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Lemania (originally called Lugrin) was a historic Swiss ebauche movement and complicated watch manufacturer. It is now called Manufacture Breguet and is part of Breguet in the Swatch Group.

Foundation by Alfred Lugrin

Alfred Lugrin (1858-1920) established a workshop to manufacture "mécanismes en tous genres", specifically "répétitions, chronographs, compteurs, quantièmes, rattrapantes, arréts de secondes, etc." in l'Orient-de-l'Orbe in 1884. Lugrin had previously worked at Jaeger-LeCoultre in nearby Le Sentier. He found quick success based on his inventiveness (as reflected by dozens of patents), access to talented watchmakers in the Vallée de Joux, and location between Geneva and the Jura triangle. Lugrin advertised heavily through the 1890s, gaining many clients throughout Switzerland and becoming a viable competitor for the nearby Le Brassus workshop of Louis-Elisée Piguet. Lugrin and Piguet remain leaders in the field of complicated movements to the present day as Manufacture Breguet and Manufacture Blancpain, respectively.

By 1893, Lugrin had built a true factory with hydraulic power, enabling him to produce ebauches and invest in modern lathes and other machines. Lugrin's movements were marked with his initials "A.L." along with a star and anchor positioned in a cross or heart.

After the turn of the century, Lugrin was increasingly focused on repetition and chronograph complications. These earned him a gold medal in Milan in 1906 and Berne in 1914. Many Lugrin movements also included advanced calendar functions, including windowed day and month and moon phase. His chronographs often included rattrapante functions.

The company was known as A. Lugrin & Cie. by 1908 but the company was not officially registered as such until January 13, 1913. It was reorganized as a Société Anonyme on March 12, 1918. Société Anonyme de la Fabrique d'Horlogerie Lugrin was initially capitalized with 150,000 francs and absorbed the assets of A. Lugrin & Cie, which was deleted from the register in 1919. Lugrin had long had a branch in La Chaux-de-Fonds and this was officially registered by Lugrin S.A. in 1920.

Lemania Watch Co.

Alfred Lugrin died on December 27, 1920, leaving the firm to his son in law, Marius Meylan. Lugrin only added Meylan to management at the end of his life, and the official registration did not appear until March, 1921.

Lugrin had registered the Lemania brand on March 14, 1906, and used it specifically for repeater watches in the pre-war era. Chronographs without repetition were specifically not branded using the Lemania name. Lemania refers to the French name for Lake Geneva, Lac Léman, though the company rarely used the acute mark above the e in official advertisements or publications.

But the Lemania brand name was also used by Louis Mermin of Geneva in later years. Mermin registered his firm in 1915 and originally used the Astoria brand, renaming the company Fabrique Lemania in 1918. He specialized in wristwatches and pendant watches in the latest styles for export. Lugrin published a notice in 1923 that it intended to enforce its ownership of the name. Before action could be taken, Mermin's company failed and was deleted from the commercial register in August 1924. One month before this, on July 30, Meylan re-registered his family firm as Fabrique d'Horlogerie Lemania Lugrin S.A. (Lemania Watch Co. Lugrin Limited).

The La Chaux-de-Fonds branch was closed in 1932, with Lemania Lugrin focused in the Vallée de Joux from that point on. The Lugrin name gradually disappeared from use and was gone from advertisements starting in the 1940s.

Merger with Tissot and Omega

In 1932 Lemania, Omega, and Tissot joined to form the SSIH group. Meylan welcomed Paul Tissot and Gustave Brandt as administrators of Lemania Lugrin on December 12, 1934.

In close collaboration with Omega great chronograph calibres were created.

The Lemania Calibre 1873 (Omega Calibre 861) became particularly famous with the Omega Speedmaster, which in 1962 was selected by NASA for manned space flights and on 21 July 1969 accompanied Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon. Lemania then worked with Omega to develop a high-quality cam switching automatic chronograph, launching their Cal. 1340 in 1972. This was followed by the 1974 introduction of Cal. 5100.

With the advent of electronic watches in the 1970s the sales of mechanical watches by the SSIH group broke in massively. In 1980 the creditor banks gave Nicolas Hayek the mandate to restructure the group. As part of a management buy-out Lemania was separated by the SSIH Group in 1981 and changed its name to Nouvelle Lemania. In 1992, Nouvelle Lemania was brought under the Groupe Horloger Breguet banner. At this time, the company re-introduced their cam-switching automatic chronograph as Cal. 1350. They constructed a new manufacture in L’Abbaye in 1996.

Breguet was acquired by the Swatch Group in 1999. Over the next decade, the Lemania name was retired, with the company now called Manufacture Breguet. The company primarily produces calibres for Breguet, but many of its products are also used by other Swatch Group brands. Although Lemania's ownership by SSIH brought it very close to ASUAG, Ebauches SA, and SMH/Swatch Group, it was never part of this conglomerate or of ETA, their movement manufacturer.


Lemania has produced many famous movements, including the following: