Jean-Mairet & Gillman of Geneva, also known as JMG is a Geneva based independent luxury watch brand founded by César Jean-Mairet. The Jean-Mairet & Gillman brand, founded in 1999, is blessed with the rich horological heritage and culture inherited by the ancestors of the founder.
As a teenager, the entrepreneurial Jean-Mairet sketched watches and dreamed up innovative designs. As an adult he took his passion to the next level by making watches for friends and family. In 1999 he started producing timepieces commercially and by 2002 he was exhibiting at the Basel watch fair.
César Jean-Mairet was born in Valencia, Spain on February 14, 1956 of an Spanish mother and Swiss father. He went to school in Barcelona until the age of 12, when his parents moved to Geneva. He continued his studies in Geneva, later joining the engineering school there. At 21, with a degree in engineering, César Jean-Mairet left Geneva for Africa. He worked in Togo where he was in charge of the construction of an electrical power plant.
The following year, he moved to Saudi Arabia, working for a prestigious Swiss company, to oversee the construction of another power plant. Once the project was finished, he returned to Geneva where he decided to enroll in financial studies at the University of Geneva, where he did an MBA. After years of working for a number of prestigious financial institutions, he then founded his own business.
Slowly he began returning to his passion — designing watches. In 1999, driven by his dreams, he created the brand Jean-Mairet & Gillman, combining his love for watches with a family tradition of watch-making mechanics and technology. He notes that this venture into watchmaking is not surprising, given his background and history – engineering is very much a part of watch-making, which is, in essence, micromechanics. His horological existence is of no coincidence, his lineage shows and illustrious history of watchmakers.
César has been married to Monste Margalef since 1991, and has a daughter named Fiona.
Jean-Mairet & Gillman: The Historical connection
The Jean-Mairet family came to the Neuchâtel region in the early 16th century. In 1566, Jean- Henry Mairet invented a seven-shot pistol and a machine tool for the watch-making industry. Then, in the 19th century, Sylvain Jean-Mairet, master horologist, became a maker of lever escapements, precision watches and chronometers. He invented a double stem-wind watch and perfected several lever devices.
The family heritage continued into the 20th century, when watchmaker André Jean-Mairet was appointed chief of the workshops at the École d’Horlogerie du Locle. His father had been a teacher of precision timing at the school and this was also André’s main area of interest. During his career, André won 119 first prizes from the Observatoire de Neuchâtel for his watch-making and secured two records for his chronometers.
The Gillmans form the other branch of César Jean-Mairet’s family tree. They trace their roots back to a family of scientists who travelled the world during the Victorian era. In fact, César Jean-Mairet’s great-great grandparents were none other than Robert Gillman and Caroline Bovet of the famous Bovet of Fleurier family of watchmakers. Bovet became famous for its pocket watches manufactured for the Chinese market in the 19th century. The original watches are also famous for being among the first to emphasize the beauty of the movements with their skeleton views and highly decorative movements.
Over a century later, the Jean-Mairet & Gillman brand, founded in 1999, is a fitting continuation of that rich horological heritage and culture. The product line is simple, classic yet contemporary, and designed for the connoisseur who loves watches. Each collection is unique and has its own personality. In fact, JMG has a discreet presence in the world of elite watch-making due to the fact that its watches are produced in limited series, making them both utterly desirable and highly collectable. Its sales network is constantly growing and the company is dedicating its efforts to develop a Geneva Seal movement. JMG does not wish to stand on its laurels but move forward to reach new heights, delivering its best in both style and function.