Jowissa 21 Jewel "Datomatic" 1960's Gentleman's Divers Watch
A really Iconic Divers watch, 36mm x 42mm the chrome on brass case has lost some of it's plating but the dial is near perfect, the 21 jewel movement runs seamlessly, and keeps time.
The Jowissa watch company was founded in 1951 by Josef Wyss in Bettlach, canton of Solothurn, Switzerland. The name of the firm was derived from the founder's/company name, Josef Wyss AG, and was registered in 1953.
At first, Jowissa operated from Josef Wyss' residence, and comprised just himself and two fellow employees. Initially, they concentrated on the assembly of watches for other companies, and there are examples where the Jowissa name is found inside the watch that is designated for another company on the dial/movement. The business prospered, and it became necessary to hire more employees and acquire a bigger premises; thus, in 1958, a new manufactory was built next to Josef Wyss' residence. There are a number of watches extant from the early period of Jowissa that are branded for the firm although the main stream of Jowissa branded watches did not really begin until about 1960, with the 1970s showing a marked increase in production and innovative fashion styling.
In the decades following the 1950s, Jowissa gained a reputation for producing creative designs and were a leading manufacturer of pendant watches with cut glass that had become fashionable; timepieces incorporating facetted glass cutting were to remain a speciality of Jowissa production. Jowissa became known as a company interested in watches as items of jewellery, and their ladies' watches have always been a major element of their watch range.
A gold coloured hand-wind Jowissa pendant watch from the 1960s measuring three and a half inches from the top of the ring to the bottom of the hanging chains (pics from i.ebayimg.com):
During the 1970s, Jowissa Watch Ltd was taken over by the second generation of the Wyss family. It has been stated that it was then that Josef's sons Erich, Manfred, and Leander Wyss decided to start the manufacture of watches under their own brand name, Jowissa, and at the same time moved the firm's headquarters and factory to a new location in the centre of Bettlach. However, as has already been said above, Jowissa branded watches were made prior to the 1970s, but not in the same quantities or in such a profusion of designs and materials. Note that vintage watches by Jowissa from about 1970 usually have the name, "JOWISSA" on the dial immediately beneath a blocky "JWB" logo (perhaps an anagram for Jowissa Watch Bettlach or Josef Wyss Bettlach).
The company managed to keep abreast of new techniques and technology, which no doubt helped it survive the Quartz Crisis. As early as the 1970s, Jowissa was producing its own in-house ceramic cases, and in the 1980s, the firm was able to adopt and implement quartz technology. Notable products launched in the 1990s were the "Woodtime" and "Stonetime" watches with innovative cases created out of wood and stone; part-wood watches had actually been made by Jowissa somewhat earlier, as shown by a picture here.
A 31 mm diam. Jowissa 17J hand-wind wristwatch with wooden bezel from the 1970s (pics from i.ebayimg.com)
Jowissa Uhren AG is still a family-run company, now in its third generation, and its market position has been stated as being, "Swiss made, mid-range luxury". The firm prides itself on its quality materials and Swiss watchmaking prowess, and also the value for money of its products, and Jowissa has taken advantage of the growth of the Asian and Chinese markets for luxury watches. The brand is represented in 30 countries with over 400 sales outlets including the recently announced flagship boutique on the "walk of watches" in Lucerne, Switzerland. Currently, annual revenue is about US$1 million and Simon Wyss is director of the firm; Josef Wyss, the founder of Jowissa, has remained active in the firm right through its history - at least up to a few years ago, when he was President of the Board of Directors. Jowissa watches form an interesting timeline of fashion styles and predilections over the years of the company's production, with a certain distinctiveness. I would also say that Jowissa watches have been somewhat overlooked by collectors; hopefully this topic will engender a change in those fortunes.
A 1970s Jowissa mechanical jump hour watch with 42 mm (excl. crown) case and powered by a hand-wind 17J movement (pics from i.ebayimg.com):
A 1970s Jowissa Aqua-Chief dive watch with a 40mm chromed metal case and powered by a 25J automatic movement (pics from articulo.mercadolibre.com.mx):
A 1970s Jowissa De Luxe gents wristwatch with a 37 mm (excl. crown) chromed case and powered by a hand-wind 17J movement (pic from Worthpoint.com):
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