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Qte Salter / Qte Сальтерь

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. 

Around 1895, a group of Swiss manufacturers agreed upon a system of watch case classification. The labeling system "Qte" (Qualité, meaning "quality"), plus the name of a known watchmaker, was intended to convey that the production quality of a given case, pendant, dial, or movement matched that of the named watchmaker. However, as this designation was a description of quality rather than a brand, various watches from different watchmakers were found with the same inscription on the dial. 


The "Qte" standard was in use from just before the turn of the century until around World War I. Various examples included Qte Boutte, Qte Salter, Qte Tobias, and others. The Salter name, in specific, comes from an English watchmaking enterprise, John Salter London, which was popular in the mid-1800s. The full name, then – Qualité Salter – meant that the production quality of a these watches was the same as that of those manufactured by John Salter. Such a label was often placed on watches manufactured by 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.

(Sources: 1, 2)


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