LEMANIA WATCH COMPANY
Lemania is probably the most illustrious of the watch manufacturers that have now ceased to exist. Founded in 1883 by self-taught watchmaker Alfred Lugrin, who had trained at Jaeger-LeCoultre, the company has earned a place in the heart of many a vintage watch enthusiast, specialising from the very beginning in making high-quality chronographs, repeaters, and stopwatches.
In 1932, Lemania, Omega and Tissot merged to form the SSIH group. Lemania produced movements for Omega, including for the Speedmaster that Buzz Aldrin wore on the moon.
From the late 1940s and up to the 1970s, Lemania was a supplier of military chronographs to the UK Ministry of Defence, also known as the MoD. Fleet Air Arm pilots and Royal Air Force pilots alike relied on the various Lemania chronographs being issued during that period. Lemania also produced around 10,000 of the 'Dirty Dozen' military-issued watches towards the end of the second World War which are extremely collectable.
With the advent of electronic watches in the 1970s, sales of mechanical watches from the SSIH Group collapsed. In 1980, creditor banks gave Nicolas Hayek the task of restructuring the group. In the course of a management buyout, Lemania separated from the SSIH Group in 1981 and changed its name to Nouvelle Lemania. In 1992 the Nouvelle Lemania was bought by Breguet. The Lemania calibres are still used today in watches of numerous well-known brands.