In Vallée de Joux, the cradle of the luxury watchmaking, in the Jura Mountains from the Canton of Vaud, the company MONTRES CLAUDE MEYLAN S.A. carries on tradition and gives birth to wonderful timekeepers thanks to leading-edge techniques and innovation.
It is impossible not to fall in love with this Valley and its marvellous landscapes ; a great quietness reigns in its fir forest Risoud and on highest point Mont-Tendre, same quietness as in the Claude Meylan workshop, on the ground floor of the Berneys’family house. They love their Valley de Joux, worldwide known for its quality of life as well as for its famous watchmaking products manufactured in many factories around the Lake of Joux.
In this idyllic environment, Carol Voutaz manages her small team enthusiastically under the critical but kindly helpful gaze of her grandfather, Henri Berney, the very watchmaker who founded the company in 1972.
Three generations followed on but the passion for watchmaking has remained entire. During her childhood, Carol was cradled by the ticktock sound and very naturally she got used to taking part in everyday matters inherent to the company management. This young woman knows what she wants, and, even if she listens to her grandfather’s advice, she shows initiative and does not hesitate to give a personal touch in order to make her mark. For example, it was her will to change the company name in 2006: Antigone became MONTRES CLAUDE MEYLAN S.A.
In fact, two different brand names are used : The brand « CLAUDE MEYLAN », which was bought up to his founder, is reserved to the most valuable time pieces of the collection : self winding watches in white, yellow or rose gold or in stainless steel – Stainless steel chronographs are presently much appreciated by sportsmen – The brand « CHANDLER» is marked on the novelty watches, most with quartz movements.
History of Claude Meylan
In Mid-18th century Samuel Olivier Meylan from the Chenit District and Abraham Samuel Meylan from L’Orient had been initiated into the mystery of this art in Rolle and Fleurier. Once they were back home, both began to profit from their acquired knowledge: For example Samuel-Olivier Meylan manufactured the first pocket watch fitted with a disc-musical mechanism.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Philippe-Samuel Meylan, a watchmaker of genius, born in Le Brassus, founded with an associate, Isaac Piguet, a company in Geneva, which became one of the biggest companies in the city. There he was the first to use spring chimes, rather than bells, in his musical repeater watches playing a little melody every hour. In 1890, Manufacture Charles-Henri Meylan & Cie was founded and got an award in 1894 from Geneva Observatory for best adjustments.
In the Watchmaking School in Le Sentier, Emile Meylan (1898-1971), Claude Meylan’s grandfather, learned his trade he exercised all his life passionately. Born in 1957 and introduced to watchmaking from his earliest years by this grandfather, Claude Meylan obtained his certificate, the « CFC d’Horloger-rhabilleur » in 1977 and graduated by achieving an entirely hand made master watch.
For eleven years he could then develop his know-how and his natural taste for aesthetic design in two famous high-class watchmaking factories from Vallée de Joux. In 1988 he founded his own company « CLAUDE MEYLAN DIFFUSION S.A. ».
At the same time, Henri Berney, founding father of « Berney-Blondeau S.A. » since the seventy-years, was producing wristwatches, pendant and ring watches under the trade name « Berney ». In 1990 he bought up the name “ANTIGONE”, created in 1950 in Geneva and, in 1998, the brand “CHANDLER” from Jeanbourquin S.A. in La Chaux de-Fonds. Two years before, in 1996, he had bought the remaining Claude Meylan watch stocks.
When the time of retirement had come, Henri Berney sold his company Berney-Blondeau in the year 2000. But his daughter, Eveline Voutaz carried on under the firm name « Antigone S.A. » first with the brand « Chandler » she had kept for the fancy ladies’ watches and then, with the brand « Claude Meylan » for men’s watches, after buying this brand name in 2002. By doing so, the company had got the sole rights for marketing and distribution under the trade name « Claude Meylan ».
In 2004, Eveline was appointed District Prefect for Vallée de Joux. Her daughter Carol succeeded her at the company management, supported by her experienced grandfather, whom she often still asks for professional advice.
In February 2006, « Antigone » became « MONTRES CLAUDE MEYLAN S.A. »
Well, more than 200 years after the beginnings of Watchmaking in Vallée de Joux, the collaborators of the company « Montres Claude Meylan S.A. » maintain proudly the watchmaking know-how inherited from their ancestors, Meylans and others, and are very pleased to put their skill at the disposal of their esteemed customers.
Official website: www.claudemeylan.ch