History of Gallet

written by YWH team 1 January 2016
History of Gallet
History of Gallet
From: 1466 (but officially founded in 1826)
Founding place: La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Founded by: Julien Gallet
Current headquarters: Zollikon-Zürich, Switzerland
Owned by: Privately held
Official name: Gallet & Co.

The history of Gallet starts in the 15th century. ‘Since 1466 Gallet was there’, Gallet’s website claims, but they do not claim to be the oldest watchmaker. Which they probably would have done officially if only there would have been a company with that name, back in 1466. But there wasn’t.

However, there is evidence that several Gallet family members were making clocks and/or watches. And several of these clocks and/or watches were branded with the name of the family patriarch: Gallet. On the 18th of April 1466, Humbertus Gallet, living and working in Geneva, becomes a citizen of the republic of Switzerland. Historical references point to his profession as a horologer or clock maker. He probably didn’t make watches as the oldest watch in the world is possibly from 1505 (or 1510, or 1530).

Although the history of Gallet might go back to 1466 is was founded in 1826

Today Gallet only claims that ‘Gallet is universally recognized as the “Maître du Chronographe” or Master of the Chronograph’. It wasn’t until 1826 that the company’s name was registered by Julien Gallet. It was called Gallet & Cie and he made this registration only because the law in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where he had his business, told him so. So, can we say this is the oldest watch brand? Not really and yes, a bit. It is, if the evidence is there, possibly the oldest family of watchmakers.

The full list of oldest watch brands in the world might interest you…

Timeline of the history of Gallet:

1826 – Gallet & Cie Founded
1896 – First Wristwatch Production
1914-1918 – Gallet becomes a significant supplier of military watches to various armed forces during World War I
1930s – Gallet gains renown for its MultiChron line, pioneering the production of multi-button chronograph wristwatches
1939-1945 – Gallet actively contributes watches to Allied forces during World War II
1960s – Gallet’s watches are chosen for use in space missions, including NASA’s Skylab program
1990s – Gallet undergoes changes in ownership and management during a period of transition in the watch industry

Today the brand seems to be inactive although there is still an active website. Very old, but it works.