Helbros began in 1913. The name actually comes from its founders, the Helbein Brothers. They were middle class Swiss German watchmakers who set out with one primary goal…that goal being to design and manufacture a quality timepiece that could be made affordable to the working public. 1913 was an era when only the relatively well-to-do could afford a timepiece.
The two brother’s success was enough to make their watch brand, Helbros, a household name throughout the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. In the 1940’s, Helbros was very much in the midst of the War Bond efforts of the United States. In the 1960’s, they designed a watch that actually told lunar time. The interesting part of the history of Helbros is that while other watch companies have changed ownership many, many times in their relatively short history, Helbros has only ever been in the hands of three ownerships…each interestingly enough trained by the previous.
The current Helbros still boasts management dating to 1972, trained by the management in place from the 1940’s, in turn trained by the Helbeins themselves.
The Helbros Electric and Electronic watches below all employ the West German PUW movements. The first set of picture show a rather sorry looking electric PUW 1000 that must have sat in water for some time; half of the copper coloured shunt bridge plate has completely rusted away and there are numerous large iron fragments stuck to the magnets. This one is never going to run again!
The second set of photographs show various electric Helbros watches with the PUW 1001 movement: the first one is a chromed case version while the last one is a rather rare Mickey Mouse gold plated Helbros. The PUW 1001 only differs from the PUW 1000 in having a date mechanism.
Lastly, a Helbros containing an electronic PUW movement, the PUW 2001.