CONSUL is a Swiss watch brand based at La Chaux-de-Fonds, the center of modern watchmaking.
It was in the year 1900 that François Huguenin (1864-1940) founded the watch production workshop that was to become CONSUL. He recognised the potential of bracelet watches very early on, at a time when more than 95% of all watches were pocket watches. So he was among the pioneers who concentrated on improving ways to miniaturise components to be able to make more elegant watches, with smaller proportions and yet still retaining their high precision.
Today CONSUL figures among the brands, which gave Swiss mechanical watches their reputation for being robust, perfectly executed and reliable.
In 1934, François Huguenin handed over the company to his son-in-law Charles Virchaux. In 1942 Charles-Edouard Virchaux, son of Charles Virchaux took over the company from his father.
In 1951, the future of CONSUL became closely linked with another big Swiss watch industry brand, Girard-Perregaux, through the marriage of Charles Edouard Virchaux to Madame Paulette Graef, owner of Girard-Perregaux. The collaboration between these two companies became closer over the years, until it was made official in 1969, by the foundation of Girard-Perregaux Holding SA, of which Charles-Edouard Virchaux was to remain managing director. This holding company comprised Girard-Perregaux SA, CONSUL SA and their overseas subsidiaries.
In 1979, Charles-Edouard Virchaux took a well deserved retirement after almost 50 years of service with CONSUL SA, of which 37 were as its director.The company was taken over by Desco of Zürich, who was to divest itself of Girard-Perregaux SA in 1985.
The company created CATAMARAN watch brand in 1983 and then by the transfer of its head office to Bienne in 1986. After belonging to the Desco Group for 17 years, CONSUL was sold to a new owner, a watch-making enthusiast, whose aim is to continue to expand the company and its brands. In 1998, CONSUL returned to Neuchâtel, close to its origins in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
CONSUL’s philosophy is coloured by an era, when international commercial relations were conducted in style and with diplomacy and the quality of life and work were synonymous with distinction. Still today, CONSUL has the finesse to believe that distinction is an inherent virtue and that it is still possible to be elegantly different at a very reasonable price. It strives to offer very high quality watches in terms of their materials and production, and also their high level of aesthetic refinement.
1900: François Huguenin (1864 – 1940) is starting a watch production shop that will become Consul.
1904: Beginning of the watch export with the Consul brand.
1915: The watch export is already 40% of the Consul turnover.
1926: Charles Virchaux, sun-in-law of François Huguenin, is joining the Montres Consul Company.
1934: Charles Virchaux is taking over the company.
1942: Charles-Edouard Virchaux, grand-son of François Huguenin, is taking over the company.
1946: As of this date, all the Consul watches are officially tested. 92% receives the grade “particularly good”
1951: The first chronometer certificate by the Neuchâtel Observatory is delivered for the Consul movement 30mm. Charles-Edouard Virchaux marries Paulette Graef, owner of Girard-Perregaux.
1952: Award from the Observatory of Neuchâtel.
1953: First price Award by the Observatory of Neuchâtel.
1955:100% of the Consul production officially tested receive the grade “particularly good”
1959: Grade certificates “Particularly good grade”
1962: Montres Consul becomes a joint-stock company.
1969: Creation of a Holding company with Girard-Perregaux watch company. Charles-Edouard Virchaux becomes the General Director.
1979: The Holding company is sold to Desco, Zurich.
1983: Creation of the watch brand “Catamaran”, becoming a division of Montres Consul.
1985: Girard-Perregaux Company is sold.
1986: Montres Consul and its divisions are moving to Biel / Bienne.
1996: Montres Consul is sold to new owners, whose goals are to continue the tradition started.
1998: Montres Consul factory is going back to its origin, Neuchâtel.
2000:100th anniversary of the Consul brand.