Updated: Jun 30, 2021
Here I will be talking about lost watch brands that used to be popular once upon a time, but now most people do not know about them, including WIS people.
Today I am going to talk about Roamer, another one of those brands lost to time during the quartz crisis, now, it is still sold, but the new company owns the name but has no links with the heritage of the original brand.
Roamer was established in 1888 by Fritz Meyer. During their humble genesis, they only had 6 employees and produced only 1 product, cylinder escapement.
In 1895, they started making their own watches, using ébauches, cases, dial, hands, and everything from other manufacturers. In 1897, they had 60 employees and had created their first caliber (Caliber 38). In 1900 they registered themselves as proper watch manufacturers under the name of Femina, targeted towards ladies.
According to Trim's vintage Roamer Site,
"In 1909, MST began their foray into international markets - with the setting up of the UK branch (The Medana Watch Co.) by Fritz's son Leo Meyer. The UK was a significant stepping stone for MST and would remain one of their most important markets until the 1970s. After setting up the branch, management passed to another son, Charles Meyer, in 1915 - a position he would continue to hold until his death in 1945. MST was truly a family enterprise. 1915 also saw the granting of MST's first registered patent - the first of several about concealed movement mounting screws."
MST was registered after J. Studeli joined the company and Roamer was established. In 1932, All major components, movements, cases, and dials were made in-house. Note the MST branded dial printing machine in the photograph. By this stage, MST employed around 1,200 workers. As was common with many Swiss companies of the time, MST offered extensive welfare assistance to its workers and their families - this would later become the Roamerhaus Welfare Centre.
Roamer was a household name in European and Asian countries, and it was a sturdy yet quality swiss watch. In India, people called it RW, as their previous logo had RW on top with 5 diamonds. Rolex had filed a lawsuit against Roamer, saying that their logo is similar to theirs. They had to remove that, but people continued to refer to them as RW. As HMT was prevalent in India, Roamer, Enicar, etc., were seen as luxury brands. Owning a Roamer was a status symbol, and it was a matter of pride if you owned even one. They were not allowed for mass sale, so they were smuggled here and sold at a premium. But for most European countries, they were entry-level luxury watches and were of great quality.
Roamer watches were robust, functional, and stylish—all the things a common working man needed in a watch.
Roamers were one of the most stylish and modern watches of their time. Even in the 70s, they were producing some very modern-looking watches, but when they changed hands, the quality went downhill.
Roamer still operates and is owned by a Chinese watch group. Though, the current brand has no links with the previous brand except for the name.
Vintage Roamers were High-Quality Watches that were affordable but were workhorses. If you get a chance to buy a good condition vintage piece, do not hesitate in putting your trust in this brand
PoshTime, Vintage Roamer Site, Watchuseek, Roamer