Paul Pingeon

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Paul-Louis Pingeon (1907-1963) was a founder and director of Nivarox SA in Saint-Imier.


Paul-Louis Pingeon was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1907 and studied watchmaking at the technical school there. After graduating he moved to Geneva and Schramberg to work before returning to his home region and settling in Saint-Imier. He married Hélène née Vasina prior to his daughter's birth in 1936.

When Le Locle industrialist Georges Perrenoud took over the Saint-Imier spring factory of W. Ruch & Cie on behalf of ASUAG in 1936, he brought in the young Paul Pingeon as technical director and Georges Jacot as financial manager. The plan was to capitalize on Reinhard Straumann's invention of the Nivarox alloy to give ASUAG leverage over production of watches in the pre-World War II period. In June of 1937, ASUAG split the company, with Pingeon, Jacot, and Straumann forming Nivarox SA and Werner Ruch remaining at his namesake firm to produce conventional springs.

Pingeon devoted his life to the company and was known as the primary force behind it until his death. He was president of the workers' compensation company, founded in 1942 and remained so for many years. Charles Stampfli took over financial management after the death of Georges Jacot in 1946, and he and Pingeon became close collaborators. The company was originally located on Rue de la Cure before moving to a larger facility on Rue des Roses and finally taking over the former building of the district hospital in 1945.

Pingeon continued to work despite contracting tuberculosis. He laid the foundations for a new spring factory in the 1960s though he never saw it completed.

Paul Pingeon died on January 9, 1963. He was eulogized by Nivarox SA chairman Paul Renggli as well as company administrator Charles Stampfli. He was survived by his wife and two daughters as well as his parents. His place as managing director of Nivarox SA was taken by Alain-François Grisel and at the compensation fund by Stampfli.