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Omnta pre 1970s?


George13
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I've inherited my mother-in-law's little art deco Omnta, which her husband bought her in Switzerland circa 1946. It would not have been expensive. I'll try to take a decent pic, but I'm as much interested in the brand.  Searches online produce several "Monta" - not what I'm after at all - and the only Omnta I get are the hefty 1970s models which appear to use the Baumgartner 866 movement. The "25" model at that time implies a 25th anniversary of the brand which would put it's foundation in the late-ish 1940s, thus making my little deco model quite an early one. I can't see it in Mikrolisk.

Does anyone have any information on this brand please?

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Dear @George13, I have done some research for you regarding your watch:

I first looked online for Omnta watches and the only examples I found  were variations of the same model - the 1970s gents' Omnta 25 De Luxe, which features a crown at the four o'clock position. Here is a gold-plated example of this model, with a 37 mm (excl. crown) case; I would say that this model is at the cheap end of Swiss watch production (pics from assets.catawiki.nl):

 

 

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Having found a few watches online, I looked again at the brand name and concluded that it was somewhat odd, and there is no mention of it on Mikrolisk. I did not believe the name was an anagram of "Monta", partly because there is only one registration for Monta in Mikrolisk, by W. Kaufmann/Fabrique Wilka of Genf, Switzerland, and that dates to November 1923 (there is also a modern, currently active, "Monta" watch brand). 

Finally, I took the word "omnta" itself and Googled it to see what similar words would come up - a left-field approach that sometimes works. Indeed, this produced the solution to the question of who produced your watch and the above-mentioned model 25 De Luxe watches. The brand name is NOT Omnta but Omnia, and I confirmed this in my mind when I re-examined the company logo on the dial of the model 25 De Luxe wristwatches. When I looked up the name "Omnia" on Mikrolisk, up came the relevant information, and we now have a likely starting date of the company that produced your ladies' watch. In 1945, the brand name "Omnia Watch De Luxe" (together with a trademark showing a similar brand logo to that on the Omnia 25 De Luxe watch dials) was registered by B. Griger-Greder of Selzach and Solothurn, Switzerland. There are two versions of the 1945 trademark, differing only in the addition of the initials "GG" to the mark in one version. The fact that the "25" mark on the Omnia 25 De Luxe watches is surrounded by a laurel wreath indicates to me that this number refers to an anniversary of the firm rather than a deliberate attempt to mislead potential customers about the number of jewels in the watch movement. 

The use of the Omnia brand name did not start with Griger-Greder and the earlier references on Mikrolisk would make for an interesting study. However, I shall not pursue that myself, at least at this juncture, and hope that the information I have managed to find out will be of interest. For a more accurate dating of your Omnia watch, we need to have pictures and more details.

 

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On 19/03/2021 at 12:09, George13 said:

I've inherited my mother-in-law's little art deco Omnta, which her husband bought her in Switzerland circa 1946. It would not have been expensive. I'll try to take a decent pic, but I'm as much interested in the brand.  Searches online produce several "Monta" - not what I'm after at all - and the only Omnta I get are the hefty 1970s models which appear to use the Baumgartner 866 movement. The "25" model at that time implies a 25th anniversary of the brand which would put it's foundation in the late-ish 1940s, thus making my little deco model quite an early one. I can't see it in Mikrolisk.

Does anyone have any information on this brand please?

Following @Always"watching"'s breakthrough, I looked up Gisiger-Grader, the company apparently behind these Omnia watches. The earliest reference is in 1916, when Grisiger-Grader, owned by Bernard Grisiger, took over the partnership Walter & Grisiger in Selzach. I've attached adverts from the trade directory Davoine for 1922 and 1946. The reference to "Roskopf" wristwatches in the second ad suggests they were using pin pallet movements even then. I can't see the registration of Omnia refered to by Mikrolisk, but it suggests the "25" attached to the 1970s watches was the anniversary of the brand, not the manufacturer.

image.png.09c36329f30d31170ab9163660696bae.pngimage.png.380600166bb7f193ef51894e200d02c8.png

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Thanks for that @spinynorman. I have corrected my spelling of "Gisiger" in my above post.

It does seem that the firm of Gisiger-Greder disappeared some time before the model 25 De Luxe watches were produced, with the "25" denoting the 25th anniversary of the brand rather than the anniversary of the company; I had wondered if Gisiger-Greder or their direct successors had succumbed to the Quartz Crisis, perhaps in the late 1970s.  

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23 minutes ago, Always"watching" said:

Thanks for that @spinynorman. I have corrected my spelling of "Gisiger" in my above post.

It does seem that the firm of Gisiger-Greder disappeared some time before the model 25 De Luxe watches were produced, with the "25" denoting the 25th anniversary of the brand rather than the anniversary of the company; I had wondered if Gisiger-Greder or their direct successors had succumbed to the Quartz Crisis, perhaps in the late 1970s.  

