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Breaking News: Breitling Acquires Universal Genève, Providing A Promise to Revive the Beloved Brand


Breitling Universal Genève
Image Courtesy of Breitling
 

Universal Genève: A Legacy of Innovation and Elegance

Universal Genève, born in 1894 in Le Locle, Switzerland, boasts a heritage rooted in precision and innovation. The brand soared to prominence in 1917 with the Compur, the world's first chronograph wristwatch, setting a standard for accurate timekeeping. The Uni-Compax in the 1930s and the Polerouter in the mid-20th century solidified Universal Genève's reputation for timeless design and craftsmanship. Despite challenges during the quartz crisis, the brand persisted in creating mechanical masterpieces, experiencing a recent resurgence in popularity among collectors.


Breitling Universal Genève
Image Courtesy of Breitling
 

Breitling: Precision Engineering Meets Aviation Legacy

Established in 1884 in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, Breitling's journey mirrors the evolution of precision engineering intertwined with a deep connection to aviation. The early 20th century saw the brand's ascendancy with the creation of the first wrist-worn chronograph featuring a separate pusher, leading to its adoption by the Royal Air Force. The Navitimer, a 1950s aviation icon with a built-in slide rule, and contributions to the space race in the 1960s with the Cosmonaute, cemented Breitling's status as a go-to for pilots and enthusiasts. Adapting to the changing times, Breitling remains a powerhouse in the 21st century, blending traditional craftsmanship with modern technology.

 

The Acquisition of Universal Genève by Breitling


Breitling Universal Genève
Image Courtesy of Breitling

In a significant development within the Swiss watchmaking landscape, Breitling has made headlines by acquiring Universal Genève, a move expected to redefine the future for this renowned name in luxury timepieces. This strategic acquisition, announced by Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling, is seen as a promising venture to revive the prestige of Universal Genève, celebrated for its horological artistry and historical innovation.

Breitling's leadership acknowledges the weight of the responsibility in restoring the legacy of Universal Genève. Kern emphasized the meticulous and dedicated approach required to rebuild a brand with such a profound narrative. The plan involves maintaining the distinct identities of Breitling and Universal Genève with separate teams for each, allowing both maisons to operate independently.


Breitling Universal Genève
Image Courtesy of Breitling

Founded in 1894, Universal Genève has a storied history, particularly flourishing in the early to mid-20th century with pioneering designs and technical expertise. However, the quartz crisis presented challenges, and since 1989, it had been under the ownership of the Stelux Group. With this acquisition, Breitling aims to return Universal Genève to its former glory while ensuring its relevance in contemporary times.


Breitling Universal Genève
Image Courtesy of Breitling

Joseph Wong, Chairman and CEO of Stelux Group, expressed confidence in Breitling's ability to elevate Universal Genève, drawing parallels with Breitling's success with its own brand. The emphasis on preserving the heritage of Universal Genève is a top priority for Breitling's management, committed to ensuring the brand lives on not just in name but in spirit.


The historic journey of Universal Genève, outlined from its elegant women's cocktail watches in the 1920s to its groundbreaking innovations in the 1940s and 1950s, highlights the brand's resilience and ingenuity. The brand's successful relaunch in the 1960s, marked by iconic sports watches like the "Nina Rindt" chronograph and the Tri-Compax "Eric Clapton," sets the stage for its revival under Breitling's wing.


Breitling Universal Genève
Image Courtesy of Breitling

The acquisition is not the first connection between Breitling and Universal Genève. As leaders in the chronograph realm, they were once rivals and allies. Now, with shared pasts and individual identities, they embark on a journey to revitalize Universal Genève, turning a dream into a vision. Kern reiterated the revival as a respectful and dedicated process, aiming to see Universal Genève rightfully reinstated in the watchmaking echelon.

 

Thank you for reading!


Balance & Bridge

 

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