La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1947: Mr. Willy Lebet starts his own watch company. La Chaux- de-Fonds is a city in the so-called cradle of the Swiss watch industry and saw, like its close neighbour Le Locle, several watch companied blooming in the 19th and 20th centuries. La Chaux-de-fonds is the highest city in Europe and has a long winter and till recently its population lived from the watch industry.
In the early 50’ Mr. Lebet moved his company to La Neuveville, a small village only 25 miles away from La Chaux-de-Fonds. Soon he registered a new brand name CATENA and in 1959 his son Claude took over the command of the company. At that time the company was specialized in the assembling of mechanical watch movement and the company grew fast.
At that time, mechanical watches still reigned supreme and few manufacturers dared to leave the beaten track by releasing a particularly original watch. But CATENA already at that time shone by its unconformity and produced its own unique design. This was the famous “Spaceman” inspired by the flying saucers that ere a great subject of conversation at the time and which met with a resounding success a little later on most world markets. The “Spaceman” even landed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This success encouraged the Catena management team and the dynamic owner, Mr. Lebet, to commit themselves ever further in the production of finished watches and to envisage a brand policy. Since that time much snow has fallen on the superb Moléson Mountain dominating the factory. The Catena Collection grew with quartz watches pushing out most mechanical models.