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Helvetia Watches of the 1940s & 1950s

Following the war Helvetia's wartime production was funnelled into its civilian watches, including some of their most interesting watches.

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1940s Watches

During WW2 much of Helvetia’s manufacturing capacity was given over to the manufacture of military watches for both axis and allied countries. You can read more here about Helvetia’s WW2 German, American, British GSTP and Royal Navy Admiralty military watches.

Helvetia’s civilian watches also evolved during the war years. They moved from specialising in smaller waterproof and shockproof sports watches during the 1930s to a range of larger dress watches with chrome plated and solid gold cases via some interesting wartime watches.

Some of Helvetia’s nicest looking watches date from the immediate post war period. It appears that Helvetia increased production rapidly during the war to meet the demands of the military and this capacity was funnelled into the production of civilian watches post war.

As well as producing dress watches Helvetia also continued to manufacture military style watches as they were popular with the many ex-servicemen about at this time. They continued to provide these military style watches using their ‘3190’ waterproof screw back case, that had been used for military watches during the war, though mainly in a smaller 30mm version which was renamed ‘3190 P 30’.

At the end of the war they also introduced their calibre 800C centre seconds movement which replaced the calibre 820 of the war years.

By this time almost all of the watches of The General Watch Company were sold under the Helvetia brand name and in 1948 the company officially changed its name to Montres Helvetia or The Helvetia Watch Company.

1950s Watches

The 1950s saw a range of movements being developed by Helvetia. Firstly in approximately 1952 they produced a thinner central seconds movement; the calibre 830. The first watches to use this movement were very distinctive with large, applied, indices filled with lots of luminous compound. Despite these new movements some of Helvetia's earlier movements continued to be used, now fitted with Incabloc shock protection replacing Helvetia's own version.