W. Ruch & Cie

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W. Ruch & Cie was a manufacturer of balance springs using the Berna brand in Saint-Imier in the 1930s. The company was founded by Werner Ruch (1899-1952) and his father Albert Ruch and became part of Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies before being split, with Reinhard Straumann's Nivarox SA, in 1937. Ruch was renamed Virola SA in 1959 and moved to Bienne. In 1976, Virola, Nivarox SA, and FSR merged to become Nivarox SA within ASUAG, predecessor to the current Nivarox-FAR.

W. Ruch and Berna

The company W. Ruch & Cie was founded in Saint-Imier in August 1929 by Werner Ruch. The business was partly financed by his father Albert Ruch, owner of a freight transport business in the town. The factory was located at Rue de la Cure 13.

To avoid entanglement with the Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies cartel, Ruch was not involved in the watch business. Rather, the firm produced spiral springs for other uses, including thermometers, scales, and timers. The company used the Berna brand name, a play on the name of Canton Berne, and was unrelated to Montres Berna, which was also located in Saint-Imier and re-established at the same time.

W. Ruch & Cie was incorporated as a Société Anonyme in May 1931 with 100,000 francs of share capital raised. Of this, nearly 44,000 plus a bond was used to purchase the assets of the former company. Although registered by the father, Albert Ruch, alone, Werner Ruch was soon also listed as a manager and rector.

Albert Ruch died by 1936, leaving the firm in Werner Ruch's hands once again. Le Locle businessman Georges Perrenoud of Dixi became chairman and served alongside the younger Ruch on the board. Georges Jacot, accountant, was business manager and Paul Pingeon managed production.

Detailed Timeline