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Watch hands
tell their own story

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History of the company

“A factory, a family, a purpose”

Founded in 1890 by Louis-Georges Bovet at 11, Chemin de Comba-Borel, in Neuchâtel, the company was taken over on 1st June 1916 by Lucien Girard, who ran it until 1936. During those twenty years Lucien Girard suffered many setbacks and the company was on the verge of bankruptcy when the Girardin family acquired it in 1936.

Tireless efforts were needed to steady the tiller: amidst the work of rebuilding tools, improving manufacturing processes and training qualified personnel, the new owner had to play the role of technician, businessman and salesman at the same time.

Having started with five workers, Aiguilla currently employs around 170 people.

We have moved on from the modest quarters of those early days at Chemin du Clos. As a result of nearly eight decades of work the firm now occupies a wonderful factory surrounded by magnificent parkland.

To allow the story to continue, substantial investments have been made to develop and modernize the company.


Manufacture

Manufacture

Fernand Girardin, Founder

Fernand Girardin, fondateur
Adrian Girardin, directeur technique

Adrien Girardin, Technical Director

Pierre Girardin, président

Pierre Girardin, President

History of the watch hand

The watch hand preceded the watch. As far back as Neolithic times (6000 BC-2500 BC) man measured days and years by means of the shadow cast by a raised stone. This gave an approximate indication of the time. But man's inventive mind did not remain content with this rudimentary method: he transformed the stone into a slender needle: the Egyptian obelisk, forerunner of the sundial.

Much later came the clepsydra or water-clock of the ancients, the predecessor of instruments for measuring time, which featured one of the very first "watch hands".

In the 14th century, clock towers with a single hand indicating the hour were operated by a system of weights. Much progress was made in the 15th century, which saw the advent of the spring as motive power.

Finally it was in the 16th century that the first watches were developed, albeit with only an hour hand on the watch face. In 1691, the minute hand made its appearance. In those days, the production of hands was a manual task. They were cut with a saw from a strip of metal, laminated for thickness and then filed to the desired shape. A single pair of hands required two days’ hard work. In 1812 the first watch hands factory was established, the firm of Wagnon Frères in Geneva.

At the dawn of the 19th century around sixty watch hand factories were operating. However the modernization of equipment, in addition to other factors, gradually reduced their number and today barely a dozen remain in existence.

History of the company

“A factory, a family, a purpose”

Founded in 1890 by Louis-Georges Bovet at 11, Chemin de Comba-Borel, in Neuchâtel, the company was taken over on 1st June 1916 by Lucien Girard, who ran it until 1936. During those twenty years Lucien Girard suffered many setbacks and the company was on the verge of bankruptcy when the Girardin family acquired it in 1936.

Tireless efforts were needed to steady the tiller: amidst the work of rebuilding tools, improving manufacturing processes and training qualified personnel, the new owner had to play the role of technician, businessman and salesman at the same time.

Having started with five workers, Aiguilla currently employs around 170 people.

We have moved on from the modest quarters of those early days at Chemin du Clos. As a result of nearly eight decades of work the firm now occupies a wonderful factory surrounded by magnificent parkland.

To allow the story to continue, substantial investments have been made to develop and modernize the company.

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History of the watch hand

The watch hand preceded the watch. As far back as Neolithic times (6000 BC-2500 BC) man measured days and years by means of the shadow cast by a raised stone. This gave an approximate indication of the time. But man's inventive mind did not remain content with this rudimentary method: he transformed the stone into a slender needle: the Egyptian obelisk, forerunner of the sundial.

Much later came the clepsydra or water-clock of the ancients, the predecessor of instruments for measuring time, which featured one of the very first "watch hands".

In the 14th century, clock towers with a single hand indicating the hour were operated by a system of weights. Much progress was made in the 15th century, which saw the advent of the spring as motive power.

Finally it was in the 16th century that the first watches were developed, albeit with only an hour hand on the watch face. In 1691, the minute hand made its appearance. In those days, the production of hands was a manual task. They were cut with a saw from a strip of metal, laminated for thickness and then filed to the desired shape. A single pair of hands required two days’ hard work. In 1812 the first watch hands factory was established, the firm of Wagnon Frères in Geneva.

At the dawn of the 19th century around sixty watch hand factories were operating. However the modernization of equipment, in addition to other factors, gradually reduced their number and today barely a dozen remain in existence.

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Contact

Aiguilla SA

Rue du Coteau 10
CH 2500 Bienne 4

Tél: +41 (0) 32 344 65 65
Fax: +41 (0) 32 344 65 66

info@aiguilla.ch

Baselworld

23 to 30 March 2017
Halle 2.2 -Stand C23

www.baselworld.com

Job opportunities

Please refer to french version

Aiguilla SA, Ressources Humaines, Rue du Coteau 10, 2500 Bienne 4
administration@aiguilla.ch

Information

Annual closures:

Monday 26 December 2016 to Friday 6 January 2017

Friday 14 July to Friday 4 August 2017

Contact

Aiguilla SA

Rue du Coteau 10
CH 2500 Bienne 4

Tél: +41 (0) 32 344 65 65
Fax: +41 (0) 32 344 65 66

info@aiguilla.ch

Baselworld

23 to 30 March 2017
Halle 2.2 -Stand C23

www.baselworld.com

Job opportunities

Please refer to french version

Aiguilla SA, Ressources Humaines, Rue du Coteau 10, 2500 Bienne 4
administration@aiguilla.ch

Information

Annual closures:

Monday 26 December 2016 to Friday 6 January 2017

Friday 14 July to Friday 4 August 2017

Development

The production of high quality hands for which Aiguilla SA is renowned requires no fewer than 15 to 20 operations per hand, from the construction of tooling and preparation of materials to the placing of finished hands on cards for delivery.

Design of tooling

All tools used to manufacture a hand are designed and constructed in Aiguilla's machine workshop. Because machine builders have not always been able to keep pace with the technical demands of high quality hand manufacturing, Aiguilla SA produced its own machines and continues to develop them today.

Manufacture of the hand

Our hands, made of brass, steel or gold – most with a diamond-finished surface – meet the very highest quality requirements and adorn the timepieces of the most prestigious brands.

The hands are placed one by one, with tweezers, on traditional small cards and inserted under slender loops to hold them in place. This final task is a meticulous operation carried out by hand which has never been replaced by an automated process.

Finished product

The Aiguilla SA collection contains more than ten thousand models. But since each one corresponds to a specific request from our clients, this figure in fact is closer to several million distinct profiles.

Development

The production of high quality hands for which Aiguilla SA is renowned requires no fewer than 15 to 20 operations per hand, from the construction of tooling and preparation of materials to the placing of finished hands on cards for delivery.


Click to view the video

Design of tooling

All tools used to manufacture a hand are designed and constructed in Aiguilla's machine workshop. Because machine builders have not always been able to keep pace with the technical demands of high quality hand manufacturing, Aiguilla SA produced its own machines and continues to develop them today.

Click to view the video

Manufacture of the hand

Our hands, made of brass, steel or gold – most with a diamond-finished surface – meet the very highest quality requirements and adorn the timepieces of the most prestigious brands.

The hands are placed one by one, with tweezers, on traditional small cards and inserted under slender loops to hold them in place. This final task is a meticulous operation carried out by hand which has never been replaced by an automated process.

Click to view the video

Finished product

The Aiguilla SA collection contains more than ten thousand models. But since each one corresponds to a specific request from our clients, this figure in fact is closer to several million distinct profiles.

Click to view the video