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Helvetia Watches of the 1960s & 1970s

During the 1960s and 1970s Helvetia began to struggle, along with the rest of the Swiss watch industry, eventually joining forces with other manufacturers to form the Société des Garde-Temps or SGT.

1960s Watches

At the start of the 1960s Helvetia introduced some new manual wind movements, starting with the 831 that replaced the 830. The most widely used of these movements was the Helvetia calibre 64 which was larger and thinner than previous movements reflecting the style of watches popular at this time. The Helvetia 64 along with updated versions of their automatic movements (837, 838, 844 etc.) continued in production by Helvetia through to 1968. 

During the 1960s the Swiss watch industry began to decline, with competition appearing from the far east, and it appears Helvetia was struggling to maintain its share of the market. In 1963 Helvetia replaced its logo with a more modern design and then again with a slightly redesigned version shortly after in1965. Perhaps this was an attempt to appeal to a new, younger, consumer. It also started to adopt more standardised designs and model names such as Allround, Prestige, Waterstar and Cosmotimer. 

Eventually in 1968, in an attempt to pool resources and cut costs, Helvetia, with Avia, Degoumois & Co., Silvana, Eugene Vuilleumier, William Mathez and Fleurier, became one of the founding members of Société des Garde-Temps S.A. Group (SGT) . As part of this rationalisation Helvetia stopped making its own movements that year and from then on mainly used adapted ETA movements. 

Despite these issues Helvetia carried on making some very nice watches including some interesting divers' watches with a built in depth gauge. 

1970s Watches

At the start of the 1970s Helvetia introduced updated versions of their divers’ watches of the late 1960s including the Waterstar II and a new version of their depth gauge watch the “Miami Beach" edition. 

As the decade progressed Société des Garde-Temps (SGT) continued with a process of moving and amalgamating headquarters and manufacturing facilities. For Helvetia this cumulated in 1973 when the original Helvetia Watch Co. (or Montres Helvetia), previously named The General Watch Co. (or La Generale) founded in 1895, was closed down and Silvana SA was renamed The Helvetia Watch Company to keep the Helvetia name within the SGT group. It is at about this time that the old Helvetia serial numbering system was retired and replaced with two sets of two digits signifying the year of manufacture.