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In 1858 Charles-Yvan and Hyppolite Robert founded the H. C. Robert watchmaking factory in Villeret, a village in the St. Imier valley within the Swiss Jura. These were still the early days of a period that would see Switzerland emerge as the world‘s leading watchmaking nation. And like most of the watch manufacturers of the period, the Roberts started out as ‚etablisseurs‘. In other words, they purchased movement blanks, parts, cases and dials etc . from other manufacturers and used them to make their own watches. These were fine-quality pocket timepieces, most of them with a cylinder escapement and a new system for winding the actual movement as well as setting the particular hands via the crown. These had soon established a reputation that went far beyond the borders of Swiss, as witnessed by the certificates awarded to the C. Robert company at world exhibitions in Antwerp (1885) and also Paris (1889). On 30 July 1887, the Minerva brand name along with trademark arrowhead were deposited with the Swiss Federal Office of Intellectual Property. Following the entry from the second generation of the Robert family at the end of the 19th century, the company completed its transformation to a genuine watchmakers‘ workshop: an establishment that developed in addition to produced its own movements, made its own cases and mastered all the skills required for view production. The sons of company founder Charles-Yvan Robert strengthened typically the company‘s independence by increasing its vertical range of manufacture. In 1902 the company started producing the first pocket enjoy movement having a cylinder escapement developed entirely in-house. In the next ten years, it was to produce a good dozen basic movements associated with its own.van cleef arpels watch replica replica montblanc watches men patek philippe nautilus 5711 replica bell and ross watch replica replica rolex watches Breitling Top Time Replica These were mechanisms with cylinder or lever escapements, chronograph functions and stopwatch movements, whose steel levers already experienced the typical formal features which still distinguish Minerva chronographs from the rest. The 19-line no . 3 calibre, which served since the basis for several other movements, was to become particularly well known. In 1909 the company was one of the first to make a movement designed especially for wristwatches, which at the time were becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, these technological advances were accompanied by several twists regarding fate for the Robert family, who gradually began to withdraw from everyday business activities. In 1929 the company had been finally renamed Minerva SA; on 12 June 1935 it was sold to Charles Haussener and Jacques Pelot, who had both been employed by Minerva since 1921. Haussener was in charge of producing the motion blanks, while watch technician Pelot took control of often the RD department. With his indomitable flair, Pelot extended the product range plus, among other things, designed a mechanical stop watch with a 19-line 42 calibre. This ran at a speed of no fewer than 360 000 beats per hour (50 Hertz) and even was able to measure times to an accuracy involving one-hundredth of a second. Instead of following the prevailing trend together with industrialising production, Minerva opted to keep the existing infrastructure, which was perfectly geared to the exact manufacture connected with small but highly exclusive series. As one of very few manufacturers, the organization was thus able to draw on the master watchmakers, the original tools and the expertise needed to make mechanical timepieces in keeping with authentic Switzerland watchmaking tradition. In 2007, under Montblanc‘s aegis, Minerva became the very Institut Minerva de Recherche en Haute Horlogerie, dedicated to classical fine watchmaking and also the upholding with traditional abilities and special complications. It is thus able to focus completely on it is true calling: the art of the making of watch at its consummate best, calling for a wealth of manual skills, authentic Swiss custom and an extremely high degree of vertical integration. Needless to say, when methods like these are used, creation figures are only very small.

Back in 2007, Montblanc made substantial investments to sustain this irreplaceable experience and expertise and to secure it with regard to generations for watch devotees to come. The aim of the Institut is to preserve invaluable expertise, to build on them and to foster them to brand new greatness. One factor about particular importance here is training. The newly founded Institut is intended to function as a kind of think tank, where young watchmakers can meet up to exchange ideas and be initiated into the old traditions, the experience developed over generations, the main rich body of experience as well as the mentality typical of the true master watchmaker. This purpose, too, was the reason for the Fondation Minerva de Information en Luxurious Horlogerie, for which the capital has been supplied by Montblanc. The Foundation began providing financial and logistic support for its first non-profit projects this year. There are also plans for displays, work-shops and events for people in the industry, with a view to making what the Institut has to offer accessible in order to as many interested individuals as possible.

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