Sandoz Spiraux

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Georges Sandoz took over the pioneering Geneva-based balance spring producer Páquet et Rivenc, established in 1810. His firm was one of the five companies that combined in 1895 to form a cartel to corner the production of these springs, Société des Fabriques de Spiraux Réunies (FSR), with Sandoz himself becoming chairman and spokesman.


Very little is known of the early history of the Geneva balance spring workshop later operated by Georges Sandoz. It is said that Páquet and Rivenc began manufacturing springs in Geneva in 1845 and an 1895 ad claims the firm was established in 1810 but there is little documentary evidence of this. The first primary sources connecting Sandoz, Páquet, and Rivenc appear in the 1870s, though there are some earlier details.

Frédéric Nicoud (1815-1887) established a watchmaking business with Louis-Emile L'Eplattenier in 1848 but it was dissolved in December. Nicoud continued operating under his own name on Rue St-Pierre after this. Georges Sandoz is listed at the same address, Rue St-Pierre 12 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in 1875 and he appears to have been Frédéric's son in law. Sandoz is listed as a depot for Rivenc balance springs in 1879 but this task is taken over by Frédéric Nicoud through the 1880s. The firm was taken over by Louis Nicoud (1847-1922) in 1890 and no longer lists balance springs after the establishment of FSR in 1895.

Rivenc-Paquet is first listed as a maker of balance springs at Rue des Philosophes in Geneva in 1877. It appears that Sandoz partnered with Rivenc and Paquet by 1880, with the company now known as Rivenc-Paquet et Sandoz. Located then at Chemin des Seurces 12, it was moved to Montbrillant 42 by 1883, when the firm is renamed as Georges Sandoz. The competing firm of Montandon-Lütz moved to the same address that year, so it is likely that the companies were effectively merged.

George Sandoz-Nicoud became very involved in FSR on its founding in 1895. He was the president and chairman of the operation by 1898 and vigorously defended it during the so-called "spring crisis" at that time. The Sandoz factory at Montbrillant 42 remained in operation until 1900 but was closed in favor of the former Guye et Cie factory. The firm of G. Sandoz was officially closed in 1907 but likely ceased to exist much earlier.

George Sandoz-Nicoud likely died around 1920. His son, Georges Emile Sandoz, took his place on the board of FSR in 1920 but he died on March 12, 1930 at the age of 44.


  • 1810 - Claimed start date of the firm of G. Sandoz
  • 1845 - Claimed start of mass production of balance springs by Rivenc et Páquet
  • 1848 - Frédéric Nicoud establishes his business in La Chaux-de-Fonds on Rue St-Pierre
  • 1875 - G. Sandoz at Rue St-Pierre 12 is first listed as a watchmaking workshop
  • 1877 - Rivenc-Paquet is first listed as a maker of balance springs at Rue des Philosophes in Geneva
  • 1879 - G. Sandoz is listed as a depot for Rivenc balance springs; it is located at Rue St-Pierre 12 in La Chaux-de-Fonds
  • 1880 - Fr. Nicoud at St-Pierre 12 in La Chaux-de-Fonds is listed as a depot for "spiraux-trempes Rivenc-Paquet, success. de G. Sandoz, Geneva"; an advertisement for Rivenc-Paquet at Chemin des Seurces 12 in Geneva appears
  • 1883 - A notice shows that the head of the firm of G. Sandoz of Geneva is Louis Georges Sandoz; the factory produces balance springs at Route de Montbrillant 42 in Geneva; Davoine shows the firm as Ggs. Sandoz, succ. de Rivenc-Paquet et Sandoz, Montbrillant 42
  • 1886 - August 7 - Georges Emile Sandoz is born in Neuchatel
  • 1887 - January 21 - Frédéric Nicoud dies and the La Chaux-de-Fonds operation is taken over by Louis Nicoud
  • 1895 - Georges Sandoz is a founder of FSR
  • 1898 - Georges Sandoz is president and chairman of the board of FSR
  • 1907 - The firm G. Sandoz of Geneva is officially deleted
  • 1918 - George Sandoz is removed from the board of FSR
  • 1920 - George Emile Sandoz joins the board of FSR
  • 1922 - Louis Nicoud dies
  • 1930 - March 27 - Georges Emile Sandoz dies in La Chaux-de-Fonds

See Also