Guye et Cie

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Guye et Cie was the name of a prominent producer of balance springs in Geneva around the turn of the century. The firm traces its history to 1835 in Côte-aux-Fées, with the spring producer established in Geneva by Philippe and Auguste Guye by 1871. The company was taken over by Philippe's sons, principally professors Philippe-Auguste Guye and Charles-Eugène Guye, who joined the nascent cartel Société des Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies (FSR) in 1895 and served on the board through the 1920s.


Jacob Pétremand established watchmaking in Côte-aux-Fées after earning the respect of Breguet in Paris. He taught his children the art of wheel cutting and began to manufacture components for escapements and chronometers for Breguet.

Louis-Auguste Guye was the nephew of Jacob Pétremand and worked as a watchmaker in Le Locle. Known as "Le Capitaine", he was forced to leave Neuchâtel after 1831, settling in Geneva and beginning the manufacture of balance springs. He invented a new tempering process, making his springs well-known, and became wealthy. Guye acquired the estate known as Saint-Christophe near Yverdon in the Canton Vaud in 1841. He was noted as "a keen and intelligent researcher" and became a designer for "an important branch of the watch industry."

The sons of Louis-Auguste Guye, Philippe, Auguste, and Fritz, formed a company known as P. & A. Guye by 1871. The company had a branch in Geneva, run by Philippe Guye, and in London, run by Auguste and Fritz. The Geneva factory was located at Place Cornavin 17 and would continue after the partnership and London offices were liquidated in 1888.

In 1889, a new partnership was formed between Philippe Guye and his son, Philippe-Auguste. Known as P. Guye & Cie, this company produced balance springs in the Carnavin 17 factory. Philippe-Auguste Guye and his brother Charles-Eugène Guye were gifted scientists and professors and would maintain the company while studying physics and chemistry.

Philippe-Auguste Guye agreed to incorporate his family firm into the cartel known as Société des Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies (FSR) in 1895, joining forces with the other major makers of balance springs. He served on the board of the new company until 1907, when he was replaced by his brother Charles Eugène. This was shortly after the firm of Guye et Cie was officially dissolved into FSR, with the cartel using the Guye factory at St-Jean 8 as their primary Geneva factory. FSR relocated to a new factory nearby by 1913.

FSR was reorganized in 1920 and Philippe-Auguste Guye returned to the board, replacing his brother. But he died in 1922 and Charles-Eugène Guye returned to the board shortly after. He resigned in 1928 to focus on his other work and died in 1942.


  • 1831 - Louis-Auguste Guye is forced to flee Le Locle for Geneva
  • 1835 - The predecessor company of Guye et Cie is established
  • 1841 - Louis-Auguste Guye acquires Saint-Christophe near Yverdon
  • 1841 - Guye is said to produce the first factory-made balance springs
  • 1862 - Philippe-Auguste Guye is born
  • 1866 - October 15 - Charles-Eugène Guye is born in Saint-Christophe near Yverdon
  • 1871 - P. & A. Guye is listed in Davoine at Route de Frontenex 47 in Geneva
  • 1877 - P. & A. Guye is listed in Davoine at Boulevard de Plainpalais 26 in Geneva
  • 1883 - P. & A. Guye is listed in Davoine at Place Cornavin 17 in Geneva
  • 1883 - March 24 - Philippe Guye of Geneva, and Auguste Guye and Fritz Guye of London (all three from Côte-aux-Fées) registered their previously-existing general partnership known as P. & A. Guye of Geneva; this was a watch or clock factory with offices at Place Cornavin 17, Geneva and Boy Court, Ludgate-Hill, London; the manager was Eugène Louis Roessinger of Geneva.
  • 1888 - July 30 - The partnership P. & A. Guye of Geneva and London was dissolved; Auguste Guye and Fritz Guye were responsible for the liquidation of the London branch, while Philippe Guye kept the Geneva office, which was called Ph. Guye on August 1; the business focused on the manufacture of hairsprings at Place de Cornavin 17, Geneva
  • 1889 - February 19 - A new limited partnership between Philippe Guye and Philippe-Auguste Guye is created under the name P. Guye & Cie; it remains a hairspring factory with offices at Place de Cornavin 17, Geneva
  • 1894 - July 23 - Following the death of Philippe Guye on July 23 1894, the partnership is reconstituted as Guye et Cie. with the brothers Philippe-Auguste Guye, Francis-Ernest Guye, and Charles-Eugène Guye joining their mother, widow Elise Guye; the business is now located at Usine de St-Jean
  • 1895 - Guye et Cie is listed in Davoine at Usine de St-Jean 8 in Geneva
  • 1895 - December 17 - Guye et Cie is incorporated into Société des Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies (FSR) with Philippe-Auguste Guye representing the company as director
  • 1905 - December 31 - Guye et Cie is declared dissolved with FSR taking over the factory at St-Jean 8
  • 1906 - March 13 - The liquidation of Guye et Cie is completed
  • 1907 - February 12 - Charles-Eugène Guye replaces Philippe-Auguste Guye on the board of FSR
  • 1913 - FSR is listed at St-Jean 19
  • 1920 - October 22 - Philippe-Auguste Guye replaces Charles-Eugène Guye on the board of FSR
  • 1922 - March 27 - Philippe-Auguste Guye dies
  • 1925 - March 20 - Charles-Eugène Guye returns to the board of FSR
  • 1928 - March 5 - Charles-Eugène Guye resigns from the board of FSR
  • 1942 - Charles-Eugène Guye dies

See Also