Société d'Horlogerie de Granges
The Société d'Horlogerie de Granges was a large maker of ebauches in Grenchen in the late 19th century. Established in 1871, the company quickly surpassed the firms of Girard Frères and Schild Frères and became one of the largest suppliers of watch movements in the world.
Established in 1871, the Société d'Horlogerie de Granges was founded by Euseb Obrecht-Kessler to provide ebauches for his firm, Obrecht & Kully. It also capitalized on the success of Urs Schild and others in manufacturing ebauches in Grenchen on an industrial scale. The factory soon employed a 10 horsepower turbine, enabling it to produce high-quality metal components in large numbers. By 1879 it was producing over 250,000 ebauches per year and employed 350 workers. The company produced ebauches, escapements, and winding mechanisms.
The 1883 survey of businesses noted that the Société d'Horlogerie was established by Euseb Obrecht-Kessler and Rudolf Zumstein-Girard (1840-1885) and was located at Fabrikgebäude 154. The Société d'Horlogerie received recognition for its capabilities at the Zurich Exposition in 1883. The firm was managed by R. Zumstein until his death in 1885, at which point it reverted to management by founder Eusèb Obrecht. It still used the Société d'Horlogerie name for decades after this. The Société d'Horlogerie took over Obrecht's factory in 1899.
A 1911 wildcat strike against the company deeply damaged it, and it was forced to reduce share capital from 250,000 to just 50,000 francs and raise additional capital to resume operations. It was supported by the bank of Henzi & Kully but was unable to get itself on sound financial footing before it was impacted by the First World War.
A 1916 ad shows that the Société d'Horlogerie was specialized in the production of Roskopf watches, as well as cylinder and anchor escapement watches from 11 to 20 lignes. The ad includes two ladies wristwatches and boasts of production of over one million watches and movements per year.
After the war the Société d'Horlogerie first benefited and then was hit by overproduction and the world economic downturn. It was forced into bankruptcy and this brought about the failure of the bank of Henzi & Kully as well in 1920.