Tavannes Watch Co. becomes a partner of the 17th Festival du Film Francophone d’Helvétie, Bienne

The 17th Helvetia Francophone Film Festival Switzerland with be organised from 15th to 19th September this year. Tavannes Watch Co. is a partner of this event. The actors Nathalie Baye and Bernard Campan (Les Inconnus), two of the official Guests in Biel will go back home with a Tavannes watch on their wrist.

Since its beginnings in Biel 17 years ago, the Festival du Film Francophone d’Helvétie (FFFH), has offered its radiance to the movie French-speaking world. Built on a visionary celebration of the diffusion of the French language culture in German-speaking areas, this event has received more than 500 guests from the film industry since it was launched.

Tavannes Watch Co. becomes a partner of the 17th Festival du Film Francophone d'Helvétie, Bienne

At the helm is Christian Kellenberger, cofounder and director of the Festival. He is the guardian of values that favor local production, proximity to the participants and the promotion of Swiss cinema.

And a festival director’s love affair with Tavannes Watch Co couldn’t have come at a better time. Because in the team of Florin Niculescu, a great watchmaking professional and owner of what was certainly the most mythical brand in Swiss watchmaking, people often think about scripts: there is not only this famous antique cinema, not far from the premises of the former Manufacture, which is still standing upright and full of liveliness in the middle of Tavannes, part of the Swiss Jura.

But above all, there are these incredible images of a horological past that, if brought to the silver screen, could captivate new generations: such as the poem that the writer Colette wrote about “La Captive”, her mysterious Tavannes watch, such as this golf watch manufactured for the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, or such as these two English submariners who, thanks to their specific requirements, enabled Tavannes Watch Co to be at the origin of the very first waterproof watch in the history of watchmaking.

While the Festival has multiplied its convivial events, such as the opening day dedicated to children, as well as the screening venues spread throughout the city, especially on the waterfront with the evening broadcast of the 5 short films in competition in the découverte section, the Tavannes Watch Co brand is pursuing its authenticity quest by focusing on the sharing of knowledge.

With its five production sites able to manufacture up to 4,000 watches per day, the company that filed patents whose historical benefits were sometimes credited to its clients, is working to supply its worldwide markets while introducing new collections in tune with the current times. Like the Buggy model, a joint development with design students. As well as the iconic Submarine’s return to the top tier.

Tavannes Watch Co. La Captive Belt-Watch

In the beginning of the last century, Edward VIII, Prince of Whales, King of the United Kingdom, and the Dominions of the British Empire, Emperor of India. He was the dandy of the royal family and a big golf enthusiast, which is why he asked Tavannes Watch Co. to create a dedicated golf watch. This watch could be neither a wrist nor a pocket watch as it would disturb the fluidity of the swing.

As watches of this era did not have a shock proof system, it was also more protected in the belt. It is this specific demand that led Tavannes’s engineers to put the watch inside the belt buckle. Thus, in 1928 the concept of the Belt-Watch was born. The original watch was sold by Hermes and Dunhill.

In 2019 Tavannes Watch Co. commemorates its history by creating a new Belt-Watch concept that combines two old and iconic products of the brand:
– The Belt-Watch – Golfing belt with a watch
– The Captive – An art deco style ‘purse watch’ that has an interchangeable watch unit

La Captive Belt-Watch is a removable watch unit, which is held inside a belt buckle. The distinctive originality of this product is the fact that the watch can be taken off the buckle and put in another device, such as a wrist strap to become a wrist watch or a desk device to become a small clock.

The concept is to offer the Belt-Watch users an evolving product with interchangeable pieces. With time there will be the possibility to have different buckles that can go with different watch units, different leather and other new devices. Everything will be interchangeable.

The new Belt-Watch is larger than the original one, as during the last century the width of the belts has became wider. Consequently, titanium was the metal chosen for the buckle and watch case in order to attain a desirable weight. The buckle unit of the Belt-Watch can also be worn without the watch unit.

The belt of the Belt-Watch is made of the finest leather and worked by the best craftsmen. The belt is held on a pivot to fit perfectly the shape of the hip and prevent deformations of the belt. The leather belt of La Captive is made to be very easily changed with no special tool required. This leads to the possibility to change at any time the color of the belt in order to match the clothing.

The belt and buckle are made to facilitate the removal of the leather and the adjustment of its length.

The uniqueness of the product is its removable watch unit, that can is interchangeable between different devices; making it become a belt-watch, a wrist watch or a small desk clock.

