Buren is not, as one might think, the name of the person who started the company in 1842, but instead the name of the small town, in the West of Switzerland, set on the River Aare. The people behind the name were F. Suter & Co, who set up the company to manufacture pocket watch movements.
Although the company did find some success in Switzerland, it was in 1898 that an Englishman by the name of H. Williamson. His company, H. Williamson Ltd of London, took control but did not remove the manufacture of watch movements from the Swiss company. The English company acted in a sort of "caretaker" role for the next 30 years, when the stock market crash dealt them a critical blow.
After the crash, Buren passed back into Swiss hands, and under the new ownership a more innovative approach brought the invention of the mini-rotor which enabled automatic watches to be made much thinner, more aesthetically pleasing as well as lighter and easier to wear.
Their famous and popular "Super Slender" models proved a hit with watch buyers as they were extremely thin for the time.
In 1966 the company once again changed hands, this time the giant Hamilton Watch Co taking control. Hamilton had their own plans, and with the introduction of the self-winding chronograph movement, innovation was back on the table. Hamilton produced watches in the Buren name for the next five years, when the Hamilton brand was bought by the SSIH Group of companies.
Unfortunately the SSIH Group did not see any future value in Buren, and the company formally filed for liquidation proceedings in 1972.
For the collector Buren represents a very cheap way of entering the antique watch collecting arena. Some of their ultra-thin movements, the calibers 1000 and 1001 can still be picked up reasonably cheaply, as well as any number of genuine antique pocket watches and watches.
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