Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

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Edouard Koehn

From Horology magazine, September 1937

Edouard Koehn

CARL KOEHN of Saxe-Weimar started his career first as an engraver on copper plates for maps and coats of arms. He became interested in watchmaking and went to Geneva to perfect himself in that center of fine watchmaking and after acquiring the desired skill returned home and became the watchmaker to the Court of Saxe-Weimar.

His son, Edouard, born in the atmosphere of high horological standards, decided like his father to go to Geneva which he did with his father's assistance when he was twenty years old. He spent some time at l'Ecole d'Horlogerie and entered as a workman in the factory of Patek Philippe & Co. His skill and general ability made his progress rapid and at the age of thirty-five he became one of the five partners of the concern. During his fifteen years partnership he made numerous trips to America and was successful in interesting many firms as agents of the watches of his firm. His impressive personality and his technical knowledge gained the confidence of all with whom he came in contact.

Needless to say he became a faithful Genevan. He married into an ancient Genevan family and built a stone chateau on the river and almost in the shadow of the Saleve, Geneva's intimate mountain. His diversion was that of so many of his countrymen, mountain climbing. Of his many ideas in watch improvement was a superior winding arrangement, the original model of which, by his own hands, is in my possession.

Desiring more latitude in producing watches quite to his own judgement, he retired from Patek Philippe in 1891 and bought the establishment of H. R. Ekegren, retaining Mr. Ekegren as chief of manufacture. As was told in "HOROLOGY" of January, Mr. Ekegren's reputation was second to none in the watch world. In addition to Mr. Ekegren's calibres Mr. Koehn added new models of thinner calibre which the world of fashion demanded and many complicated pieces.

His son, Edouard, had a bent toward being a physician but after finishing the college schooling accepted his father's 
view that he should succeed him. After some law courses at the University which he thought would be useful in business he entered the shop under Mr. Ekegren's superlative instruction. On the death of his father in 1908 he became head of the house and with improvements in methods and the constant and keen supervision produced a high degree of uniformity in precision time pieces of the Geneva quality which certainly has never been excelled.

It was my good fortune to carry a letter of introduction to him on my first residence in Geneva in 1921 and my greater fortune that he took me into an intimate friendship. The use of his own bench and the informative conversations were of inestimable value to me. His charming and talented wife played my most loved music and with the three of their young sons the domestic picture was ideal indeed. Repeated visits to Geneva and occasional visits of Mr. Koehn to America are always bright spots and even 

more frequent are reminders in one of his bulletin watches which I have carried fifteen years and for which I designed the case, dial and hands and for which I executed the model at his bench. 

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