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How LIP And Timex Became Involved In Two Of The 20th Century’s Most Vicious Industrial Disputes | Quill & Pad

How LIP And Timex Became Involved In Two Of The 20th Century’s Most Vicious Industrial Disputes | Quill & Pad

If you were to get some information about the main watch they received as a child, the dominant part would most likely say it was a Timex .

Timex traces its starting points back to the Waterbury Clock Company in Connecticut, the “Switzerland of America,” producing moderate, tough, and solid timepieces. During the post-war time frame, the company extended its production activities around the world: attracted by sponsorships and assessment incentives set up to restore the UK’s previous mechanical heartlands, Timex Corporation set up a watch and printed circuit load up production facility in the city of Dundee on the east coast of Scotland.

Many miles away, there’s a shadow on the door

of a cottage on the shore

of a dull Scottish lake . . .

    – The Police, “Synchronicity II”

Better known for jute turning and jam-production, Dundee had no historical connect to watchmaking, however at its pinnacle Timex Dundee utilized 7,000 gifted specialists, generally ladies, and regularly a few ages of the equivalent family.

1980s Timex sequential construction system workforce in Dundee, Scotland (photograph courtesy

Like watch manufacturers all over the place, during the 1970s Timex was hit hard by the surge of cheaper, more accurate quartz watches from the Far East. Timex Dundee made due by picking up a lucrative contract manufacturing Sir Clive Sinclair’s ZX 81 and Spectrum computers, however in 1981 this contract went somewhere else when Sinclair was consumed into Amstrad.

Timex at that point battled, in the mid 1990s parachuting in Peter Hall, an enemy of worker’s guild CEO, to figure out the wreck. Little did he suspect the resistance that he would meet from the plant’s dominatingly female workforce.

“Oh,” she giggled. “Here the men do the dishes and the ladies do the battling . . .”

Picket lines and striking laborers were a practically every day sight on TV news announcements in 1970s and 1980s Britain, and the expression “scab” (an injurious name for strike-breaking laborers, the secondary object of the strikers’ toxin after the actual administration) was added to the English language.

But the displeasure and violence that broke out in Dundee when Timex moved to close the plant took the vehemence of the showings to another level.

Pickets and police outside the Timex factory in Dundee, 1993 (photograph courtesy Morning Star Online)

After giving an admonition to the plant’s workers in December 1992 that there would be redundancies, Peter Hall conveyed redundancy letters on January 5, 1993, which the representatives rejected, occupying the canteen and casting a ballot 92 percent for strike action.

The the board prevaricated, rejecting all intercession until January 29, on which date the excess laborers took to the streets. They turned up for work as once huge mob on February 17 however were informed that they could possibly work on the off chance that they accepted a 10-percent pay and benefits cut, which they refused.

At this point strikebreakers were acquired to keep the plant running, and the picketing of the plant started decisively, continuing until Timex closed the plant in August of that year.

Timex got replacement laborers through the picket line (photograph courtesy

Each day, transports showed up carrying strikebreaking laborers to be met by a blast of demonstrators blocking their direction, bringing about fierce scuffles as police tried to clear a route for the buses.

The strikers’ assurance was established in Dundee’s historic past as the world’s driving jute processing center, itself dependent on Britain’s exclusive control of fiber and other commodity manors from China to Ghana. The jute plants were a distant memory however the social and family structures stayed in place when companies like NCR and Timex set up in the city.

The ladies who worked at Timex were regularly their families’ sole providers, their manual specialist menfolk being reduced to the job of stay-at-home spouses who alluded to themselves disparagingly as “pot boilers.”

And these were the ladies associated with the day by day deadlocks with the police at the factory entryways, before long joined by work activists and aggressors from different locales of the UK. Strikebreakers had petroleum bombs tossed at their front entryways and were ostracized in and around the city for quite a long time after the conflict ended.

Timex’s administration decided to end up the company authoritatively on Sunday, August 29. Promptly the following morning the Independent announced: “The closure, which came sooner than had been arranged, caught association officials on the jump. Sacked specialists were embarking to picket a Timex factory in France.”

And now for something completely unique: LIP in France

Another modern monstrous morning

he meanders unhindered through the picket lines today 

– The Police, “Synchronicity II”

Twenty years sooner, French watch manufacturer LIP was entangled in a modern question that made Timex Dundee resemble a tempest in a teacup.

