Schwarz Etienne

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The company now called Schwarz Etienne of La Chaux-de-Fonds was founded in 1905 by Paul-Arthur Schwarz (1870-1940), who came to the watchmaking city from the German-speaking heartland of Canton Berne and had worked as a remonteur there for nearly a decade prior. He married Olga Etienne, taking on her name to become Schwarz-Etienne, and brought his three sons and daughter into the business, which soon also took this hyphenated alliance name. A large number of companies were part of the Schwarz family portfolio, mostly using names acquired from others, including Montres Venus, Alpha, Astin, Sultana, Le Phare, Levrette, Mildia, and more. The present incarnation of the company is a maker of watches as well as specialty movements used by others, notably Horlogers Ming. Despite using the Venus name, Schwarz Etienne is unrelated to Venus SA of Moutier, producer of chronograph movements which was merged with Valjoux in 1964 under Ebauches SA.

Paul Schwarz-Etienne

Paul Schwarz initially located his company at Rue du Paix 85 in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Schwarz-Etienne was located at Rue du Parc 128 in La Chaux-de-Fonds from 1920 until about 1926 when it moved to Rue Jacob Brandt 61. By 1932 it was moved back to Parc 130. In 1936 the company leased the famous and iconic "Palais Invar", formerly the home to Achille Hirsch's Montres Invar, at Avenue Léopold-Robert 94. This high-profile showroom along the main road in La Chaux-de-Fonds would be home to the company through at least 1988. The building also housed Le Phare (later Sultana and Jean d'Eve) starting in 1961.

Schwarz-Etienne and Associated Companies

After Paul Schwarz-Etienne's death in 1940, the company became known as Les Fils de Paul Schwarz-Etienne. The new focus was on building the Alpha brand, which would cause some legal issues due to confusion with the Alfa or Alpha brand watches sold by G. Kessel of Mexico.

The company abruptly switched to the Venus name in 1952, and this would be their primary post-war brand. Still located at Avenue Léopold-Robert 94 in the 1960s, it was associated with Automatisation SA under General Manager A. H. Schwarz, grandson of the founder, with M. Etienne as Sales Manager. For a time, the company even used the "Tele Vision" brand. The company later produced watches for jewelers like Chanel, Dunhill, Jaguar Coventry, Mauboussin, and Caran d'Ache.

By the 1980s, the company was manufacturing using the Saint-Piège brand. In 1985, Schwarz-Etienne was reorganized and began selling watches under its own name for the first time. Most of the company's products in the 1990s and 2000s were chronographs based on the ETA 7750 family, though the company also produced time-only and dual-time mechanical watches.

Radicchi and Ergemini

Beginning in 1993, Neuchâtel real estate mogul Rafaello Radicchi began acquiring a stake in the company, which soon dropped the hyphen, becoming simply Schwarz Etienne. It was merged with C. Wilhelm & Cie. in 2003.

In 2007, Radicchi took over the remainder of the company as part of his growing group of watch component companies known as Radicchi Horlogerie group. The company was headed by Marc Barrachina at this time, and his goal was to create a luxury brand based on in-house movements. Thus, the company launched its "Series A" of micro-rotor automatic movements in 2009. This movement was redesigned in 2013 to become the ASE, with the double-barrel MSE and TSE tourbillon added later that year.

By 2016, Schwarz-Etienne was managed by Mauro Ergemini, who had closed and renovated most of the company's showrooms and was re-focusing on international and OEM sales. The "Irreversible" Cal. ISE was introduced by 2018. Horlogers Ming selected Schwarz-Etienne to produce their award-winning watches starting in 2019.

Schwarz Family Companies


C. Wilhelm S.A.
Rue du 1er Mars 10a – C.P.
CH-2302 La Chaux-de-Fonds

Tel. +41 (0)32 967 94 20
Fax +41 (0)32 967 94 29