Cortebert is most definitely one of the more interesting watches that you can buy. The company started off life as a parts manufacturer for pocket watches back in 1790. Its creator was Abraham Louis Juillard and the company continued making parts for the next 90 years or so when, in around 1880 they decided to start the manufacture of complete watches as there appeared to be more profit to be gained.
By this time of course, Abraham's descendants had taken over the running of the company. Most of Cortebert's watches were fairly plain in design, but they also made complicated watches too, like chronographs, calendars and moon phase movements. By the early 1920s, the company was making some quite advanced watches for the year. The fashion around this time was for ultra-thin movements, and they delivered these to the market with an elegant range of watches.
Although they concentrated on pocket watches, by the early 1900s, wrist watches were beginning to gradually take over the majority of output from the Cortebert factory. Poland used their pocket watch as their official watch on the Polish Railway and after other countries saw the success of their timepieces, Turkey, Serbia and Egypt also decided that they should use Cortebert watches as their official railway timepieces.
During the Second World War, both the Germans and British used their watches for their troops. At their most successful period, they were producing 22 calibers of watch movements which also including railway watches. The Company does seem to have had great success with their railway watches, and this was recognized by the well known and respected railway watch maker, Hamilton, who bought a special railway designated movement from them.
The company unfortunately couldn't survive the electronic revolution in watches, and went into liquidation after 100 years of production.
For the collector, these watches still turn up on eBay quite regularly. There are some real gems amongst them and at quite ridiculously low prices. Look out for the chronographs and any complicated watch would be worth a look too. Anyone interested in military watches should put Cortebert on their list as a definite collectible watch.
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