History of Gallet Watches

The Gallets, citizens of Geneva since 1466, have a long history of being goldsmiths and watchmakers. Initially, they began by manufacturing gold cases for pocket watches for men and necklace watches for women. As they were in close contact with watch manufacturers, they quickly learnt the technology and the trade of producing watches. Geneva was considered to be the center of metropolis watches and this trade was passed on from one generation to the next. It was Leon L. Gallet who actually began the Gallet watch company and expanded it to the level of a thriving business.

Gallet watches can be proud for achieving many milestones in the history of watches. Gallet watches were recognized as pioneers in 1895 as they were the world's first producer of wrist watches for both men and women. This was then imitated and included in collections of other Swiss watch companies. They protected the idea of an improved protection of the mechanism of chronographs and later made chronographs as their specialty in wrist watches. In 1916, Gallet was the world's first supplier of true wrist chronographs to the British Army. In this collection, Gallet retained the porcelain enamel dial, three piece case, and center button crown of the pocket watch collection. During the Second World War, it supplied watches to the armies of the Great Britain, Canada and the USA. It also developed a special chronograph model for the pilots of the US Air Force and named the watch as "the Flying Officer". It continues to produce watches for military personnel. Since the time of Leon L. Gallet, Gallet watches have realized the huge potential in both European and American markets. Some of the earliest brands of Gallet were- Solar, Success, Bridgeport, Chancellor, Burlington, Commodore, Eureka, Continental, Mars, Security, National Park, Select, and The Governor. Jules Racine was the distributor for Gallet and Racine watches in the US until it was taken over by Gallet, Switzerland. Since 2004, Gallet company's activities are concentrated near Zurich, Switzerland. Always looking to expand their business activities, Gallet watches have been a part of Asian markets since 1912. They still retain their Japanese clientele such as Seiko, Kingoro Tzana, Tamaya & Co., Hitsukoshi and Kobayashi. Singapore, Shanghai, India, Burma and China have been some of their other customers.

The best part about Gallet watches is that they never were, and are still not, elitist. They were meant for the moneyed working man. Gallet watches have now attained an antique value. In fact, keeping the tradition of philanthropy alive with his family, Leon Gallet left behind a legacy to finance a museum for watches. Around 100 gold watches were donated by his son to the international museum of watches in La Chaux-De-Fonds. These included very valuable pocket chronograph watches and many gold cases. Gallet watches have a timeless feel and are considered to be an ideal collector's item.