Although it was at one point the world’s seventh biggest watch manufacturer, LIP is generally secret external France: I recently illuminated a notable watchmaker that the letters “L I P” on the rotor of a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms were the logo of Blancpain’s French wholesaler, however the name of France’s driving watchmaker, which had itself turned down the French military jump watch contract that was accordingly granted to Blancpain, bringing about the Fifty Fathoms.

In a second reminiscent of the record producer who turned down the Beatles, saying “guitar bunches are in transit out,” the LIP the executives at the time had considered that plunge watches “had no future.”

Nevertheless, mid Fifty Fathoms models highlighted the LIP R108, itself dependent on the A. Schild AS 1361, among others.

An early Blancpain Fifty Fathoms controlled by LIP Caliber R108 (photograph courtesy

LIP appreciates unswerving faithfulness from both watch lovers and “typical individuals” the same in France. More established ages associate it with the “Trente Glorieuses,” the thirty-year time of continuous post-war economic development during which families acquired the features of economic success: Renault and Peugeot cars, Arthur Martin coolers, Teppaz convenient record players, and LIP watches – all made in France. LIP even put out a “Dauphine”- marked model as a gesture to the famous Renault Dauphine.

The French watch and clock industry traces all the way back to the 1790s when the destroying of the Catholic exchanges corporations implied that France’s protestant and Jewish communities had the option to set up in manufacturing.

The départements lining Switzerland became the cradle of France’s horological industry, with Comptoirs Lipmann established in 1868 by Emmanuel Lipmann.

Over the following 100 years, LIP watches flaunted various novel improvements such as phosphorescent dials (utilizing materials sourced directly from Marie and Pierre Curie), bimetallic Elgiloy hairsprings, and its own electronic and quartz watches.

The company likewise created successful divisions manufacturing precision apparatuses and military hardware for satellites. At its pinnacle the company had 1,500 representatives (overwhelmingly female, as Timex) producing 300,000 watches each year and appreciated promoting concurrences with Breitling and Blancpain.

A 1950s LIP Jourdate (photograph courtesy Colin Alexander Smith)

Unlike the watches produced by Timex, the mechanical wristwatches manufactured by LIP somewhere in the range of 1940 and 1970 are surprising for their thin profile cases, ageless plan, and profoundly completed and reassuringly substantial movements.

When you uncover one from underneath a dusty bequest deal confine a brocante in France, it (as Steve Jobs got a kick out of the chance to say of the iPhone) “simply works.” Once cleaned up (servicing is seldom necessary), vintage LIP wristwatches are gobbled up at great costs by a crowd of dominatingly sentimentality driven collectors (“c’était la montre de mon fabulous père“) who constantly screen the auction sites.

1950s LIP Caliber R105 (photograph courtesy Colin Alexander Smith)

Business conditions decayed during the 1960s, notwithstanding, and Emmanuel Lipmann’s child Fred offered 33 percent of the company to Ebauches S.A (part of ASUAG, which in this way became the base of Swatch Group).

By 1971, Lipmann had been pressed out and new overseeing director Jacques Saint-Esprit was before long hoping to actualize redundancies to stay with the above water. In 1973 Saint Esprit surrendered, and all hellfire broke loose.

At a gathering between the company’s directors and works committee to discuss the parent company’s arrangements for the future, a laborer got a director’s briefcase and snatched its contents.

Inside were documents setting out designs to close all the company’s divisions except for watchmaking, which would be turned over totally to amassing watches made completely of Swiss parts. LIP was to become a simple get together station for the Swiss watch industry.

The best was on the way: at one more gathering to discuss redundancies at the Besançon plant in April, the laborers seized the directors and abducted them. Documents were found in an office setting out, in profoundly disdainful terms, the parent company’s arrangements for “disposing of” the company’s workers.

Riot police were called in to get the arrival of the seized directors by force as opposed to exchange. The laborers at that point took the company’s whole stock of watches and shrouded them in a local monastery.

In reaction to the closure, 12,000 supporters marched through the roads of Besançon. On receiving their last excusal letters, the LIP representatives decided to relaunch the actual business under autogestion – self-management.

With an absolutely level production and the executives structure, the laborers continued making watches at their own pace, each selling the watches that the individual in question could, performing various tasks where necessary by picking up the phone or orchestrating deliveries.

