Cortebert Watches



2015-06-26 10:52:50

Cortebert Watches are watches made by the Swiss manufacturer of the same name.



Cortebert watches are high-end timepieces which were produced by a Swiss company since 1790 up until the mid-1970ies. The name was annexed from a small agricultural town near Biel in Switzerland. Abraham-Louis Julliard opened a small watchmaking store in 1790 in Cortebert village which was then under French control. However, it was much later in 1855 that the brand was registered as the Manfaktur Raiguel Julliard et Cie using a bottony cross as a logo. In 1927, it came under the ownership of Ebauches SA then moved on to Omega in 1962.

During the 1970s, the Quartz crisis blew through the industry felling most prestige brands with Cortebert being one of them. There exists a conspicuous dearth of useful information relating to the company primarily because a 1959 fire consumed the entire town archives. The brand name is currently the legal property of an Italian company known as Perseo.


As well as manufacturing premium watches of high regard, Cortebert was also a notable supplier of movements to giants like Rolex. It is also to Cortebert’s credit that that the jump-hour arrangement was introduced. This was the first digital watch ever. Together with their extensive range of movements, Cortebert also produced railroad, airline and ocean carrier watches. In the 1930s Cortebert was one of the earliest watchmaking outfits to use Incabloc system in series. A typical Cortebert caseback carries the maltessian cross which was a favored symbol of the Julliards. In 1944, Cortebert released a 20-caliber range of special railway watches which became synonymous with the marque.


Thanks to the wide a variety that the company has offered over the years, Cortebert watches are valued at prices which vary with equal measure. A stainless steel Men’s wristwatch with a leather strap and movements measuring 3.7, 4.4 cm costs $50. On the other end of the spectrum, a rare 1935 Cortebert Art Deco goes for $490. In between the two lies a 1950 31mm movement, hand-winding gents’ wristwatch that sells at $250.

Notable Auction Sales

On auction sites such as eBay, they range from as high as $1,799 to as low as $33.

Popularity with collectors

The controversy that surrounded a claim that Cortebert mainly employed Jewish workers is largely responsible for the brands popularity among collectors. Further, having produced observatories for ocean liners that participated in both world wars, most collectors are interested in owning a vintage Cortebert as a piece of history.

A Miami collector on attributed his obviously tremendous attraction to vintage Cortebert offerings to the evident durability of this watches. He proudly reports that he’s collected several of them and notes that age doesn’t seem to affect them. After more than 40 years gathering dust in a drawer, the watches work accurately as if they were made and regulated yesterday.

Others are fascinated by the details which include thin movements, clear dials, original crowns and the tips stars. The tips stars are of especial cultural significance. Before Cortebert started supplying Egyptian and Turkish railroads, the tips stars used to be four. Since they evoked the spirit of the Crusades, they were increased to five to avoid offending the Muslim clientele.

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