There was Gisiger-Greder Fils from the 1960s and still going in 1977, with this Davoine advert featuring an indistinct OMNIA trademark on the illustrated watch. I can see Gisiger-Geders Sohn AG of Selzach in liquidation in 2010, if that's the same company.

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On 21/03/2021 at 15:23, Always"watching" said:

That's a great conclusion to this brand query, dear @spinynorman. Satisfaction all-round, I would say. In previous research on other brands/companies, I have noticed that the term "in liquidation" can be used for a surprisingly long time before the final "dénouement".:biggrin:

That's very true. In this case, liquidation started in 2003, apparently due to accounting irregularities and Oct 2010 was the final deletion. I've found the registration of the plain OMNIA wordmark in 1945 and its eventual deletion in 2005. Also found GG originally registered in Oct 1965, but I can't find the registration for Omnia under/overlined, which is annoying. 

Also found this Eden "digital" watch in a Swiss newspaper from 1975.

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"Impress your neighbor ... for the price of an economical watch! By pressing the button, you get the digital time, like on an electronic LED watch. It is in fact a mechanical watch with digital display, equipped with a lighting system of the counters. But it looks like a 100% electronic watch."

(Gisiger - Greder - EDEN)

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Dear @spinynorman, sorry to bother you again but did you notice the interesting references to the "Eden" brand name/trademark on Mikrolisk?

The Eden brand is shown in pictures of three identical trademarks that cover a long period, with the third example of the same logo being registered in 1950 by Gisiger & Greder. The first registration of this trademark was by Daniel Hirsch in 1889, with the follow-on registration being in 1902, for Braunschweig & Hirsch, who are categorized specifically as watch manufacturers. Daniel Hirsch and the successor partnership Braunschweig & Hirsch were based at La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. I also  note that the brand name, "Eden-Matic", is also attributed to Gisiger-Greder.  This story has turned out to be more interesting than I thought when initially answering George's @George13 original enquiry.:)

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Many thanks for this information, following my initial query about my mother-in-law's watch. 

Jenny was gifted it by her husband during a trip to Switzerland in, I think, 1946. This was due to the fact that Tom had spent more than a year interned there as an escaped POW and wanted his new wife to meet the family he had stayed with. They all became lifelong friends, and Tom is still around, now aged 102. Jenny's watch would have been from the lower end of the market, since they had really stretched things financially just to get to Switzerland.

I'm now hitting myself on the forehead and saying "Doh!", having totally failed to pick up on the underline/overline of the Omnia mark and so reading it as "Omnta". However, the Gisiger & Greder story looks very interesting, and the company trajectory seems typical of many of the smaller Swiss manufacturers, mostly no longer with us. The under/overlined "Omnia" wordmark is definitely on this particular watch, so was in use, if not formally registered, by 1946.

Again, many thanks for your help with this.

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1 hour ago, George13 said:

I'm now hitting myself on the forehead and saying "Doh!", having totally failed to pick up on the underline/overline of the Omnia mark and so reading it as "Omnta".

You are not the only one as I also thought it was Omnta at first. I saw one for sale a couple of days and after googling the name it brought me to this thread, which set me straight. It would appear there are quite a few people confused by the name as I have seen a few advertised for sale recently as "Omnta". 

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9 hours ago, Always"watching" said:

Dear @spinynorman, sorry to bother you again but did you notice the interesting references to the "Eden" brand name/trademark on Mikrolisk?

The Eden brand is shown in pictures of three identical trademarks that cover a long period, with the third example of the same logo being registered in 1950 by Gisiger & Greder. The first registration of this trademark was by Daniel Hirsch in 1889, with the follow-on registration being in 1902, for Braunschweig & Hirsch, who are categorized specifically as watch manufacturers. Daniel Hirsch and the successor partnership Braunschweig & Hirsch were based at La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. I also  note that the brand name, "Eden-Matic", is also attributed to Gisiger-Greder.  This story has turned out to be more interesting than I thought when initially answering George's @George13 original enquiry.:)

I hadn't noticed, Honour, but it's an interesting addition to the story and I'm happy to pursue it. Unfortunately Mikrolisk isn't quite accurate about Eden. FOSC shows the pyramid (?) design was indeed registered by E. Daniel Hirsch of Chaux-de-Fonds on 22nd July 1889 for cases and movements of watches. It was transferred to "Braunschweig et Hirsch, fabricants" on 15th Jan 1891 and expired for non-renewal in July 1911. On 10th March 1902, the date Mikrolisk gives for B&H with Eden, they registered "Janus" as a wordmark and "Elli" in a circle with a crown.

The Eden trademark Gisiger-Greder registered on 25th Feb 1950, which was a plain, block capitals wordmark. That was renewed in the same form on 24th Feb 1970. Unless we can find of an example of a G-G Eden watch using the earlier design, I'd say they were unconnected.

Another interesting aside, the original Hirsch trademark had "A. Waller, Chaux-de-Fonds" written underneath. That was John-Adam Waller, of Offenbach, who ran an engraving and woodcut workshop in Chaux-de-Fonds, so I wonder if he created the design.

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