COMEX - Continetal Machinery Exchange Corp.


Swiss Automatics

Swiss Sliding Headstock Automatics Since 1873 – A History

The Swiss Watch industry made great strides towards volume manufacturing of watches during the mid 1800's. Most watchmakers equipment built during that period was based on designs by Abraham Louis Brequet (1747-1823), a Swiss citizen producing watches in Paris for the European Royal Courts. The first watchmakers Lathe he built in 1796 included several dividing discs for duplication of hole locations and decorative patterns. Documents dated 1860/1870 mention the first Swiss Automatic screw machines, the same period during which Brown & Sharpe (1865) and Spencer (1873) patented their automatics in America!

The first machines built in Switzerland were designed for or by a few large watch part manufacturers strictly for their own use, they did not register any patents in order to keep their manufacturing methods a secret. Sphinx was using a design by Mr. Schweizer who was one of the founders of this firm. Laubscher Brothers used a similar design produced by one of its employees, Mr. Tschopp. It took only a few years for independent builders to design and produce their own versions.

In 1888 the Nicholas Junker Firm started to build Automatics in Moutier. Junker was taken over by Mr. Mancia and Mr. Megel around 1918. We are told that Mr. Mancia was of Italian origin, the Italian translation for Lathe is Torni hence the new firm was named Tornos. It should be noted that Tornos is also the Spanish translation of Lathe. The automatic shown was built in 1896 by the Firm of S. Lambert which was created in 1894 by the merger of Muller AG and Lambert of Grenchen. This Lathe seems to be a evolutionary design of the Schweizer system. Lambert built Automatics for about 30 years. They still produce gear machinery at their modern plant in Safnern Switzerland. In 1902 Joseph Petermann started to build his own brand of Swiss Automatics. In 1904 he was joined by Mr. Andre Bechler, who then started his own business in 1914. This writer was working at the Bechler factory in 1960 and still vividly remembers Andre Bechler walking thru the factory checking on everyone and everything


Bechler AR-20EAR-10E, S/N 52-2545, (1967), Standard Headstock, Front Ball Bearings, 3 Spindle Universal Attachment 52-015-1899, Electric Camshaft Accelerator, Original Bechler Blue Paint $14500


Tornos M7Tornos M7, S/N 25876, (1950), Needle Front Headstock Bearing, 3 Spindle Drilling Attachment, Automatic Barloader, LNS Gattling Gun Type, 32 Tubes, 5/32 Diameter Bar Capacity, 12 Ft. Bars $16,500

Tornos RR20 , S/N 27988, (1966), Needle Front Headstock Bearing, 3 Spindle Drilling & Threading Attachment, Model 13 CA, Single Point Thrd. Chasing Attach., Mdl 20 CD Pickup Attach., Mdl. 14-BA, Back Drlg. Attachment, Model 12-BC, Model X-CC, Camshaft, Shut-Off, Good Condition $24,000


Strohm M125, S/N NAR 7459, (1965), Ball Front Headstock Bearing, Endworking Attachments Optional, Camshaft Accelerator, Just Removed From Service, Good Running Condition $12,000

Strohm M125, S/N NAR 7751, (1966), Ball Front Headstock Bearing, Endworking Attachments Optional, Camshaft Accelerator, Just Revoved From Service, Good Running Condition $12,000

Strohm M205, S/N M205N113, (1956), Ball Front Headstock Bearing, 3 Spondel Drilling & Threadng Attachment, Camshaft Accelerator $5,000


Petermann PO, S/N 14742, Sleeve Front Headstock Bearing, Parts Machine $300

Petermann PO, S/N 16280, Sleeve Front Headstock Bearing, Single Spindle Threading Attachment, Picup & Slotting Attachment $2000

Petermann PO, S/N 16269, Sleeve Front Head stock Bearing, 4 Tool Machine, Not Attachments $500