The Saviour Of Breitling...was the owner of Sicura
Meet Ernest Schneider. He took over Sicura in 1960 from his father in law. As CEO of Sicura he lead the company to a position of making 1 million watches per annum in the 1970's.
Sicura postioned their watches as a good value brand. They copied the look and style of the Rolex Submariner for a number of their diver watches, but at a fraction of the price and with functional rather than exceptional movements. These are the Sicura's that as most collected today as they still look great and work without any problems.
In the early 1970's the quartz crisis hit the Swiss Watch Industry hard. Suddenly expensive to produce and expensive to buy Swiss Watches were not fashionalbe and the world had turned to digital watches.
Sicura were somewhat insulated from the crisis due to the volume of watches they made and the price points they met.
Sicura produced some quartz watches in the late 1070's but also did a range of mechanical Jumping Hour Wartches which command good prices today.
The hard to find the solar powered Sicura VIP2000 model is a watch I'm always on the look out for. They are ultra rare and if in working order are very valuable.
When Breitling hit financial hard times in the late 1979 due to the quartz crisis and poor management, they actually closed the doors on their business.
Sicura’s CEO Ernest Schneider, swooped in and bought ailing brand. Others would not touch Brietling as supply of Swiss Watches was higher than the demand and they didn't need the capacity Brietling offered. However, Schneider was a pilot and loved the Breitling models like the Navitimer. He saw a future for Breitling that others didn't. Within a couple of years Schneider had turned around Breitling and stopped producing Sicura watches to focus 100% on Breitling.
He figured the Breitling brand had more potential than the Sicura brand. You will often see Sicura's advertised as Breitling's or Breitling Sicura. This is mis-leading as they never mixed the brands in terms of parts or development. The only link is the Schneider owning both.
As a keen pilot Schneider ensured Breitling positioned itself as the "pilots watch" and spent huge amounts on advertising and endorsements to get this message across very succesfully.
in 2018 Ernest Schneider's son, Teddy sold Breitling to CVO venture capital for $790m.
So, if you own or buy a Sicura or Breitling in the future you know a little about the man who ensured both Brands were successful in their own ways.