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A visit to the Zodiac factory in 1966

Started by Grossisten, October 29, 2021, 03:52:03 AM


I was doing some research and came across this photo in a Swiss library.

It is stored with a text saying: "Effervescence lors d'une visite dans la fabrique Zodiac au Locle. Au centre : M. Andersen agent général de Zodiac au Danemark et M. Pierre Calame directeur, entourés d'employés et de visiteurs." In my translation that means: "High spirits during a visit to the Zodiac factory in Le Locle. In the middle: Mr. Andersen general agent for Zodiac in Denmark and Mr. Pierre Calame, director, surrounded by employees and visitors." The photo is dated to 1966 (but with an added question mark).

I know this photo well, we used to have a copy in a family album: Mr. Andersen was my father, of the two men in suits he is to the left in the picture.

He organized trips for Danish watchmakers to the factory when new technologies or movements were launched. The party would travel by train, my father could book an entire sleeping car since the interest was high in this type of trip and it would be a mix of training, marketing and sightseeing. 1966 was the year Zodiac inaugurated their newest factory building and I seem to remember reading somewhere that it was dedicated to their new line of electronic watches (the Spacetronic I believe) - a predecessor to the quartz technology just about to be introduced. This might have been what they came to study in the event depicted in that photo.

Its a cool scene from inside the Zodiac factory in its heyday in my opinion, so I thought I would share it. What do you guys think?


Thanks again for this added insight into Zodiac history. Your perseverance AND sharing is truly appreciated Sir!
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Thanks Butch - I'm happy that its appreciated. No better audience for this type of stories than the one present here, I guess.

Just today further details were added as I went to my watchmaker to pick up three Zodiacs from service. I showed him this image and he immediately replied: "Oh, I remember that, I took part in one of those visits." He confirmed that the introduction of Spacetronic was most likely the purpose of the visit explaining how this new technology was unknown to watchmakers and no training was offered but at the factories. This training was absolutely necessary for them in other words. They paid a symbolic amount to take part but the whole thing was sponsored by Zodiac who also "wined and dined" them, so it was quite the experience. He added that the 20 hour train journey was a small adventure in its own right, particularly when changing trains at Hamburg, Germany with only a 5 minute window. Apparently my father had commanded the rather large party like an old school drill sergeant to ensure everyone made it aboard the sleeping car.

The watchmaker continued with an anecdote about booming Christmas sales, how the shop he worked at ran out of Zodiacs on December 17th one year. The owner decided to jump in his car and drive the 15K down to my fathers business to pick up some more (this was very unusual) and almost cleared his stock. Which my father was hesitant to accept. I asked the watchmaker if it was perhaps the year the shop put this (see the attached picture) in the local paper - and sure thing this was their regular Christmas ad. Its the only Danish Zodiac ad I have a photo of, so thats quite the coincidence.... 

So there you have it, another Zodiac anecdote. Hopefully there are more to come.


In the same round of research that lead to finding the first picture a few links to local Swiss papers also came up. This interesting notification was found on one of the pages of L'Impartial from 20th August 1957:

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