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Catena Campaigns

See our individual advertisements. Also read about our history of Catena.

Historic Information of Catena (08-06-2008)

La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1947: Mr. Willy Lebet starts his own watch company. La Chaux-de-Fonds is a city in the so-called cradle of the Swiss watch industry and saw, like its close neighbour Le Locle, several watch companies blooming in the 19th and 20th centuries. La Chaux-de-Fonds is the highest city in Europe and has a long winter and till recently its population lived essentially from the watch industry.

In the early 50´ Mr. Lebet moved his company to La Neuveville, a small village only 25 miles away from La Chaux-de-Fonds. Soon he registered a new brand name CATENA and in 1959 his son Claude took over the command of the company. At that time the company was specialized in the assembling of mechanical watch movement and the company grew fast.

In 1964 the company moved to Bulle, where it could find the necessary work force. Bulle is the main city of the Gruyère, so famous for its cheese and chocolate, and CATENA was just coming as the third of the well known Swiss products, cheese, chocolate and watches.

At that time, mechanical watches still reigned supreme and few manufacturers dared to leave the beaten track by releasing a particularly original watch. But CATENA already at that time shone by its unconformity and produced its own unique design. This was the famous “Spaceman” inspired by the flying saucers that ere a great subject of conversation at the time and which met with a resounding success a little later on most world markets. The “Spaceman” even landed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This success encouraged the Catena management team and the dynamic owner, Mr. Lebet, to commit themselves ever further in the production of finished watches and to envisage a brand policy. Since that time much snow has fallen on the superb Moléson Mountain dominating the factory. The Catena Collection grew with quartz watches pushing out most mechanical models.

A tragic accident derived the firm of its leader and the new management faced problems to deal with both, the loss of its marketing genius and the many changes in the world watch markets. CATENA developed and successfully launched several new products, both with exceptional and exclusive features keeping a good name for original designs; however it missed the strength and vision of Claude Lebet.

In 1993 CATENA was bought over by Eric Aubert who quickly gave to CATENA all the benefits of his long experience of the watch industry. Eric Aubert was born in Le Locle and, like his wife Françoise, most of his ascendants were either watchmakers or teachers. This makes that Francoise and Eric are the fourth generation of two families of watchmakers and teachers. They have two sons, the fifth generation, Alban who is a sport teacher and Dimitri who is a senior manager with a renowned watch brand.

Eric Aubert knew he had to undertake drastic changes to reposition CATENA, but wanted to do that, step by step to let all active markets to get acquainted with the new strategy. At the beginning of this new century CATENA had one major design, produced in many different versions and this was the beginning of the Horseshoe era. This was a new major turn in the life of the CATENA brand that is quickly becoming the Equestrian time-piece. In addition to push sales in existing markets, the Horseshoe model has opened the doors to new territories. CATENA has gained in a short period of time a strong awareness among the equestrian people and is becoming the product to wear by all horse lovers.