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Ollech & Wajs

The first mail order Swiss watch brand
The Pilot Watch Magazine
Ollech & Wajs
08 April 2024

Military-inspired pilot’s watches as rugged everyday companions

The story of Ollech & Wajs, known simply as OW for short, begins in 1956 in Zurich, when the young Swiss watch enthusiast Albert Wajs and his friend Joseph Ollech decide together to open a boutique for luxury watches. Albert Wajs is already active in the watch industry. Since the early 1950s, he has supplied various watch manufacturers with exclusive stainless steel bracelets.

Albert and Joseph initially start by distributing the well-known Breitling and Omega brands, before launching their first chronometers under their own banner in 1959 – including professional pilot’s watches. Here, by the way, OW is the first Swiss watch brand ever to send timepieces all over the world by mail order. Even today, all Ollech & Wajs watches are designed at the headquarters in Zurich and manufactured in Haute-Sorne – a community in the Swiss Jura – according to the high Swiss standards of precision and quality.

Pilot’s watches from Ollech & Wajs are worn by elite pilots and NASA astronauts alike, and have become synonymous with quality and reliability worldwide.

Ollech & Wajs

The decline and rebirth of Ollech & Wajs

The functional watches with the clear and appealing design are very popular all over the world, especially among pilots, divers and soldiers. But with the advent of the quartz watch in the 1970s, sales plummet and interest in mechanical watches drops precipitously. Ollech & Wajs try to buck the general trend, but the two Swiss sell fewer and fewer watches, the brand seems to slowly but surely disappear from the market.

But as we all know, dead men live longer. And so it happens that in 2017 Ollech & Wajs is taken over and successfully revived by an OW representative for the French market, a competent and long-time watch collector. The vision is clear: old spirit and new models, that is, military-inspired pilot, diver and tool watches as rugged everyday companions, exclusively proven mechanical movements, classic design, reliable movement values – all available at affordable prices. Ollech & Wajs are back in the race.

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