Georges Ducommun, the founder of Doxa, was one of 13 children born in the small town of Le Locle, deep in Switzerland’s Jura Mountains. At the time, Le Locle was considered the birthplace of the Swiss watchmaking industry. In 1880, at the age of 12, Georges began his apprenticeship with an established local watchmaker.
In 1889, at just 21 years of age, Georges was in business for himself as an independent watchmaker. He quickly built a solid reputation for excellent customer service and attention to detail. Initially, he was simply involved with servicing watches. However, his natural curiosity and ingenuity gave him the belief that he could make a better watch. Thus, the brand Doxa was born. Doxa is the Greek word for glory.
It didn’t take long for Georges’ unique craftsmanship to be recognized beyond Switzerland. In 1905, his pocket watch was honoured at the “Exposition Universelle et Internationale,” the World Fair held in Liege, Belgium. He was honoured again with a gold medal for an anti-magnetic Doxa at the 1906 World Fair in Milan, Italy.
In the early 20th century the automobile revolution was well underway and rallies and races needed to be timed. Georges ingenuity comes to the fore when he develops a reliable dashboard-mounted timepiece. It was robust, reliable and had a suitable power reserve. In 1908, he filed a patent for the “8-Day Doxa Caliber” and it became a standard piece of equipment on Bugatti racing cars.
Georges died in 1936 and the company was taken over by his son-in-law. Unlike, many of its contemporaries, Doxa survives to the present day. In the 1960s they developed a range of quality dive watches that are still popular today. I think Doxa produced a robust and reliable range of watches throughout its history. However, I don’t see them belonging in the upper tiers of the Swiss manufacturers. That is certainly not to say that they don’t produce quality timepieces and I may end up adding a Doxa to my collection in the future.