W. Gabus / В. Гагю

Throughout Imperial-era Russia, the watchmaking industry consisted only of several small workshops and enterprises, usually assembling watches using parts made abroad. Due to a lack of technology and equipment, it was more affordable and efficient to import unfinished Swiss and German ebauchés, then compete the assembly in local Russian workshops. This assembly was undertaken by specialized independent watchmakers appointed by the Imperial Court, such as Pavel Buhre, George Favre-Jacot, and William Gabus. 

Louis William Gabus was born in Switzerland May 6, 1847, to a family of watchmakers. He moved to Russia when he was twenty years old, and the next year, in 1868, he opened a small watchmaking enterprise in Moscow. This business turned Gabus into one of the most successful and prolific independent watchmakers in Imperial-era Russia. For many decades, Gabus produced a wide variety of pocket and (later) wristwatches for both the Imperial Court and civilian consumption. His company, founded in his name, would go on to become among the top three largest trading houses in Russia, along with Pavel Bure and Henry Moser.  

 

In 1918, a year after the Bolshevik Revolution, the entire Soviet industrial infrastructure was nationalized. All independent watchmaking workshops were confiscated by the State, and the original owners were eventually forced to withdraw from the market. By 1922, the entire watchmaking industry had become part of the State Trust of Precision Mechanics, also known as Gostrest Tochmeh.

 

W. Gabus / В. Гагю
W. Gabus / В. Гагю

Caliber: Swiss Year: ca. 1915 Notes: Imperial Russian wristwatch conversion

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W. Gabus / В. Гагю
W. Gabus / В. Гагю

Caliber: Swiss Year: ca. 1915 Notes: Imperial Russian wristwatch

press to zoom
W. Gabus / В. Гагю
W. Gabus / В. Гагю

Caliber: Swiss Year: ca. 1915 Notes: Imperial Russian wristwatch

press to zoom