Société des Garde-Temps

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Société des Garde-Temps SA (also called Garde-Temps AG) was a federation of Swiss watch manufacturers active in the 1960s and 1970s.


Société des Garde-Temps was founded in 1968 in Neuchâtel. The original members included Degoumois/Avia, Fleurier Watch, Helvetia, Silvana, Solvil et Titus, and Vuilleumier. The group also included various sales and finance companies, as well as a balance factory in Dombresson, and the former Jeanneret jewel company in Neuchâtel.

In 1970, SGT acquired Waltham's operations in Neuchâtel and Chicago and the Sandoz group, which included the famous Invicta brand. By 1974, Sandoz acquired the famous American Elgin brand, and this was also added to SGT.

SGT was affiliated with Optel and was one of the first to release a quartz watch using their LCD technology in 1972. The company focused heavily on digital quartz watches in the 1970s. This included the development of IS MECA of La Chaux-de-Fonds, which developed an advanced watch testing and calibration machine.

By 1979, SGT was divided into three major groups: Helvetia (which included Waltham), Sandoz (including Avia, Elgin, Invicta, and Silvana), and Tell. The remaining brands were deprecated by this time.

SGT faced difficulties in the 1980s. The group focused on the Helvetia and Avia brands in 1980 but was bankrupt by 1981. Some brands expired (including Prexa, Sandoz, Silvana, General) and others (Invicta, Avia, Waltham) were sold off. Many continue to this day, and some (Avia, Invicta) are market leaders. SGT itself was dissolved around 1985.