Best known for their quartz calibres, Ronda watch movements are used by a huge range of luxury Swiss watch manufacturers from the likes of TAG Heuer to Raymond Weil, Victorinox, Christopher Ward and Junkers. With a history that spans back to 1946, they are a manufacturer that continually thrives to produce only the best and most accurate movements in the industry and their associations with so many industry kings proves they are doing something right.
Ronda believe that even the most extravagant looking timepiece needs a reliable and accurate movement to keep it in regular motion. Based in the watchmaking capital of the world, Ronda design and create all their calibres in Switzerland and over the past half century have become one of the world’s leading manufacturer in mechanical and precision electronic quartz watch movements.
Although Ronda watch movements were first bought to life in Waldenburg Valley in 1946, the brand’s history spans back much further than this. William Mosset, the founder of Ronda, was born in the village of Holstein on 3rd June 1909. He trained as a precision mechanic while spending most of his spare time experimenting in the workshop he had created in the cellar of his family home. Before long, William created his first invention, a tool that could punch 32 holes precisely and simultaneously into a pillar-plate.
In his late teens William then joined the Oris company to further his education in watch manufacture. At the young age of 22, he was appointed head of his department and became responsible for the production of movement assortment. Despite his success, William couldn’t help but want to establish his own company at the earliest opportunity. So, while working at Oris, he completed a distance learning course which saw him invent a series of small pivoting and polishing machines for the use in watch manufacturing and his greatest achievement, the ‘Carousel’, a milling and drilling machine that enabled 20 operations to be performed one after the other.
On 1st November 1944, William Mosset was finally able to set up his own company with an initial workforce of seven employees. He was able to enter the company in the Commercial Register after the Second World War had ended and decided on the name ‘Ronda’. The name was inspired by the French term ‘arrondir’, referring to the rounding off of the pivot. As the business grew, Ronda began to manufacture balance staffs, stems and pivots for lever movements with a total of 45 employees.
In 1952, Ronda produced their first ever Roskopf and pin pallet movements, otherwise known as ébauches. They found great success with this development however during this time, Swiss authorities were driving hard to grant ébauche production rights solely to its major players. Nevertheless, Ronda won their right to manufacture its own pallet and Roskopf blank movements in 1961 and by the spring of 1971, they had substantially expanded with the addition of five further buildings and 520 employees, with a further 375 personnel working from home.
Just like every watch movement manufacturer, the quartz crisis hit hard. In the early 1970’s the industry was shaken by the arrival of quartz technology which was marketed as being far more accurate and reliable than traditional mechanical movements. In order to adapt to the changing market, Ronda developed its very first quartz watch movement in 1974. Despite sales being slow at first, quartz movements finally broke through in the 1980s all over the world and watches with Ronda quartz movements became affordable fashion accessories.
Sadly, after 46 years of living his dream, William Mosset died unexpectedly in 1985 at the age of 76. The company was passed down to his two children, Elizabeth and Eric. Elizabeth already played a major part in the company while Eric joined after he completed his studies at Zurich’s Federal Institute of Technology in 1989. Under new management, Ronda steadily continued to expand its range of products to include small mechanical movements and quartz movements powered with lithium batteries. 2003 was another huge year for the company with the launch of their Startech line which allowed them to offer multi function movements and chronographs to their clients.
Since then, Ronda has continued to thrive as one of the greatest watch movement manufacturers in the world. They have designed over 30 brand new calibres with the majority of them being highly complex and at Baselworld 2016, they introduced the 11.5 inch R150 caliber which is widely used by luxury watch brands today. From just a young lad experimenting in his family’s basement, Ronda has become an incredible institution worn on the wrist by many. For anyone interested in the complexity of watchmaking, we highly recommend you find yourself a watch with a Ronda movement.