The name Ollech & Wajs began in 1956, when Zurich resident Albert Wajs decided to partner with his friend Joseph Ollech and open a luxury watch shop, initially retailing Breitling and Omega before launching their own brand: Ollech & Wajs Zürich.

Albert Wajs spearhead the company and specialised in the assembly of reliable and accurate watches using proven movements (Dùbois Depraz, Landeron and Valjoux), with robust cases in stainless steel (Maison Etienne), Tritium hands (Universo à la Chaux de Fonds) and functional and legible dials (Brothers Lender du Locle). Ollech & Wajs manufactured under different brands, including OWZ, Helsa and Piz Palu, before focusing on OW in the early 1960s.

The Ollech & Wajs range consisted of men's chronographs, diving watches (in particular the Caribbean 1000, which was, as its name suggested, the first 1000m water resistant diving watch), military watches, much appreciated by American soldiers who ordered OWs for entire battalions during the Vietnam war and also pilot’s watches, which the French Air Force commissioned for active use.

At the beginning of the 1970's, new OW models made their appearance whilst the English series “The Professionals” contributed to the brand's fame with actor Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins both sporting the OW Caribbean 1000!

It was during this period that the appearance of cheaper, quartz Japanese watches and an increasingly intense competition lead to a decline in production of OW watches. Albert Wajs never wanted to manufacture anything other than mechanical watches (Ollech and Wajs is to this day one of the very few Swiss brands that never adopted quartz movements), and therefore looked for new markets, convinced that Swiss quality mechanical watches still had a future.

After Breitling ceased trading in 1978, Wajs bought tooling and stocks (just like Patek Philippe and Helmut Sinn) from Breitling and produced the Navitimer under one of his own brands: Aviation, which traded for almost two decades before he relaunched OW in 1995.

True to his word, Albert Wajs insisted on using only mechanical movements and recreated a range of sports OW watches which ran until 2017, when Albert Wajs retired and found new ownership for his company.

The brand, now under new ownership has taken Ollech & Wajs back to their mechanical heyday with all watches designed at their headquarters: Ollech & Wajs Precision A.G. on Bergstrasse in Zurich and then individually assembled and adjusted in Haute-Sorne, in the Swiss Jura.

Ollech & Wajs claim each watch to have a 90% Swiss origin with just straps and packaging to originate from Italy and United Kingdom.

Ollech & Wajs are now exclusively available in the UK at Stewart’s. Please contact us if you would like any further information.

Other News Articles


Posted: 06 June 19