History of Montres CIMIER SA

The name CIMIER comes from the French word for the decoration that forms the top part of a helmet. It symbolises the alliance between elegance and stability.


The watchmaker Joseph LAPANOUSE founded his company LAPANOUSE SA in Hölstein near Basel, Switzerland, and began selling his watches under the brand name CIMIER. He specialised in making pin-pallet escapement watches, similar to the “Prolétaire”. This was a robust, accurate and affordable timepiece invented by Georges-Frédéric ROSKOPF, the famous German watchmaker. In 1920, the Prolétaire, or «Roskopf» watch, began to be manufactured on an industrial scale. It became Switzerland’s most exported movement: nearly 35 million during the 1970s.


The workshop was relocated to Bubendorf, just outside Basel.


Armand LAPANOUSE, who worked with his brother Joseph, submitted his patent for a movement cage for the ROSKOPF watch.


CIMIER’s most popular product was the “faux chronograph” (false chronograph), a watch that allowed the user to stop the seconds without returning the hand to zero. This timepiece allowed many consumers to acquire a chronograph-style watch at an affordable price. CIMIER made 21 million of these legendary calibres.


The business now employed more than 500 people in Bubendorf, and its annual production totalled 1.5 million timepieces. Sixty million ROSKOPF-type watches were being produced every year.


The watch industry went through the quartz crisis. The number of mechanical watches sold fell considerably. CIMIER developed and manufactured its own quartz movement.


A former director of CIMIER acquired the brand and set up the new company, Montres CIMIER, with new strategies.


In 2010, CIMIER opened the doors of the exclusive world of watchmaking by creating the Watch Academy. Hundreds of students have since passed through its workshops, building their very own CIMIER watch.


Montres CIMIER launched its first manufacture-made calibre, the Big Matic 16½. Thanks to the CIMIER specialists the ETA 6497-1 hand-wound movement was converted into an automatic movement.


Montres CIMIER returned to the Jura region and set up new premises in Bienne. Today, Montres CIMIER is a well-established, profitable and independent watchmaker, perpetuating the art and tradition of Swiss watchmaking. Its timepieces are designed, developed and manufactured by experts and are synonymous with high-quality workmanship. They are guaranteed “Made in Switzerland”.

Watch Academy