The famous ebauche manufacturer, Landeron, began as the watch manufacturer Hahn Freres et Cie
in 1875. The name changed to Charles Hahn et Cie before the 1900's
Hahn had originally built watches, but ventured into selling ebauches in 1921, using the 'Landeron'
marketing label (after their location in Le Landeron, Neuchâtel), because buyers of these ebauches
were rival watchmakers who obviously didn't want the brand 'Hahn' marked anywhere on their stuff.
With Hahn's revenue increasingly dominated by sales of movements rather than sales of watches,
the company name was adapted to the mark of its hottest-selling product, and they registered the
name Hahn Landeron. They bought some of Anatole Breitling's designs and started manufacturing
chronograph watches, and built a tremendous reputation for solid quality.
The emerging Great Depression was forcing consolidation of watch and ebauche houses: notably
combining Adolph Schild S.A., Adolphe Michel S.A. and Fabrique Horlogerie du Fontainemelon (FHF)
in 1926 under a new entity "Ebauches S.A." (ESA), which in turn would acquire Hahn Landeron the
following year of 1927.
Other famous watchmakers were joined under ESA, but ESA would itself be forced by a collapsing
global economy to join under another entity, Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG (ASUAG)
in 1931. ASUAG's chief rival was Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogére SA (SSIH) which was
comprised initially of Omega and Tissot, before other watch brands like Lemania and Hamilton were
The quartz crisis of the very late 70's forced yet further consolidation.
Swiss banks holding loans to ASUAG and SSIH forced them to merge in 1983, and then assigned a
manager (Nicolas Hayek) to restructure the conglomerate to profitability. The new entity formed
was the Société de Microélectronique et d'Horlogerie (SMH), which was later renamed after its
best-selling product/brand, Swatch, in 1998.
Up until the banks took control, Landeron had remained a real, trademarked entity within ESA and
then ASUAG, but after Hayek took over, a single ebauche maker (originally in ASUAG, alongside
Landeron) was selected to take over nearly ALL ebauche production for watches under SMH/Swatch:
Hayek selected ETA, which had been the movement manufacturing affiliate of Eterna under ASUAG.
Almost all other ebauche manufacturer brands in SMH/Swatch's portfolio were neglected.
Landeron was one of them, losing its trademark status in the early 2000's, just a few years after
SMH was renamed as Swatch. The name 'Landeron' was thus/then publicly up for grabs.
Enter "Landeron Watches", an entity registered in 2004 by a French ebay seller named Dan Elgrably,
who had been ebay-selling frankens, marriages and new-design watches years prior. Mons. Elgrably
has also used Kickstarter to market his 'Landeron Watches', which mostly use Chinese ebauches. - Horg