Technical details

Movement: ETA 2824 STD / SW200
Swiss Made Automatic Movement- Date quantième, hours, minutes and Sweep second display in the center – Ball bearing self-winding system and corrector – Stop second device – Regulator system ETACHRON with regulator corrector
Buckle: Sandblasted Titanium – Smooth, Lined or Clou de Paris
Dial: White with powder grey Arabic indexes or Black with silver Arabic indexes
Belt: Calf or young bull leather – 3 colors available
Glass: Sapphire Crystal with antireflective coating
Water resistance: 3 ATM, 30m, 100ft

Tavannes Watch Co. Submarine Commander 1917

The Submarine Commander 1917 watch from the Tavannes Watch Co. pays tribute to a historical watch model launched during the First World War.

During World War I, the Tavannes Watch Company was approached by the British Navy to develop a specific watch for the use of their submarine officers. The watch had to respond to the following technical requirements, unavailable during this time period:-

  • Water resistance: High moisture levels in submarines
  • High pressure resistance: Extremely high pressure level underwater
  • Anti-magnetic: Large magnetic engines in submarines
  • Sturdiness on the wrist: Requirements by the British Navy
  • Maximum legibility day/night: Low lighting in submarines

The Submarine Commander is the first water resistant watch, sold since 1917 and was created for the British Navy in 1915.


100 years later Tavannes Watch Co created a new modernized edition of this legendary watch, keeping all the key elements of the original one.

Historic requirements of the British Navy are gathered in this new Submarine Commander, both in functional and in aesthetic criteria.

This timepiece features a three-piece water resistant construction with screw back, screw-down crown, and screw bezel. Knurling on the case back and bezel offers better gripping of screwed parts. The watch boasts a water resistance of 10 ATM or 100m/330ft.

The watch boasts commemorative engravings for the 100 years of the first Submarine Commander on the inner crystal flange and the back case. Adding aesthetic beauty to the watch the red gaskets on the crown and crystal are also wear indicators for internal gaskets. When gasket’s color fades to pink it is time to service the watch. All gaskets should be replaced.

The Submarine Commander 1917 watch boasts a black dial featuring large white Arabic Numerals for easy time reading with good visibility of the elements. The wide and differentiated hands provide maximum surface area for SuperLuminova and optimal distinction of hours and minutes. Second, 12 and Tavannes logo in red refers to the historic aesthetic codes of the brand. The colored gaskets act as wear indicators.

As its military ancestor, the new Submarine Commander has welded lugs and a one piece NATO band. These features are consistent with wear sturdiness criteria originally demanded by the British Royal Navy:-

  • Welded lugs in the shape of handles
  • No spring bar that can jump
  • One piece NATO Bracelet
  • Wide adjustment range
  • Maximum resistance to tearing
  • Easy change without disassembly

This type of band, first made of leather was named G-10 according to the reference of the G10-98 form that was used by the military to order them. It was nicknamed “NATO” by a general consensus, referring to NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In addition to its robustness the NATO TAVANNES band is designed to be adapted to all sizes. Its 15- holes adjustment range can fit from the smallest to the largest wrist.

Another benefit of using a TAVANNES NATO band is the possibility to change straps in less than one minute without a tool. You can wear a nylon strap to work out and change it to a leather strap for abusiness appointment in seconds.

The new Submarine Commander was designed to commemorate its predecessor released 100 years earlier, for two British Submarine Commanders. For this reason the Submarine Commander includes several commemorative features.

Technical details

ETA 2824 STD / SW200
Swiss Made Automatic Movement- Date quantième, hours, minutes and Sweep second display in the center – Ball bearing self-winding system and corrector – Stop second device –
Regulator system ETACHRON with regulator corrector

Biocompatible stainless steel
Size: 41mm
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective treatment
Water resistance: 10 ATM, 100m, 330ft – Suitable for swimming and snorkeling but NOT suitable for sub-aqua diving

Two finishes available
– Polished steel Faithful to its ancestry
– PVD matte black Pushes the concept of a stealthy military watch (PVD = Physical Vapor Deposition)

– Nylon braided black and red
– Nylon braided black
– Black lamb leather
– Brown lamb leather

Black – SuperLuminova Indexes

Large Arabic Numerals
– Easy time reading
– Good visibility of the elements
Wide and differentiated hands
– Maximum surface area for SuperLuminova
– Optimal distinction of hours and minutes
Second, 12 and Tavannes logo in red
– Refers to the historic aesthetic codes of the brand
Colored gaskets as wear indicators
– Whitening of the elements through time
– Whitened gasket = need to service the watch
TW black lacquered pattern
– Brings depth to the dial without disturbing reading
White Arabic numerals on black background
– Optimal reading contrast
– Easy time reading
12 dial index in red on a small 1920’s Tavannes Watch

References and price
Ref. Number TA A07.111/ST02: Price USD 2500
Ref. Number TA A07.111/ST02LTD: 100th Anniversary Limited Edition – 100 pieces. Price USD 1995. Now sold out.
Ref. Number: TA A07.111/STBP02: Black Edition. Price USD 2750

Tavannes Watch Co.

