Lip Watch Co. This company was formed by Emmanuel Lipmann, of Alsace, France a son of a watchmaker in 1807. By 1867, Ernst Lipmman, his grandson had set up a factory in Besançon, France.
By 1890 the company had grown and was employing 35 people, half of them home-workers. About 1900, Emmanuel’s sons Camile and Ernest took over the running of the company. The sons brought in facilities for producing their own pocket and wrist watch movements. The brand name of Lip was introduced in 1906.
About the 1930’s, the company started to concentrate on producing precision watches, some of these were endorsed by the ‘National Observatory’ in Besançon. In 1936 a Lipmman chronometer set a new record for accuracy.
In 1945 the company was passed to the next generation and was controlled by Fred Lip, grandson of Ernst. Fred was a watchmaker by trade. The company had now grown to about 650 employees and produced about a thousand watches a day.
In 1952 Lip announced the details their first electronic wrist watch. They had been exchanging research information with Elgin for a couple of years on electronic watches. The first watch actually went on sale in 1958.
In 1971, Lip introduces it’s first Quartz watch using a movement it had designed itself.
In 1973 the company had severe money problems and the company went into bankruptcy.
1974, the company is bought and the designer, Roger Tallon, brings out the Mach 2000 range, but the company again goes into bankruptcy for the second time.
The company staggers along with industrial relations problems and money problems until 1980 when the workers form a cooperative and buy out the company. Unfortunately they did not have any more luck with the company than the previous owners.
In 1990, Jean-Claude Sensemat re-launches the company as ‘Lip France’. The company now seems to have enough investment to grow, and the future looked a lot better.
In 2000 the company launched a new range called the ‘Fred Lip’ and the company is still trading well in 2002.
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