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Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG (ASUAG)
(in French: Société générale de l'industrie horlogère suisse SA) is the former biggest Swiss Watch Industry Group that had been created with the assistance of the Swiss Government and the Swiss Banks, as an answer to the crisis called upon by the Great Depression, in 1931.
1983, « ASUAG » and (SSIH), then the second most important holding company with Omega and Tissot were forced by the Swiss Banks to merge into Société de Microélectronique et d'Horlogerie (SMH), which now has been renamed Swatch Group. ASUAG grouped most of the movement parts & Ebauches manufacturers on one side, and through its sub holding General Watch Co (GWC); many watch brands on the other side. Most of those companies are still being active, integrated into the new conglomerate.
During the years of crisis, since 1978 until 1991, Dr. Ernst Thomke was at the helm of the restructurings, firstly as CEO of ETA SA, then Ebauches SA, including a mandate as Administrator of ASUAG, and became SMH's first CEO in 1983, position that he held until 1991. At that time newly elected President and main shareholder Nicolas G. Hayek had already become the only person of reference.
Swiss watch industry was confronted with a huge foreign competition. Nevertheless, A. Reymond company is the biggest employer in Tramelan. Over 300 people are working at Auguste Reymond manufacture.
A. Reymond SA merges with Béguelin & Cie SA and Hoga Watch SA. 3 brands under one roof with the corporate name ARSA. In 1975 the aging company was badly hurt by the “quartz crisis” that hit the entire Swiss watch industry at the end of the seventies.
After years of loss, ASUAG and SSIH merge in 1983 to stabilise the swiss watch industry. One year after, the group sells many brands among them ARSA. By management buyout, one of the directors, Mr. James Choffat, bought back whatever could be saved from the disaster and continued to manufacture Auguste Reymond watches, mostly operated by quartz movements as competition dictated, for the last few importers that were still distributing the brand.
Mr. Choffat sells the brand to the watch company “Montres Nitella SA” in Tramelan, owned by the Loosli family.
Thomas Loosli’s challenge was to bring back to life the “good old” mechanical watch. Within less than two years he designed an entirely new collection for Auguste Reymond, which featured exclusively mechanical watches and was positioned in the medium price range. Since then, 3 companies got together: Auguste Reymond SA, which produces watches in the middle range; ARSA, which produces braille and low vision watches and Nitella SA, which produces private label watches.
The brand is present at Baselworld exhibition for the 50th time! Within ten years, the small company of Tramelan has taken back its rank among the major Swiss watch brands and the swinging names of Auguste Reymond’s models have become references for watch connoisseurs all over the world.