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In 1853 Société d' Horlogerie à Waldenbourg was founded as a Swiss watch manufacturing company by the community of Waldenburg, Switzerland. It begins to manufacture wrist watches in order to create work in the Waldenburg valley whose location at the route Basel-Geneva had become insignificant due to the newly established train connection Basel - Olten - Geneva.
1859: Gédéon Thommen and Louis Tschopp acquire the company and privately restructure it. Gédéon Thommen is also the founder and promoter of the “Waldenburgerbahn”, a steam train connecting the valley’s villages.
Tschopp soon leaves the company and the company is named Gédéon Thommen’s Uhrenfabriken.
From 1905, the company is commercially registered as REVUE THOMMEN AG, a joint-stock company. REVUE had been used earlier as a brand name of the company’s wrist watches, after they had been marketed as “GT” watches (GT standing for Gédéon Thommen) before.
In 1916, the first aircraft chronograph for the Swiss Air Force is created and lays the foundation for the company’s success as an aircraft instrument supplier.
From 1936 – 1943, the company is awarded a development and production program of cockpit instrumentation for the Swiss Air Force. REVUE THOMMEN develops and supplies altimeters, airspeed indicators, vertical speed indicators, clocks, and the landing gear for the Swiss multifunction biplane EKW C-35.
In 1945 REVUE THOMMEN commercializes its technical capabilities in the aviation sector by launching a pocket altimeter for alpinists. Derivations like altimeters for parachutists will follow and are produced well into the Internet age.
The year 2000 is a major mark in the company’s history.
REVUE THOMMEN AG grants a license to the Swiss company Grovana Ltd. for the manufacturing and marketing of the REVUE THOMMEN wrist watch brand products, whereas REVUE THOMMEN AG focuses on its aircraft instrument business.
After the wrist watch business has departed, the company sets its feet into new territory by expanding its mechanical cockpit instrument business through the introduction of electronic aircraft equipment.
This includes air data systems and helicopter searchlights.
In 2012 ”GT Thommen Watch AG”, the joint-venture partnership of Andreas Thommen, Roland Buser and Christopher Bitterli buys the IP rights for the watch business from REVUE THOMMEN AG and commences to revitalize the brand in the Swiss wrist watch business. They appoint Swiss Initiative Limited (SIL) as sole license holder for the production and worldwide distribution in 2015.
Now being solely an aviation industry supplier, REVUE THOMMEN is acquired by TRANSAS Group in 2012, a Russian technology company, which hands over its shares to the Russian private investor Sistema on October 4th, 2015.
The decline of demand for mechanical aircraft instruments in the aviation industry and economical pressure also led REVUE THOMMEN AG to restructure.
REVUE, the former brand name of wrist watches, is removed from the company name in order to clearly identify the company as supplier to the aviation industry. In 2015 it is rebranded as THOMMEN AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT AG, and it takes a leap by selling its mechanical aircraft instrument business to SATHOM, a subsidiary of the French aircraft component MRO company SATORI Sarl, in June 2016.
SATHOM stays at the original location of REVUE THOMMEN and is granted a license to continue the production and sale of mechanical aircraft instruments under the THOMMEN brand name.
In 2016, THOMMEN AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT moves from Waldenburg to a modern location in Muttenz, Switzerland, closer to Basel, where it focuses on development of electronic aircraft clocks, air data systems and helicopter searchlights, cabin/emergency flashlights.