Roamer started making watch movements in 1888, it was not until 1940 before Roamer started to make watches that were marketed as the ‘Roamer’ brand. Roamer were a big and influential watch company predominantly during the decades from 1940-70’s. The interesting thing is that the company made everything themselves: movements, bracelets, crystals, parts, dials, crowns. Everything was manufactured at the Roamer factory in Solothurn, Switzerland where the company is still today. During their peak time, in the late 1960’s, they had 1400 employees.
The first in-house automatic movement, MST 410/411 appeared around 1950, complete with a patented bi-directional rotor and decoupled manual winding system. The company also produced an alarm watch with calibre MST 417 a few years later. The waterproof Anfbio line appeared in 1955, along with many patented innovations. Roamer also used Felsa movements, particularly for calendar watches, as Roamer’s own designs were lagging.
One notable Roamer employee was Bernard Humbert, a noted horologist and Professor of Complications at the Watchmaker’s School in Bienne/Biel. He was responsible for many innovations in the 1950’s and 1960’s, culminating with the 44 jewel MST 436 movement in 1962. This movement would become Roamer’s masterpiece and signature accomplishment, refined as the MST 470 family later that decade. The Rotopower 44 line was quite successful, as were the more modern Mustang, Stingray and Vanguard lines. Please watch the video below showing adverts of some of Roamers Vintage models.
In the year of 1982, well into the Quartz revolution, Roamer stopped making mechanical watches, a very sad day… In 2003 Roamer started to make mechanical watches once again, but I think the best years are possible behind them.