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Every minute an experience
The Pilot Watch Magazine
01 February 2024

Spanish entrepreneurship and Swiss tradition

Festina is a Spanish-based watch manufacturer with headquarters in Madrid and logistics center in Barcelona, whose history dates back to the beginning of the last century. The company was founded in 1902 as a watch assembly plant and distribution company in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. At the same time, the motto Festina lente – meaning rush with time – appears for the first time on a dial of the young watch manufacturer – the birth of the brand name Festina. Today, the brand belongs to the Festina Group, along with a number of other well-known names – Lotus and Jaguar, for example.

Festina was acquired in 1984 by the Spanish entrepreneur Miguel Rodriguez, who already owned the Lotus watch brand. Rodriguez unites the two companies under the name Festina Lotus and initially moves the company headquarters to Barcelona. At the end of the 1980s, the company acquires the Swiss luxury brand Jaguar, founded in 1938 – the beginning of the Festina Group. In the years that followed, other brands found their way under the umbrella of the Spanish holding company, such as Candino, another Swiss watch brand, in 2002.

New technology applied to both classic and trendy designs that have made Festina a benchmark brand.


A global reference brand

With the aim of establishing a modern high-end production facility in Switzerland, Rodriguez buys the range manufacturer Dubois Technique Horlogère – now MHVJ – and the hairspring manufacturer Astral Technologies in 2003. Other component manufacturers follow. Furthermore, the business with quartz watches, which had been expanded in the 1980s for the mass market, is discontinued and, in return, the division with high-quality mechanical timepieces is consistently expanded. Festina is now represented in more than 90 countries on five continents with high-quality timepieces – a global brand. New technologies applied to classic and trendy designs have made Festina a true reference brand over the decades.

More from Festina

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