Switzerland has been the unofficial capital of horology for centuries. Ever since the first watchmaker’s guild was established there in 1601, the country has been a magnet ambitious artisans. Geneva was so overcrowded with them that it was nicknamed “a city of watchmakers” in the seventeenth century. Competition was so fierce that many talented horologists were forced to relocate to towns in the Jura Mountains. One of the most popular destinations for watchmakers was the village of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Founded in the 17th century, the former hamlet is now the third largest city in Romandie, the French-speaking section of Switzerland. Its growth and its wealth are inextricably tied to the watch industry.More than three and a half centuries after they started arriving, watch manufacturers now employ most of the local residents. There are over a dozen world-famous watch companies in this quiet town with a population of less than 38,000 people.
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In a recent article on the watch industry in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the author listed a litany of famous names. There was Cartier, Louis Vuitton, TAG Heuer, Movado, British Masters, and Juvenia. And then when he came to the end, the writer employed the familiar phrase “and others.” Invicta is one of those “others,” which means that they are not quite as popular or as well known as the aforementioned.
But they have been around for longer, and, according to most watch enthusiasts, they make better products.The Invicta Watch Company was founded by Raphael Picard in 1837. Before this time, watches were considered luxury items. Only well-heeled men could afford the average timepiece. But Picard wanted to change all that. He was one of the first watchmakers to design pocket watches for the common man. It wasn’t an easy task.
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