on the design, including traveling to America to research the latest tools, but failed to produce a design that could be produced as inexpensively as Japy required. Sandoz left the company with assistant, Mr. Poincenot, and approached various Japy employees to set up a factory in Chézard to produce a working design. The news of this new factory was leaked, with rumors saying it was Japy's, and the company sued Sandoz and Poincenot when they learned what had happened.

In 1892, Sandoz was able to convince the town of Chézard in the Val-de-Ruz to put up 100,000 francs to build a factory to produce his movement. In return, Sandoz agreed to employ at least 125 citizens of the town, which is located close to Fontainemelon and the successful FHF factory there. The factory was in operation as Sandoz & Cie. in Grand-Chézard by 1894, advertising as a "manufacture de montres et petite mécanique de précision." Other period advertisements show a state of the art lathe produced there as well as an 18 ligne cylinder escapement movement.

Sandoz died in 1905 at 42 years of age. The factory was registered as Manufacture de Chézard, Albaret & Cie. a year earlier, suggesting that F. Albaret had taken over just before Sandoz' death. The director is listed as G. Scharpf in a 1906 letter. In 1909 the factory is called Albaret, Kohn & Cie, and it would retain this name for a decade. On May 23, 1916, the Chézard factory is incorporated and the name Manufacture de Chézard, Albaret, Kohn & Cie. is retired. At this time the company is officially re-named Manufacture de Chézard, E. Albaret.

The Chézard factory changes hands again in 1932 when David Mader (1901-1949) takes over. It is registered in March 30 as Mader & Cie. and remains in operation under his direction for a decade. He later becomes a coucilor of state.

On December 23, 1936, Ebauches SA closes on their purchase of all shares of Mader & Cie. and Chézard is officially absorbed into the "super holding" company. David Mader remains director of the company until September 14, 1942, when he is replaced by Sydney de Coulon, director of Ebauches SA.

By 1977 the former factory was used by Ebauches SA as a training center. Centre de Formation Professionnelle de Chézard provided trained technicians to the main FHF factory in Fontainemelon a short distance away. It remained in use by ETA through the 1990s but is no longer owned by the company as of 2022.

See Also