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Sandoz (Est. 1870 – ) Some watch experts trace the history of Sandoz back to the year 1530 when Johannus Sandoz was born into a Le Locle, Switzerland aristocratic family. The brand’s official founding, however, is attributed to three successive generations of the Sandoz family all of whom were prominent and active members of the jewelry profession in their own time. In 1861, Gustave Sandoz (1836-1891) continued the family’s long history of clock making while simultaneously branching into jewelry.

In 1870, Henri Frédéric Sandoz founded Henri Sandoz & Cie., that later produced complicated watches under the name of Cyma. With Jules E. Sandoz, Henri also founded the ODIN Company which officially began the watch history of the Sandoz family. ODIN specialized in the production of complicated timepieces such as repeater and chronograph and was among the pioneers of the watch manufacturing industry.

In 1890, in partnership with two families named Schwob, Sandoz established a watch-making firm at Malleray, near Tavannes, in the French-speaking Bernese Jura in Switzerland. The new business was called Tavannes Watch Co.

By 1913, when Henri died, many watches were made under the name of Henri Sandoz & Fils. The manufacture occupied a model factory with one thousand workers producing 2,500 watches a day. Other names used by the Tavannes Company at various times include Tavannes-Cyma, Bijou Watch Co., Tacy Watch Co., and Lisca.

In 1920, Henri’s son Hermann Sandoz took over the Sandoz Company and renamed it Henry Sandoz & Fils. In 1926, Henry Sandoz & Fils moved its factory to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. By 1920, Sandoz had developed markets in India and Pakistan. In the following decades, as its operational scale increased, the Sandoz Company continued to be renamed several times.

In 1938, as the company continued to grow, it was now renamed Henry Sandoz & Co. followed by Bezzola & Kocher that produced four thousand items per day. Eventually it was renamed again as Campagnie de Montres Sandoz SA that translates to ”Company of Watches Sandoz Co.” That is the name that exists today. Among the few things that remain unchanged for the brand is the consistent Swiss watchmaking technology tradition passed down from one generation to the next.

Sandoz has consistently specialized in ultra-fine watch production. A good example is the Model 333 with sixty ruby gems in the movement. The balance is in the middle and is fixed by six small balls, which move in a special track outside the movement.

In the innovative Model HSF 56, the movement is supplied with a system that almost completely eliminates vibration and provides equilibrium between the parts and elements of the movement and back side.

Among the official ambassadors for Sandoz creations is the actor, Richard Gere; the famous racer and Formula-1 champion Fernando Alonso Díaz, and European cosmic agency astronaut, Pedro Francisco Duque.

Sandoz watches are included in collections that include classic watch models and sport models. They are known for round, rectangular, squared cases made of stainless steel. Dials have different colors with luminous Roman and Arabic hour indicators. The three hands are also luminous.

Between the hour marks of 4 and 5 o’clock, there is an opening that displays the date. The models are supplied with straps made of genuine leather or rubber of different colors. Metal bracelets can be substituted for any model in any series.

Sandoz collections include ordinary watches as well as chronographs. Chronographs are supplied with automatic rewind and a quartz or automatic movement. Water-resistance is from 3 to 10ATM.

The Sandoz Diver is similar to the Invicta 8926 Professional Diver 200M with both watches similar in style to the Rolex Submariner. Surprisingly, the price of the Sandoz Diver is about $100.

Furthermore, without close inspection, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the Sandoz Diver and Invicta 8926 because the cases of the two watches are quite thick and both have been precisely polished with their respective hands, hour markers and dials all of a high standard.

Beginning in 1971, the Sandoz brand name was split into four main areas of production with licenses being leased or sold. This led to four separate brands: Sandoz Singapore, Sandoz Hong Kong, Sandoz Swiss, and Sandoz Spain (Munreco).

While all these entities produce watches under the Sandoz name, each production company has its own line of products. Sandoz Swiss manufactures high quality watches, while Sandoz Hong Kong and Sandoz Singapore manufacture less expensive watches that are of lower quality. Sandoz Hong Kong products are assembled in Hong Kong using Swiss movements from ETA SA.

The family members who specialized in the jewelry trade established Maison Gustave Sandoz. It began with Gustave Sandoz (1836-1891) who was involved in organizing the 1891 Expositions Universelles where he was also an exhibitor.

Son Gustave-Roger (1867-1942) took the helm of the business in 1891 after his father’s death. Gustave Roger focused even more strongly on jewelry particularly gold work and gem set pieces. By 1895 the Maison had embraced the Art Nouveau style and produced pieces with a variety of gems and colored enamels that featured a range of motifs. Like his father, Gustave-Roger was active in various societies that promoted and exhibited at Paris fairs.

When Gérard (1902-1995) joined his father in the business in 1920, the Maison’s style had evolved. Gérard had shown an interest in art and design from a very young age and had studied under a variety of artists including his uncle who was a sculptor and interior designer. Gérard began designing jewelry and silverware even as he pursued his other artistic interests that included painting and the design of advertising posters.

By the time of the Exposition Internationale des Art Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925, Gérard had gained recognition for his bold, geometric pieces. He placed value on design and craftsmanship rather than materials and gems.

Consequently, his jewelry is characterized by strong shapes, bold lines, clean surfaces, angles and volume. He tended to favor combinations of different colored metals in polished, matte, or textured finishes. These were juxtaposed with predominantly opaque, ornamental gemstones such as onyx, lapis lazuli, hematite and coral.

Gérard is also regarded as one of the pre-eminent avant-garde designers of the 1920’s and the style that came to be known as Art Moderne. Despite the recognition and success he attained, his career was relatively short lived.

His father sold the business in the late 1920’s to Georges L’Enfant whose workshop was responsible for making Sandoz jewelry. While Gérard continued in his role as artistic director at first, the early 1930’s saw him turn his back on jewelry to pursue his interest in filmmaking and the jewelry company was soon dissolved.

Decades later, Gérard made a brief reappearance in the jewelry world when he created a new collection of pendants and brooches based on original designs. These were shown at a gallery in Paris in 1985.

Whether it is watches or jewelry, Sandoz is chosen by those who value quality, durability, or who want to be known for wearing elegant, classic, and/or sport styles.

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