The Early Years
In reflecting back on Georges Ducommun’s humble beginnings, it is safe to assume that he was probably not picked out as “the boy most likely to succeed”. Born into a poor family, he was one of 13 children. Georges learned the importance of hard work and discipline early on. At the age of 12 he was apprenticed to a watch assembler – specializing in taking the many different individual parts of a watch and uniting them into 1 living, breathing timekeeper.
Within 8 years, Georges was ready to take his first steps towards independence and self-reliance. This is something that has come to be a hallmark of DOXA throughout our history. Georges opened his own watch repair business at the ripe old age of 20. While the internet boom, and the culture of “start-up” companies wouldn’t be documented for close to another hundred years, Georges was once again ahead of his time, doing whatever was necessary for his business to succeed. And unlike those of us at DOXA today, Georges did not have the helping hand of Federal Express! He often made his deliveries on foot, logging nearly 20 kilometers round trip - even in the dead of winter.
Hard Work Rewarded – The Birth of DOXA
Georges wanted to do more than merely repair someone else’s watches, he wanted to create a watch of his own. He had achieved a great deal of success, and had established a solid reputation for his repair work, but he felt that there must be something more. Once again, glory whispered to him – and this time Georges was ready to answer.
A Legend is Born – in a Garage?
Up until this point, Georges was still working from a workshop in his backyard. Not unlike other companies such as HP, Ford, Apple and Microsoft – DOXA was truly born in the garage! It did not take long for Georges’ unique workmanship to be recognized beyond Neuchatel – in 1905 he was honored in Liege, Belgium, and in the same year one of his timepieces won the gold medal at the Exposition Internationale in Milan, Italy. Beyond blue ribbons and gold medals, Georges hit upon perhaps one of the most important innovations of the era – a watch with a long-enough power reserve so that it would not need to be wound every day – or even every other day! In 1908 Georges presented his 8-day movement.
What’s in a Name?
Although he had been in business since 1889, Georges felt it was time to finally realize his ultimate vision and produce his own timepieces with his own movements. In 1910, Georges registered the name DOXA. DOXA - Greek for GLORY. The die was cast, and Georges devoted himself to the promotion of his watch firm with the single mindedness of a man possessed.
And so it came to pass that the once poor apprentice found himself living in the Chateau des Monts (which is today home to the world renowned Le Locle Horological Museum). No more walking for Georges, he now made his rounds by carriage.