The entire activity – taking care of and selling taken merchandise – was absolutely illicit, but strong purchasers lined up from everywhere France up to purchase the watches as a badge of support.

Independent examination of the documents acquired from the administration’s offices uncovered the planned idea of the Swiss takeover and ensuing closures. As Bordeaux-based horologist Paul Bouyssou describes it in his excellent article (in French), ” LIP, la balance de l’horlogerie française :

“Initial discoveries show that the policy of the Swiss company Ebauches AG was destructive and planned. The documents uncover systematic and perfectly tuned plundering. The Swiss probably been frightened by this gem of the watchmaking business, which was producing watches as great as or far better than their own. As a way to recovering lost piece of the pie, the old Trojan pony trick was diabolically effective.”

From the start, Ebauche S.A’s. plan had been to destroy the French marque and transform it into a French production station for Swiss components, accordingly recapturing access to a market that it had lost.

By this point the strike had become an illicit relationship of state. An administration go between was designated to haggle with the top of the CFDT association, however without any result. After uproar police retook ownership of the factory on August 14, 1973 and shut down autogestion, on September 29 100,000 excavators, public servicemen, and in any event, competing watch manufacturers converged on Besançon to fight the scandal.

Unlike their Scottish colleagues at Timex Dundee, the LIP laborers in the long run scored a victory of sorts – in exchange for the arrival of the taken watches and the proceeds of the deals in the meantime, a takeover was concurred and the specialists were continuously re-utilized on full compensation. However, the company changed hands a few times in the following years, including one more endeavor at autogestion in 1976, and never recaptured its past glories.

In the mid 2000s LIP was relaunched as a plan and advertising activity selling watches made by a Hong Kong company through mail request and as giveaways with magazine prescriptions.

I own one of these watches, which glances as I would like to think much like A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Pour le Mérite/Langematik reverence model including a Shanghai 2L27 development, of which I am particularly affectionate as it was the primary watch I took to pieces, ultimately replacing the development with a later and more accurate version.

But LIP collectors loathe it, erasing it from web gatherings on the off chance that I even post photographs of it as it addresses LIP’s depressed spot – for them it doesn’t have what they call LIP’s “DNA.”

A 2000s LIP controlled by a Shanghai 2L27 development (photograph courtesy Colin Alexander Smith)

So where are Timex and LIP now?

Timex as a brand has experienced a progression of transnational corporate changes and has successfully braved the gigantic changes found in the watch business and in manufacturing when all is said in done throughout the last 50 years.

Among others, it produced the Ironman, the world’s best games watch of the pre-connected time, and the Indiglo with its backlit dial, which became an enormous hit after a rescue laborer drove 40 individuals to security from the World Trade Center besieging utilizing the light from his Indiglo.

More recently, the reissue of the 1979 Q Timex Pepsi Diver has acquired a serious after on social media.

On scrutinizing the Timex site, one is struck by a certain something, be that as it may: the watches are worryingly cheap, as in “cheaper than Daniel Wellington” cheap.

Nothing of cash, nothing of Swiss . . .

    – from an old Portuguese-English phrasebook

At the hour of composing, the LIP story has a moderately upbeat completion and is more fulfilling from a horological purpose of view.

The classic LIP models have been relaunched in both quartz and mechanical variants, including the Nautic Ski plunge watch, the Dauphine, the T18 (as introduced to Winston Churchill), and the Himalaya (a model initially created in 1950 for Maurice Herzog’s ascent of Annapurna, in this way gaining a sudden advantage over Smiths, Tudor, and Rolex).

LIP Himalaya (photograph courtesy Colin Alexander Smith)

They are, to a considerable degree, “made in France” – the Miyota (Citizen) developments are transported from Japan as parts and amassed and controlled in Besançon prior to being fitted with Swiss dials and hands in Chinese hardened steel cases. Given that France has one of the greatest work and social security troubles in Europe, this combination of worldwide and local production is crucial for the company’s survival.

The product range accurately reflects the “Trente Glorieuses” soul and the previously mentioned “LIP DNA,” so LIP is all around placed to acquire from the current restoration in revenue in mechanical watches while keeping up realistic price levels.

LIP’s current promoting campaign includes a vigorously hairy “Lipster” (photograph courtesy Colin Alexander Smith)

For more data on these companies’ current cycles, kindly visit and additionally .

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