In early 19th century, the small towns in northwest region of Switzerland such as La Chaux-de-Fonds and Granges, became the centers of Swiss watchmaking. At that time, Racine was a well-known family of watchmaking based in Granges.
Founder Ariste Racine reversed his last name to establish the brand “Enicar”. Ever since, he devoted himself to produce high quality timepieces, among of few, his innovated readable pocket watches, were most-loved by European soldiers and railway crews during WWI.
The new factory set up in Bienne was a significant move that enabled the growth of Enicar’s avant-garde watchmaking excellence. With its name widely spread across European countries, the automatic waterproof collection successfully made its debut to the markets.
Late 30s – 50s were the period of great change. Enicar created a series of Sherpa watches: Dive, Divette and Mini-dive with endurable designs that can live up to extreme harsh environment - corrosive seawater, high pressures, and rapid temperature changes.
With pioneering vision, Enicar’s mechanical watches never ceased to lead the markets with trends. During the 40s, the brand continued to grow with an aim to explore new boundaries. The first chronograph model appeared for the first time in the market marked a prominent step to success.
Enicar took a great step forward with the design of Sherpa jet watches, which were designated by US Air Force during WWII. After war period, Sherpa Collection entered Asian market with gusto to offer Asians both the advanced complications in aviation timing and later on, the mountaineering timing. Today, Sherpa Collection still remains as one of the most remarkable models.
In the early 50s, Enicar received the first certification of accuracy from the renowned Neuchâtel Observatory - the forerunner of C.O.S.C. (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). The certificate was a symbol of highest precision and reliability.
The 1956 Swiss Expedition set out to conquer successfully the summit of Mount Everest and the Himalayan Ranges, was equipped with Enicar chronometers which had brought the world’s acclaim after the ascent. One of the members, Ernst Reiss, credited the watch for its exceptional precision in extreme weather conditions. Meanwhile, the waterproof Ultrasonic dive watch – Sea Pearl was introduced.
Enicar Ultrasonic Sherpa Chronometer was installed on the rudder of Mayflower II – the replica of 17th century Mayflower. Though immersed into seawater for the 50-day Atlantic voyage, the watch was proved to run with excellent performance in face of harsh conditions, as credited by the ship Captain Alan Villiers.
The British Formula One Champion Stiring Moss took Enicar Ultrasonic Sherpa Chronometer as the reliable timekeeper at his trials. Struck by exceptional performance, the Sherpa varieties were later on, highly acclaimed by Australian World Tennis Champion Ken Rosewall and British Motorcycle Racing Champion Geoff Duke.
An exhibition illustrating the daily life of Lei Feng, the China's people comrade, showcases the accessories including his Enicar watch - all in his Memorial Hall.
Evolving beyond the traditional confines of watchmaking, Enicar unveiled the latest model – Supertest that featured Rubyrotor movement with 30 jewels. The simplicity of the system guaranteed high precision and kept correct time to the second.
Late 60s to 70s were the world of quartz movements. Enicar introduced quartz watches featuring Beta 21 movement developed by the renowned Centre Eletronique Horloger in Switzerland and had won “The Watch of Precision” at the Neuchâtel Observatory. Sherpa Quartz was proudly presented to the market for the first time.
In 1993, Sotheby’s had a large auction of Soviet space ware, of which the antiques Enicar vintage models firstly became a spectacular part. These timepieces were a splendid collection owned by Sergey Korolyov, the eminent Soviet rocket engineer during 50s – 60s.
Enicar was selected as the official watch sponsor for the 12th Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan. In 1996, Enicar also became the official gift sponsor for the Chinese delegations in the 26th Atlanta Olympic Games.
Damien Hirst, a renowned English artist, created his art piece with Enicar dials as the skull eyes. The art piece was later on recognized as one of his collections in 2007.
Enicar watch had previously been mentioned in the novel “Frog” written by the 2012 Chinese Literature Nobel Laureate Mo Yan. “The man who gave the Enicar watch to aunt is an Air Force pilot......everyone thinks that aunt and the pilot are a perfect match.” (Mo Yan 2009, Chapter 1 Section 6).
Enicar is more than a familiar name, but also entwines a story about success and precision. Now, a centennial later, 2014 is Enicar’s glorious year and the brand celebrated its 100th anniversary dedicated to its long history and tradition in watchmaking.