Fly to America and back.In the first half of XX century

Fly to America and back


In the first half of XX century, Swiss watch companies to conquer the U.S. market, were willing to give up its European origin. Today we observe the reverse process.

These pilots, of course, respect the American pilots Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Urquhart – man and woman, the first committed nonstop across the Atlantic (Lindbergh in 1927, Urquhart in 1932). However, among pilots is not considered a feat. The fact that Lindbergh flew from Urquhart and the U.S. to Europe, using the drive-Atlantic winds. Fly against the wind – it is much more complicated. The true heroes are the pilots Irishman Jim Mollison and Beryl Markham, an Englishwoman who, in 1932 and 1936, respectively, flew from Europe to America.

True, officially their flights again, are not considered absolute records.

Mollison did not have enough fuel to the stated destination – New York, and he was forced to land in New Brunswick, Canada. Markham is also a little bit not reached before the New York airport, landing at Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. However, the flight path over the ocean was overcome. This story illustrates how travel from east to west complicated the opposite. And it concerns not only the aviation or shipping. Thus, the path of Swiss watches in the U.S. can be described as the most tortuous and difficult in the history of watchmaking, as if on the way European watchmakers and really got up the Atlantic winds.

Fly to America and back

Two treasured words – Swiss made – at the beginning of the XX century meant little for the residents of the New World. The fact that in the second half of XIX century, Americans had almost buried the Swiss watch industry. In 1859, Edward Howard, founded in Waltham, Mass., a new hour-long factory, known as American Watch Company.

Innovation lay in the fact that Howard began to produce machine-clock pipelined manner. The idea proved so successful that in five years the number of hours produced increased from 14 to 118 thousand a year.

Hourly factories using machines Howard began to grow like mushrooms: in 1864 there was Elgin, in 1869 – Illinois, in 1877 – Hampden, in 1879 – Waterbury, and in 1872 – Hamilton. AWC itself was later renamed to a more modest Waltham.

Initially, the Europeans are not too worried about the activity of the Americans, they did not believe that the clock can not collect by hand.

However, American products are more precise, cheap and easily repaired thanks to interchangeable parts, soon began to squeeze the Swiss from the world market. From 1860 to 1876 exports of Swiss watches fell by 74%, from 18.3 to 4.8 million francs. This caused serious concern of European manufacturers in the U.S. and sends their representatives to quickly adopt advanced technology. But if the market of the Old World in the late XIX century watchmakers in Switzerland managed to save face, the United States for them to practice it was all over: local consumers considered unreasonably expensive Swiss watch, and most importantly, sufficiently accurate and reliable than local, domestic.

Fly to America and back
Sell at the end of XIX century in the United States watches marked Swiss made was a matter entirely ungrateful. Therefore, the Swiss manufacturers were at all. to disguise the origin of his watch. To do this, even created mythical, supposedly the American companies that were considered, although you actually engaged in imports. By putting its stamp on the clock, the company New York Central Watch, Ohio Watch, Pennsylvania Watch Swiss products sold.

These U.S. manufacturers, of course, indignant, and wrote a complaint to the Senate on how to make a fool of Swiss domestic buyer. The result is a law in 1885 Dingley Tariff Act, according to which all imported watches had to indicate their actual place of production.

Swiss, seriously counting to win promising U.S. market, were willing to do anything to get rid of “questionable» Swiss made. So at the beginning of the XX century began the great exodus of Swiss watches in the west: Dingley Tariff Act allowed American origin for the goods collected in the U.S. and parts of some American (Sound familiar?).

In the USA there were factory assembly Swiss brands Bulova, Benrus, Gruen, Longines-Wittnauer and Concord. In the hours established Swiss movements, but they met with the U.S. that quickly ensured the success of brands and brand recognition among Americans. As a result, these companies have even relocated their headquarters to the New World, and in general refused to European origin, although many continued to buy and mechanisms in Switzerland.

Fly to America and back Part 2

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