A Short History of Helbros
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    A Short History of Helbros

    I've been doing some research on a Helbros watch given to me and thought I would post what information I've accumulated. Today Helbros is owned by Jules Jurgensen. They are the value/affordable line similar to the ESQ to Modovo relationship except they have had the relationship since 1913. Helbros made some watches themself but were much more of an assembler/marketer than a manufacturer. Because of contract manufacturing you can find vintage Helbos watches from Germany, Switzerland, and even a few from France. I know it's not much but I there isn't much out there.

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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    Back in the '50s and '60s Helbros watches were advertised quite a bit. I got the impression at the time that they were like Elgin or Bulova. When I started collecting vintage watches regularly a few years ago, it became obvious Helbros had no following and was not a player among vintage watches.
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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    Quote Originally Posted by pacifichrono View Post
    Back in the '50s and '60s Helbros watches were advertised quite a bit. I got the impression at the time that they were like Elgin or Bulova. When I started collecting vintage watches regularly a few years ago, it became obvious Helbros had no following and was not a player among vintage watches.
    I believe that is because they were like today Invicta, your never quite sure what your going to get, based on the name.

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    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    Great stuff.

    Of course, being a New York based company Helbros is virtually unknown in the UK. Just having a quick google, it seems that Helbros became a subsidiary of Elgin at some point. See:

    http://www.ftc.gov/os/decisions/docs...ES_325-405.pdf

    and there is an extract in a book about Helbros and spying/money channeling in WW2 here:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=W...elbros&f=false

    (page 295)


    A bit about Helbros electic watches:

    http://www.electric-watches.co.uk/ma...os/helbros.php
    Last edited by Marrick; August 16th, 2009 at 09:04. Reason: Better link
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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrick View Post
    Great stuff.

    Of course, being a New York based company Helbros is virtually unknown in the UK. Just having a quick google, it seems that Helbros became a subsidiary of Elgin at some point. See:

    http://www.ftc.gov/os/decisions/docs...ES_325-405.pdf


    and there is an extract in a book about Helbros and spying/money channeling in WW2 here:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=W...elbros&f=false

    (page 295)


    A bit about Helbros electic watches:

    http://www.electric-watches.co.uk/ma...os/helbros.php
    First the Court case is interesting but the date of 1969 and the named Elgin Watch Co being organized in Delaware suggests that it is more likely that Elgin was a division Helbros. The Elgin National Watch Company changed it's name to Elgin Industries and stopped making watches in the 1960's. It was also organizzed as an Illiinois company. I assume that the name was sold at some point but rest assured, that if the case would have been against Elgin Industries if it involved the earlier watch company.

    The court case revolves around deceptive trade practices in the sale of watchs specifically the advertising and marking of the watchs with prices for more than there actual trade value. This would be consistant with a value/affordale marketing strategy.

    The spying charges are interesting but the fact that they were an agent, for the US Goverment, procuring Swiss watches for the war effort fits with the contract manufacturer profile I posted.

    You do put in doubt the date that Helbros and Jules Jurgensen became associated. The fact that Jules Jurgensen is now an American compay just brings forward the question just who controls who.

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    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    Fair enough. Hopefully someone with definitive knowledge will drop by - you never know.
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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    Helbros supposedly stands for "Helvetic Brothers" and was a Chicago based company and is still in business. You can find out who currently owns it and further information of this sort through the several different commercial watch associations that exist in the USA.

    As a rule, they used good quality movements and were similar, if smaller than Benrus.

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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    Helbros is owned by Jules Jurgensen here is a link to the history page of their website http://www.julesjurgensen.com/about.asp When a Swiss watchmaker moves to the US and starts assembling watches here. Yet they have a subsidiary, for which that was the business model for many years, isn't resonable to wonder just who's management is in charge.

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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    Perhaps, there are just fewer of them. Mine was appraised at $850 in 2009 and it is a beauty. I've also seen others and it seems to me as though it is a collected vintage watch, just like the others.

    Quote Originally Posted by nsmike View Post
    I've been doing some research on a Helbros watch given to me and thought I would post what information I've accumulated. Today Helbros is owned by Jules Jurgensen. They are the value/affordable line similar to the ESQ to Modovo relationship except they have had the relationship since 1913. Helbros made some watches themself but were much more of an assembler/marketer than a manufacturer. Because of contract manufacturing you can find vintage Helbos watches from Germany, Switzerland, and even a few from France. I know it's not much but I there isn't much out there.

  10. #10
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    Re: A Short History of Helbros

    According to the trademark registry, the trademark for "Helbros" was assigned to "The Elgin National Watch Company" in 1968, and was reassigned back to "Helbros Watches Inc" in 1974. There's another trademark listed for "Helbros Regency" which was registered in 1947 by "Helbros Watch Company Inc", that was also assigned to Elgin in 1968, and back to Helbros Watches in 1974. The last registration linked to "Helbros Watches" was in 1991, and it was canceled in 1998. All the "old" registrations for Helbros died (weren't renewed or were canceled) by 1991 or 1998, with the exception of the registration for "Helbros Invincible". That one was registered in 1981, and wasn't cancled until 2002. A new trademark was registered by Jules Jurgensen in 2001, but was abandoned. Another one was registered in 2005 (again by Jules Jurgensen) and is the only "live" registration in the system.

    The list of assignments shows an interesting blip though. In 1992, many of the trademarks got reassigned to something called "Congress Financial Corporation", and and then reassigned to "Helbros International Inc" in 1993.
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