The History of Cyma Watch Company

Cyma is a watch brand that has long been associated with accuaracy. Even the name Cyma, derived from the French cime for top or summit indicated the aims of the company, that of reaching the pinnacle of of accuracy. Cyma can trace its routes back to the Schwob brothers Joseph and Theodore, who initially established cyma in 1862 as a watch manufacturer that assembled watches from components derived from multiple Swiss sources.  At about the same time 1871, Henri Sndoz established Sandoz & Cie in Le Locle. However Sandoz moved to Tavannes in 1891, just North of Biel where he focused on the manufacture of highly complex repeaters and chronographs. Soon after this move Sandoz formed a developed a business relationship with the Schwob brothers and Cyma was officially registered in 1903. Sandoz used the most modern of manufacturing processes and produced very high quality time-pieces, trademarked as Tavannes, Cyma and Cyma Tavannes. The quality of the product allowed Tavannes/Cyma to develop into one of the largest Swiss watch manufacturers by 1910. Even basic models were very accurate and many were consequently sold as officially tested chronometers. By the 1920s, Cyma had followed a growing trend to standardise watch part manufacture, but typical of the company, it wasn’t enough to just produce parts that were interchangeable, they had to be precision made to ensure long term accuracy.

Early watch movements tended to be very susceptible to damage via physical blows. Thus during the 1930s efforts were made to develop shock proofing systems. The very first effective shock proofing system for watches  (Incabloc) was invented by Georges Braunschweig and Fritz Marti in 1934. These systems were incorporated into many watches by numerous watch manufacturers. However, by the 1950s, Cyma had developed its own shock proofing system, Cymerflex, which it installed in its high grade watches. These proudly advertised the fact on the dial  (Figure 1). It is a bit of a testament to Cyma, that of all of the numerous watches that have passed though our hands as dealers in vintage watches over the years, we have never had a troublesome Cyma.

Cymaflex WristwatchBy the late 1960s and early 1970s the watch industry was changing, the advances of Hamilton and Bulovea in the production of electric watches set the scene for the era of the quartz watch. By 1973 Cyma had produced their first electric watch and they were ready to embrace the new technology whilst other watch manufacturers were decimated by it.  The brand is currently owned by Stelux International, Ltd and continues to lead in the production of high quality quartz watches. Having achieved this it seems that Cyma has met the goals set out by its founders, after all Cyma now produces watches that are always absolutely accurate.

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