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|Alpina, Union Horlogère SA, Bienne, Genève, Besancon, Berlin|
1883: The Union Horlogère (UH) or Vereinigte Uhrmacher Alpina (VUA) was founded by Gottlieb Hauser as association of leading manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to unify the purchase and distribution of watch and clock parts. Soon genuine calibres were designed, and manufactured by the Alpina Ebauche Factory of Duret & Colonnaz in Geneva.
1896: Registration of the image of a Straub calibre as trade mark. The movement is signed Alpina, Association Horlogére Suisse. Samples for German speeking regions got the SUG trademark (Fig.1, top right), according to the translation Schweizerische Uhrmacher-Genossenschaft.
1905: The U.S. companies Gruen and Hamilton joined the association.
1909: Alpina Union Horlogère founded the Präcisions-Uhrenfabrik Alpina in Glashütte.
1917: Due to political reasons near the end of WWI separation into the Union Horlogère SA in Biel/Switzerland and the Alpina Deutsche Uhrmacher-Genossenschaft GmbH (ADUG) in Berlin/Germany.
1929-1937: Alpina Gruen Gilde SA, a joint venture of both companies to coordinate production and distribution. Also Rolex was involved in this oganization, but it is unknown to which extent. A famous child of this cooperation was the Doctors Watch, made by the Rolex factory Aegler, and sold under the brands Alpina, Gruen, Alpina-Gruen and Rolex-Prince.
1942: Renaming the German ADUG to Deutsche Uhrmacher-Genossenschaft Alpina and registering the brand DUGENA.
1946: This German branch was reorganized and restarted in Darmstadt as DUGENA, Deutsche Uhrmacher-Genossenschaft Alpina.
1949: Registration of Alpina as brand of the manufacturer Straub & Co, Bienne. The company Alpina Union Horlogère continued, and distributed the Straub watches.
The kind of the cooperation of Straub with Alpina, and the beginning of Straub are fuzzy: Straub is known as leading member of UH, and definitely most movements of newer Alpina watches were made by Straub. And already the calibre shown in the trade mark from 1896 (cf. above) was made by Straub.
Comments about the data
Although Alpina watches came from several sources, they had externally a uniform appearance:
The name Alpina was restricted to watches of higher to highest grade, while moderate to medium qualities came with the A surrounded by circle and triangle.
Further, brands like Festa, Siegerin, Terval were used for special types of watches or particular markets, e.g. Tresor for very rugged watches.
As far as no photos of movements with Alpina signature are available, they are replaced by examples with the original manufacturer signature. This gives already a reasonably broad survey over the calibres used by Alpina.
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