History of Favre Leuba Watches

From as early as 1737, Favre Leuba has been dedicated to creating fine Swiss watches. The company is one of the oldest in the history of watchmaking. Originally based in Le Locle, Switzerland, Abraham Favre set up his independent watch company in 1735, having begun his watchmaking apprenticeship in 1718. The second oldest watch brand sits behind Blancpain, which was founded just two years earlier. The pioneer’s son, Abraham Favre, Jr shared his father’s obsession for improving timekeeping technology and became recognised globally throughout the 20th Century. When he joined forces with Auguste Leuba in 1815, the company Favre Leuba was formed.

Together Favre and Leuba travelled the world reaching out to the European market with their sophisticated pocket watches. Fritz Favre’s children who were, by then, the sixth generation of Favres within the watch business, began building a name for the company in Asia. After expanding the company’s strategy on the subcontinent, Favre Leuba moved its facilities from Le Locle to Geneva in 1896. It was not until two decades later, however, that the brand’s monopusher chronograph watches gained Favre Leuba even more recognition within the industry. Up until the 60s, the company would continue to use Ebauche movements like the more affordable Landeron and the Valjoux.

In 1955 Favre Leuba created its own Calibre, the FL101 which was used in models like the Sea Chief (a clean design with a mid century aesthetic and tall, elongated indexes for easy timekeeping), the Sea King (a sports watch with a functional water resistant case design), and Sea Raider (with a retro futuristic aesthetic). Just two years later the Calibre FL102 launched, equipped to the heart of the Datic models, followed by the FL103 and FL104 movements, complete with a date function.

In 1960 Favre Leuba became a respectable manufacturer of diving watches when it launched the release of the Water Deep model. It formed the foundations of an indispensable tool for explorers and adventure seekers. The Bivouac was worn on the wrists of parachute flyers in the US’ Swiss national parachuting team during the 1962 World Cup. As the first mechanical wristwatch to house an aneroid barometer for altimeter and air pressure, it ranked amongst some of the world’s most mission defying timepieces in the industry at the time. Walter Bonatti also sported the Favre Leuba on his wrist when he ascended the north face of Pointe Whymper, a total of 4,196 metres in 1964 with Michael Vaucher.

Following the success of Favre Leuba’s two barrel series of extra flat movements named the Calibre FL251, the company released the Deep Blue watch with a 200 meter water resistant case, followed by the Bathy in 1968. The wristwatch displayed dive time and current diving depth simultaneously. During the 80s, the Sea Sky and Sea Sky GMT models were launched before the Favre family sold the company.

It was not until 2011 that Favre Leuba would resurface, now owned by the Tata Group in Zug (often referred to as “Crypto Valley”). New wristwatches were released like the Raider Harpoon and the altitude friendly Bivouac 9000, which reached the summit of Mt Everest. In addition to these milestones, the Raider Bathy 120 MemoDepth marked the brand’s 280th anniversary. Since then the company has celebrated the 50th anniversary of the successful Bathy watch and now has ambassadors like Satyarup Siddhanta, Pen Hadow and Sayuri Kinoshita supporting the manufacturer’s unique timepieces.