Recently, I purchased a vintage Fero Feldmann Ladies Snake Bangle Watch as a gift for my wife. It is a good quality watch with a 15 jewel Swiss lever movement. My wife is not really into watches, but she loves snake-themed jewellery. This post isn’t about the watch, as it isn’t an antique. This article is about the obscure, possibly fictitious, manufacturer, Fero & Cie.
According to the well-respected horological trademark index site, Mikrolisk, Fero Feldmann was registered as a company in 1950. The name was re-registered again in 1959 and 1970. Mikrolisk also has references to a Fero & Cie, but without any date listings. I searched for examples of Fero branded watches online and there are plenty out there, but these watches all date from the 1950s. In general, they are all of good quality with Swiss made movements and 15 or more jewels. Later watches, from the 1960s onwards, appear with the Fero Feldmann brand on the dial.
The history before the 1950s is vague at best. I have found mention in a number of online forums of the earlier Fero & Cie. No dates are provided, other than a reference to the early 20th century and there is no attribution of the data source. On each occasion, it looks like the text was simply copied from one online forum to another. The next three paragraphs are a paraphrased version of what I found online.
Fero & Cie history
The Fero brand name and company dates back to before World War One. Apparently, around this time, Roger Ferner founded Féro & Cie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The brand name derives from the name of the founder. It takes the first two initials of his two names (FErner ROger). Between the founding of the company and the early 1950s, there is a gap in both the recorded history and surviving watches branded Fero.
Apparently, the Fero Watch Company did produce watches under other brand names, including Ceneri, Farad, Ferio, Hello, Legation, Maloja, Pantheon and Tango. It may be that some of these other names appear on pre-World War Two Fero & Cie watches. It would suggest though that throughout the history of the company, both pre-and post-World War Two, the brand designation in the vast majority of watches was Fero, with or without the name Feldmann depending partly on the date of the watch.
The written records begin in 1950 when the company registered the business name. Initially, the company continued to use the term, Fero Watch and branded their watches, Fero. The new partnership itself was registered in 1950 as “Feldmann & Cie./Fero Watch” with its base now at Wolfwil in Switzerland. Note that the same basic company details registered in 1950 were re-registered in 1959. However, now the Feldmann name is listed as part of the branding of the watches, as “Fero Feldmann”. This suggests that the use of the branding, “FERO Feldmann” began around this time.
From the registration of 1959 until a new registration in 1970, it is evident that Feldmann & Cie of the Fero Watch Company were in business producing a variety of wristwatches under the Fero Feldmann banner. Interestingly, after the registration in 1970, the branding reverted back to the simpler Fero. The original Fero Feldmann concern was probably a victim of the Quartz Crisis. It seems that the company did not survive beyond about 1980. There are no examples of Fero Feldman producing any quartz watches. The company was officially deregistered from the Solothurn commercial register in 2009, probably due to years of inactivity.
I searched online for examples of vintage or antique watches under the brand names listed above. I couldn’t find a single example. All of the watches I have seen with the brand Fero or Fero Feldmann all date from the 1950s onwards. I find it hard to believe that there are no written records prior to the 1950s and no surviving examples of watches made by Fero & Cie. I beginning to wonder if Fero & Cie, was a fabrication to generate a sense of heritage. If anything concrete emerges about Fero & Cie, I will update this page.