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Gruen Swiss Plant Official Flies Here

From The American Horologist magazine, April 1945

Gruen Swiss Plant Official Flies Here

Henri Thiebaud, General Director of Gruen Bienne Factory Arrives After Arduous Trip

Traveling several days by motor and transport clipper, Henri Thiebaud, world famous inventor and Director General of the Gruen Watch Manufacturing Co. of Bienne, Switzerland, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Gruen Watch Co., arrived in Cincinnati Thursday, March 29th, and was met at the airport by Benjamin S. Katz, Gruen President. The Gruen Watch Co. is currently manufacturing precision instruments for war as well as watches for civilians and the armed forces.

The special trip was arranged with government approval to permit review of important Gruen postwar production plans. Thiebaud is the inventor of the famous Gruen Curvex and Veri-thin watches. 

Mr. Katz and Mr. Thiebaud have not seen each other since 1940 when Mr. Katz made his last trip to Switzerland during the war. Mr. Thiebaud operated the Gruen Swiss plant entirely by telephone directives up to August 1942 when the government prohibited all transatlantic phone, calls, and since then by letter and cablegrams.

In expressing high hope for the results of his talks with Mr. Thiebaud, Mr. Katz said, "I am extremely optimistic about the continuing progress of our country and and full employment. By making our plans now for a greatly augmented production schedule of precision watches, we hope to prove our faith in the continued greatness and soundness of America's future." 

Mr. Katz commented also on Mr. Thiebaud's valuable contribution to the progress of the Gruen Watch Company's plant in Swizerland, "In spite of the hardships and the many difficulties of working in a country entirely surrounded by warring nations, Mr. Thiebaud has continued watch movement production at almost a prewar level, which has been due entirely to his foresight and and his stock-piling of vast quantities of all types of precision materials that go into the manufacture of Gruen watches.

World famous as an inventive genius, Mr. Thiebaud is descended from an old and distinguished watch family. His grandfather was manager of a watch factory in Europe, furnishing exquisite timepieces to the Russian Imperial Court. His father succeeded him in the manufacture of unusual timepieces. Thiebaud himself 'was educated in France and later at a technical university. He received a special diploma and was awarded first prize at the Observatory of Nauchatel.

An aviator in the first World War,Thiebaud's military career was ended by a plane crash which caused a lung lasion, He has aided the Swiss government materially during the present war period by continuing to train technicians, and has personally assisted in aiding thousands of war refuges who have sought a haven in Switzerland.

At the time of his last visit to Cincinnati in December 1937, when he addressed the Gruen Sales Convention, Mr. Thiebaud was accompanied by his wife. He has one daughter, Francine. He will remain in this country about a month. 


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