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Committed to the tradition of craftsmanship
The Pilot Watch Magazine
08 March 2024

German pilot watches with Swiss tradition

Guinand is a Frankfurt-based watch manufacturer whose history began in Switzerland in the middle of the century before last and which continues to produce high-quality mechanical chronographs to this day. The history of the brand tells of the pioneering spirit of the founding fathers, of Swiss watchmaking art, but also of drastic economic crises and their overcoming through ingenious inventions.

Guinand was founded in 1865 by the two brothers Julien-Alcide and Charles Leon Guinand in Les Brenets, a small Swiss town near the French border. The business flourished and the small watchmaker quickly became known far beyond the borders of its home country. Timepieces from Guinand – initially made from bought-in components – were sold to Germany, Scandinavia and the United States.

Watchmaking ingenuity and entrepreneurial talent

An economic downturn in the late 1870s caused Guinand to lose the American market – a serious threat to the fledgling company. In search of a way out of the crisis, Leon Guinand demonstrates both horological ingenuity and entrepreneurial talent: he develops his very own chronograph and launches it on the market in 1881. Other in-house developments soon followed.

By the turn of the 20th century, production already included a whole collection of sophisticated timepieces. Among them a small sensation: a new type of tachymeter chronograph, with the help of whose tachymeter scale speeds of 10 to 150 kilometers per hour can be measured. Later, high-quality pocket and wrist chronographs are added. In addition to production for its own company, Guinand also supplied numerous other renowned watch brands in the following decades and, thanks to its specialization in complex chronographs, even survived the great brand extinction at the end of the 1970s.

Our watches combine the tradition of Swiss watchmaking with the construction principles of German pilot watches.


Pioneer of the modern pilot watch

As early as 1960, the Frankfurt watch enthusiast, pilot and entrepreneur Helmut Sinn and his eponymous watch brand became one of Guinand’s most important customers. Sinn is considered a pioneer of the modern pilot’s watch. The mechanical timepieces he developed are still the model for many pilot watch manufacturers today in terms of functionality and design, as well as due to their high recognition value. In 1961, Sinn also introduced direct sales of watches to end customers, which was very innovative at the time. He summed up his goal of avoiding price markups with a motto that is just as valid today as it was then: “As perfect as possible, but only as expensive as necessary”. In 1995, after selling his own watchmaking business, Helmut Sinn acquired Guinand from its owner family and moved the company headquarters to Germany.

Exclusivity for connoisseurs

Matthias Klueh has been the new owner of Guinand since the beginning of 2015. The engineer and watch enthusiast continues the production of chronographs in high-quality craftsmanship in the spirit of the founding family at the Frankfurt headquarters. The portfolio will continue to bear the signature of watch pioneer Helmut Sinn and the company will continue direct sales, i.e. sales ex works and via its own online store. All models are manufactured exclusively in small numbers, which gives them exclusivity. Lovers of the Guinand brand appreciate this.

More from Guinand

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Precision watches Made in Germany



Experts in mechanical timepieces