American and Swiss Watchmaking in 1876
Jacques David

Translated by

Richard Watkins

Reports to the Intercantonal Committee of Jura Industries on the manufacture of watches in the United States, 1877


Probably the most important document in the history of modern watchmaking.
The only book to describe in detail how the American factories made watches, from the raw metal to the finished, cased movement.
The only book which explains American factory organisation, quality control and standard of interchangeability.
A superb analysis of the state of the Swiss industry and the effects of American competition.

Written by the person responsible for the recovery of the Swiss industry and its re-organisation around machine mass production.


Suppressed for 115 years.

In 1876 Jacques David, who later became the director of Longines, was sent to the United State to investigate American watch factories. When he returned he wrote a 108 page manuscript report which gives detailed information on Waltham and Elgin. His summary was that the Swiss watchmaking industry would be destroyed unless immediate action was taken.

For 2 months David's warnings were ignored, and he then presented a second report damning the Swiss makers for not taking him seriously. The Swiss eventually headed his advice, rebuilt their industry and regained control of world watch production.


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