Be an informed Zodiac Collector. Check out the Vintage Zodiac Catalogs Website

Author Topic: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments  (Read 1230 times)

Offline YuriyV

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 470
Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« on: November 29, 2020, 03:26:03 pm »
At the moment, I live in Le Locle. And, of course, my first tourist attraction in the area was the former Zodiac building.
According to what I see, the complex was completely renovated in and out and going to be converted to apartment building.
Fortunately they preserved its historic look as well as company logo on its facade "Montres Zodiac Watches". So it will remain authentic for many decades to come.
I was not able to get inside. The building is still closed.

Offline Butch

  • My postings are my personal opinons based on 25+ years of collecting Zodiacs and the reference materials in my possession.
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3246
  • Butch@VintageZodiacs.com
    • Zodiac Watch Research
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2020, 08:41:28 am »
Thanks for this update Yuri!

 :shakinghands
Collecting Zodiacs is not for the meek; be an educated collector.
Click below to see our subscription service and support the web sites.



Offline Grossisten

  • VZ TEAM
  • ***
  • Posts: 78
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2020, 09:06:44 am »
You LIVE there? Wow - are you taking watchmaking classes?

I saw the building at an earlier stage of the renovation a year and a half ago. Looks very different now.

Le Locle is pretty in the summer, but rather quiet. I'm sure you are familiar with all the sights, if not I have a few tips.

Enjoy your stay!

Oh - and if you can locate the former buildings housing the Zodiac factory (ie before moving into the building in your pictures) it would be fun to see a few shots. I didn't have the time to seek it out when I was there.

Offline Cobber

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 317
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2020, 12:47:22 pm »
Wow, exciting news Yuri!!

Let us know if you're able to establish some sort or relationship with a member of the Calame family or former employee.  Would love to see a line of communication open up.  Possibly answer some nagging questions.

Good luck on your journey.

Offline YuriyV

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 470
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2020, 01:58:02 pm »
Wow - are you taking watchmaking classes?

Yes, I study in watchmaking school.

I'm sure you are familiar with all the sights, if not I have a few tips.
Yes, please, any input welcome.

Oh - and if you can locate the former buildings housing the Zodiac factory (ie before moving into the building in your pictures) it would be fun to see a few shots.
It is in my list. I have plans to contact DIXI as well. But all of this COVID situation as well as a corporate restrictions could not make it easier.

Let us know if you're able to establish some sort or relationship with a member of the Calame family or former employee.  Would love to see a line of communication open up.  Possibly answer some nagging questions.

Definitely will try. But I so far I see that now people here know nothing about Zodiac, except may be it existed.

Offline Butch

  • My postings are my personal opinons based on 25+ years of collecting Zodiacs and the reference materials in my possession.
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3246
  • Butch@VintageZodiacs.com
    • Zodiac Watch Research
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2020, 02:06:28 pm »
Definitely will try. But I so far I see that now people here know nothing about Zodiac, except may be it existed.

40+ years is a long time Yuri. May have to try the retirement homes.
Collecting Zodiacs is not for the meek; be an educated collector.
Click below to see our subscription service and support the web sites.



Offline Grossisten

  • VZ TEAM
  • ***
  • Posts: 78
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2020, 03:19:24 am »
Here is some info on the Calame family:

Rene Calame former CEO is long deceased. He and his wife lived near the Lake of Neuchatel, I think, BIG house, almost a small palace it seemed at least to me when I was 8. He had at least one son (not sure about daughters), Pierre Calame. Pierre was the CEO when Zodiac was sold to Dixi, he left Le Locle for another part of Switzerland (Zürich perhaps) and became a psychologist (he studied this as well as topics related to watchmaking). He may still be alive. Pierre had children, 2 or 3 they must be around 60 years now, most likely they are also long gone from Le Locle. It must have been a terrible blow letting go of the factory, I'm sure they felt no need to hang around. The same goes for a large number of people employed in the industry - I think something like 40% of the population moved away as there were no jobs. Its not called the Quartz Crisis in this region. its called LA CRISE, THE crisis.

Maurice Calame was René's brother and took over as CEO when René passed away. He is also deceased many years ago, he was a good friend of my fathers, so it was a big loss. His wife must have passed too, I'm sure. They lived near Neuchatel with a view of the lake.

Perhaps Zenith can be of help regarding former employees - they did take over production of Zodiac and perhaps some staff too even if Dixi was the owner (of both companies).

Sights:
1) The watch museum in La Chaux de Fonds is a must (after COVID perhaps).
2) The watch museum in Le Locle in Chateaux des Monts (nice walk up the hill), former home of the Doxa founder.
3) Lac des Brenets. You can take a tour boat to the waterfall. Nice in summer. You can even hike over the mountain (up past the Zodiac factory) and take the train or bus back to Le Locle. Nice outing in spring or summer, perhaps also now.
4) Guided tour of Zenith (must be reserved). This one I have not tried yet.
5) Omega has a museum in Biel. I haven't tried this one either.
6) Longines has a museum... (google it, its in a not so far away valley, you may need a car)
7) The vue des Alpes pass - stunning view on clear days.
8) The outdoor swimming pool (in summer) - a 20 minute walk from the city centre up the mountain, you'll pass by Tissot on the way. Nice spacious grounds perfect for relaxing.
9) The underground mills at Col des Roches (although I've never been there, so I cannot rate it).
10) Restaurant Chez Sandro next to the station. The Calames would often take my father there for business dinners. Expensive though. But its Switzerland, so you already know.....
11) Skiing, cycling, mountain biking, hiking. The Jura is a hidden gem seeing few tourists except Swiss.

Offline Grossisten

  • VZ TEAM
  • ***
  • Posts: 78
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2020, 03:34:03 am »
I forgot one sight: There is a walking route in town taking you past important horology related sites. I think it starts at the post-office.

Offline Grossisten

  • VZ TEAM
  • ***
  • Posts: 78
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2020, 05:17:21 am »
My final tip: Danish fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen (The little Mermaid) visited Le Locle and stayed for longer periods of time and wrote at least one fairytale there. He stayed among others with the well known Jürgensen family (an important name in Horology, check out Jules Jurgensen watches and Urban Jurgensen), who were Danes working in Le Locle. There is a plaque on the house in question and perhaps even a street named after him. Its in the centre, which is rather small, you should be able to locate it. As a side story, visiting Le Locle with the Andersen family name in the 70'ies and 80'ies was fun as everybody assumed we were related and this added unexpected attention from strangers....

Offline YuriyV

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 470
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2020, 08:18:56 am »
Quote
I think something like 40% of the population moved away as there were no jobs
Now I'm not surprised to see more than 50% of parked cars with French license plates on working day.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 12:33:35 am by YuriyV »

Offline Grossisten

  • VZ TEAM
  • ***
  • Posts: 78
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2020, 03:10:59 pm »
Work in Switzerland with Swiss pay and live in cheaper France, its an obvious deal......

Offline Dowantwatches

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
Re: Historic Zodiac building converted to apartments
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2020, 01:39:18 am »
YuriyV, that's fabulous!! How long are you there for? Post some pics when you have time!

 

Copyright� 2021, All Rights Reserved. This site may not be reproduced.
By accessing this web site you agree to not take any images for use on any other web sites.

Advertising Information� |� Privacy Policy� |� About Us

Visit the Zodiac manufacture's web site at www.zodiacwatches.com for all your post-1990 Zodiac needs.
This web site is not affiliated with Fossil, Inc, current Zodiac brand owners

Website by Face Forward Studios

Clebar Watches
Zodiac Sign