TIME TEST: The Name Game

Quiz Guy

Ever wonder how your watch got its name? Test your knowledge of watch-brand handles by matching these brand names with the explanations of the origins. Answers take the form 1-C, 2-G, etc. Good luck!

Your list of brand names:

1. Citizen
2. Omega
3. Hautlence
4. Bell & Ross
5. Frédérique Constant
6. Casio
7. Girard-Perregaux
8. Seiko
9. Oris
10. Maurice Lacroix
11. Movado
12. TAG Heuer

Match the brands to these explanations of their origins:

A. This brand was named after a brook and a valley near Hölstein in the northwestern part of Switzerland, where the company was founded in 1904.

B. This brand’s name means “always in motion” in the artificial language of Esperanto. The language was founded in 1887 by an ophthalmologist from what is now Poland. Within a few years it gained a following in Canton Neuchâtel in the Jura mountain region of Switzerland, and some schools, including the region’s main business school, began teaching it. It was therefore “in the air” in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in Canton Neuchâtel, when Achille Ditesheim and his brothers named their watch company in 1905.

Esperanto founder

C. This name combines an acronym for a holding company with the name of a long-established brand the holding company purchased in 1985.

Famous brand founder

D. This name first appeared on a watch in 1924 and it was chosen by the company founder at the suggestion of a friend who was the mayor of a large city. The mayor suggested the name because it connoted affordability: the watches the company made were inexpensive enough for all.

E. This brand name means “precision” in its home-country’s language. It first appeared on a watch in 1924. The company founder had used a similar name for the factory he set up in 1892. That name disappeared in 1983 when a factory built in 1937 was renamed.

F. This company’s founder used an anglicized version of his last name when he christened the small-electronics and cigarette-holder company he founded in 1946. The company diversified and grew quickly after that. It began making watches in 1974.

G. This name was derived from the last names of the company’s two French founders. One was a fan of American product design from the 1940s and ’50s, and the other was a fan of the American entrepreneurial spirit, and they wanted to give their company an Anglo-sounding name. The company was founded in 1994.

Who am I?

H. This brand name is an anagram of “Neuchâtel,” the Swiss city where the brand, founded in 2004, is based.

Swiss city

I. This name is a combination of the first names of the grandfathers of the company’s founders, Peter Stas and Aletta Stas-Bax.

J. This brand name is derived from the 19’’’ caliber the company introduced in 1894, which was very successful because of its design and its low cost. In 1903, the company added this brand name to its existing name, “Louis Brandt & Frére.” In some contexts this name connotes perfection, which is why the company chose it for both its movement’s name and, later, its own name.

Famous movement

K. While most compound watch-brand names are combinations of the names of two founding partners or merged companies (e.g., Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin), this name is the last name of a single founder who followed a Swiss custom of adding one’s wife’s family name to one’s own upon marrying.

Who am I

L. This brand name comes not from the founder, but from an executive in the silk-trading division of the Swiss trading company Desco de Schulthess Ltd. When Desco decided to launch a watch brand, it wanted to give it a fancy sounding French name. As it happened, one of its employees had such a name. Desco launched the watch brand in 1980. The man whose moniker was used had nothing to do with it other than lending it his name. He died in 1999.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS:

1 – D

2 – J

3 – H

4 – G

5 – I

6 – F

7 – K

8 – E

9 – A

10 – L

11 – B

12 – C






About Norma Buchanan

Norma Buchanan is the executive editor of WatchTime magazine. She has been a reporter and editor for 30 years and has specialized in writing about watches and the watch industry for 18 years. She is also the author of "The Watch Buff's Book of Trivia."

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