Raoul Perret

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Raoul Perret (1901-1973) was a Swiss businessman who inherited Universal Genève in 1933 and also served on the board of Zénith from 1934 to 1942 and as chairman of Martel from 1942 to 1956.

Early Life

Raoul Perret was born in Le Locle in 1901. He was the son of watch manufacturer Georges-Ulysse Perret, founder of Perret et Berthoud.

Following World War I, the Perret family settled in Geneva, where his father had established a corporate presence in 1918. The young Raoul Perret worked at the family firm, which was increasingly called Universal Genève in the 1920s.


Georges-Ulysse Perret, founder of Perret et Berthoud (later called Universal Genève) died suddenly while swimming in Geneva on August 12, 1933. His share of the company was inherited by his son Raoul, then just 31 years of age.



Raoul Perret joined the board of the Martel Watch Co. on March 12, 1942. He took over the role of president from founder Georges Pellaton-Steudler, who remained as vice-president. The rest of the board was made up of Georges' sons, Redé-Philippe Pellaton, Georges Pellaton (junior), and Raoul Pellaton. Financial capital remained at 150,000 francs suggesting that Perret bought out other investors (perhaps even some Pellaton family shares) rather than investing new money.

Despite the controlling position for Perret at Martel, the company remained independent throughout the 1930s and 1940s and emerged as an independent firm in 1956. Universal was the largest customer for Martel in this period and the facade of the factory bore the name "UNIVERSAL" through the 1940s. The factory produced the acclaimed Universal Compax series of chronographs and also supplied these movements to Zénith (which also included Raoul Perret on the board), Girard-Perregaux, and others.

Raoul Perret stepped down from the administration of Martel on May 9, 1956. He was replaced as president by Raoul Pellaton, with Georges Pellaton (junior) becoming vice-president, René Pellaton secretary, and Robert Maire serving as technical director.

Later Life

Perret was a well-known personality in the watch industry. He served as vice president of the Swiss Watch Federation and president of the Union of Watch Manufacturers of Geneva, Vaud and Valais. He was also one of the founders and was president of the Montres et Bijoux exhibition in Geneva.

Raoul Perret died on January 3, 1973 at the age of 71.