Minerva Watch

In 1858 Charles-Yvan Robert and Hyppolite Robert of Villeret began what later became the Minerva watch brand. Their company was initially an “établisseurs” of watches, an assembler of watches from parts manufactured elsewhere. It wasn’t until 1902, under the leadership of C. Robert’s sons, Charles-Auguste and Georges-Louis, that Minerva watch became a “manufacture” of watches — a watchmaker that designed and manufactured the most critical parts, such as the movement blank, in their own engineering workshops.

The earliest Minerva watch sans-serif Helvetica, was manufactured in 1909, but the watch company’s greatest success came in 1923 with the introduction the No. 20, a calibre that perfectly illustrates the classic and refined architecture of wrist chronographs of that era, with a column-wheel mechanism, a Breguet balance-spring and 17 jewels. With the launch of this watch, the company earned its reputation as a manufacturer of complicated movements of exceptional quality.

In 1936, Minerva was responsible for time-keeping in the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and in the years after WWII, developed a full range of mechanical movements, complemented by automatic movements made by Ebauches S.A. In 1983, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary with the introduction of an electronic master clock, the MCT 125, which sustained and commemorated the spirit and tradition of the master watchmakers of bygone eras.

In 1988, Minerva produced the “Tablier” watch, one of the most aesthetically subtle creations in the history of watchmaking, followed by the most complex watch ever made by Minerva. Based upon the classic No. 20 chronograph movement, the company added a full analog calendar and a “negative” type moon phase indicator. A laurel wreath (symbol of the Roman Goddess of Wisdom, Minerva) was engraved upon its gold bezel and it was produced in a limited series of 50. The “Palladio” was introduced in 1991, an original mechanism for rapid-setting of a second time zone, fitted on an automatic chronograph with a chronometer certificate.

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