Tavannes Watch Co. is a Swiss watch brand with a rich heritage that dates back to 1890s. The brand was established in 1891 by Henri-Frédéric Sandoz in Tavannes in Switzerland. In 2008, the Tavannes Watch Co. brand was re-launched by Florin Niculescu and his wife Sandra Maria Niculescu.


1891: In 1891 a young, talented master watchmaker, Henri-Frédéric Sandoz, founded the Tavannes Watch Company in a small Swiss village, Tavannes, in the Jura Mountains. He and his partners, who were rich fabric merchants, soon opened markets around the world, notably in Canada, Russia, United States, and the Far East.

1902: It was during this time that watches were becoming popular. Industrialization and the expansion of the railroad system made a standardized time necessary. The United Kingdom, in 1884, set its time to Greenwich Mean Time and it really established the watch business as we know it today.

1903: At the beginning of the new century, The Tavannes Watch Company had to expand and build a new factory.

1905: By 1905, the 750 employees produced 450’000 watches and the production grew very fast to reach 750’000 pieces made by 950 employees in 1909.

1910: Thanks to its constant innovation, Tavannes Watch Co won the Gold Medal at the Grand Prix de Bruxelles in 1910.

1915: The company’s 20th-century product range naturally included wristwatches of the most diverse character for example the shock-proof models with a protective cover over the fragile crystal glasses that were issued to soldiers in 1915.

1923: Henri-Frédéric Sandoz visits to American manufacturers inspired him, and he was the first to create machine tools exclusively for the Swiss watch industry. Tavannes became an important Swiss watch company because of his engineering abilities.

1930: At the end of the twenties and beginning of the thirties, Tavannes Watch Co created new kind of watches like “La Captive” or the Belt-Watch, which consisted of completely new concepts at that time. These were followed by “waterproof” wristwatches, as well as wrist-chronographs equipped with Valjoux movements.

1938: In half a century, Tavannes built five factories in Switzerland, and became the fourth largest watch manufacturer in the world. At that time they employed over 2,000 skilled watchmakers and produced over 4,000 watches a day.

1940: A huge fire destroyed several buildings of the factory as well as most of the archives.

1943: In 1943 the company launched its first automatic movement, the caliber 420, with a swinging arm winding in one direction. This movement was fitted into the square cased « Watersport » model, for example. The Tavannes Watch Co Distributor Network was based out of the whole world.

1950: With over 300 patents obtained for mechanical and automatic timepieces, Tavannes was producing movements for most of the famous Swiss brands. Many of these innovations are still used today.

1955-1957: Around 1957, the “Autorotor” self-winding caliber 485 was launched. It’s now a collector’s item.

1966: In 1966, Tavannes Ebauches SA continued to sell movements to other watch brands until 1982 and then concentrated in the production of specialized numeric command machines (Tavannes machines) for the watch industry.

2006: Florin Niculescu began his career in 1995, and in 2000 he enters watchmaking at Vandôme Luxury Group. His entrepreneurial side pushes him towards an independent brand, the opportunity comes in 2002 with CYMA in Le Locle. He takes the sales and technical management of the Locloise brand. Following the acquisition of its US agent in 2005, CYMA’s main market, it is to move to New York with his family in 2006 to run CYMA USA. It is during these years that Florin Niculescu discovers the incredible story of Tavannes Watch Co, manufacture which has been producing watches for decades, among others for CYMA, two brands belonged to the same owner, Claude Guilgot. In 2006, Florin and Sandra Niculescu acquire the rights to Tavannes Watch.

2008: Rebirth of the Tavannes Watch Co, which comes back with a new generation of watches, greater, more reliable and more perfect. Several collections, limited editions as well as a few rare unique pieces.

2015: French-Italian Industrial Designer and Sculptor Nicolas R. Jeanson Milazzo becomes the Tavannes Watch Co. Chief Design Officer.

2016: COSC Certified

2017: The Submarine Commander Collection, the revival of the first advertised waterproof watch of Tavannes Watch Co in 1917.

2018: La Captive, the New Belt Watch is about to take shape. New design, new materials, new technology will make it possible for this timepiece to be worn as a wrist watch, golf belt watch, as well as a desk watch all inspired by the history of this timepiece.

Official website: https://www.tavanneswatches.com/