The Bernhard H. Mayer brand is evocative of a rich heritage known for high precision craftsmanship in precious metals since the late 1800s. The timepieces that bear the Bernhard H. Mayer brand today uphold the timeless tradition of excellence once admired by European nobility and royalty.
Today, the Bernhard H. Mayer brand has come a long way from its origins in numismatics in the town of Pforzeim that has been associated for over 200 years with jewellery and watchmaking. The premium Swiss watches under the Bernhard H. Mayer brand today uphold the same rich tradition pioneered by master craftsmen since 1871.
Bernhard H. Mayer, a talented metal engraver and entrepreneur, founded the family enterprise by setting up his workshop in the small German town of Pforzheim – a place that came to be renowned for jewellery and watchmaking.
1880 - 1890
A testament to his talent, in just a few years, the Mayer name became synonymous with high precision craftsmanship in precious metal.
By the late 1800s, the Mayers received their first contract to create commemorative medals for European Royalty and Nobility of the time.
By the turn of the century, BH Mayer was a prominent figure in Pforzeim. He bought and drove the very first automobile in the city. He was inspired by his relative Bertha Benz – the wife of automobile inventor Carl Benz – who had driven from Mannheim to Pforzheim (the world’s first long-distance trip in an automobile).
The Mayer name became truly international at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900, an event that became emblematic of the Belle Epoque, and established Paris as the world capital of luxury and lifestyle.
The House of Mayer was awarded a silver medal at the Paris World’s Fair for their creation of a medallion commemorating the new century.
The new century proved fortuitous for the Mayer business. It was a time of great prosperity in Germany. Rudolf Mayer, Bernhard’s son, took over the family business and expanded it to international markets and soon they were minting coins and medallions for central banks as well as governments of foreign countries.
During this time, the family patriarch, Bernhard H. Mayer, developed a passion for engraving pocket watches, which were an important status symbol of the time. In those days, pocket watches were made of gold and silver and inlaid with precious gems.
Little did he know that his hobby would one day lay the foundation for the modern Swiss Timepieces from the house of Bernhard H. Mayer.
The end of an era. The family’s Founding Patriarch Bernhard Henreich Mayer passes away.
1914 - 1930
The onset of World War 1 and the subsequent economic turmoil nearly crushed the Mayer family business. Millions of Germans experienced financial hardships. Yet, Rudolf Mayer did not give up and found a way to keep afloat while inducting his sons into the family business.
The third generation takes over. Rudolf’s sons Eberhard and Bernhard join the family business. Bernhard with his flair for creativity took over as the chief artist, designer and sculptor.
Eberhard Mayer, began managing the commercial aspect of the business. Their efforts soon began to pay off.
The Olympics were held in Berlin for the first time. The House of Mayer was chosen as the exclusive manufacturer of gold and silver medals for the Summer and Winter Olympics in Germany!
This is the year that Jesse Owens famously won four track and field Gold medals.
The winning streak for the Mayer brand continued into 1937 when they were awarded a Gold medal at the World’s Fair in Paris.
This would be the last expo held in the city before the deluge of World War II.
1939 - 1945
Bernhard and Eberhard Mayer were both called away to serve in the army during World War II. Sadly, Bernhard is martyred in the War.
The Mayer family factory buildings and administrative offices were destroyed in the bombing of Pforzeim during World War II.
It would take the Mayers and a group of their loyal employees 16 years to rebuild the business.
The Mayers are back; stronger, and better!
The Franco-German rapprochement under Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer led to the two heads of states visiting each other’s countries to improve relations and establish peace. The Mayers are commissioned to create commemorative medallions featuring the two statemen, which is well received by them.
A new era begins. The fourth Generation Mayer, also named Bernhard, takes over. He works on expanding the business across the Atlantic into the USA.
The Centenary year. Celebrating 100 years of excellence in luxury craftsmanship.
Coin watches, a concept pioneered by luxury Swiss watchmaker Corum in the 60s was growing as a niche market among discerning luxury customers. The Mayers tapped into this trend.
In a nod to its numismatic history and a tribute to its Founder’s passion, the first limited edition Bernhard H. Mayer coin watches and coin jewellery came out of the Mayer atelier and proved to be an immediate hit.
This was the beginning of a new era for the Bernhard H. Mayer brand.
Bernhard H. Mayer® enters into a strategic partnership with the QI Group, a journey that continues till date.
Bernhard H. Mayer® moves base to Switzerland, the global mecca of watchmaking.
Five generations later, Bernhard H. Mayer stays true to its century-old spirit that began in 1871, proving time and again — A tradition of excellence is timeless.
We are committed to crafting timepieces that combine the time-honoured tradition of watchmaking practiced by our master craftsmen with the latest in horological advancements. Each timepiece is an expression of our commitment to our heritage of excellence.
Bernhard H. Mayer timepieces are assembled in Switzerland, in accordance with the guidelines of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry for using the label ‘Swiss Made’. Every timepiece is the work of master craftsmen in Swiss watch workshops in traditional watchmaking villages.