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The idea of producing Czechoslovak wristwatches was first mentioned soon after the end of World War II. The desire of the leadership back then was to reduce dependence on imports, especially from countries in Western Europe. Wristwatches were not previously produced in Czechoslovakia; however, it was possible to use the experience and modern Swiss movements that were used during the war for making time fuses.  


In the autumn of 1949, Adolf Martínek was commissioned to set up a new plant in an unused building of the National Committee and prepare for the serial production of wristwatches. He and 15 other colleagues therefore embarked on a task that only eight other countries around the world had managed to successfully do.

The production of a mechanical movement is an extremely demanding process technologically. The developers in Nové Město nad Metují were aware of it. They therefore began to look for the most suitable movement for serial production, one that also fulfilled their requirements in terms of accuracy and other technical parameters. After many attempts, they finally chose the French Lip movement which they adapted according to their needs. 


However, before being able to start producing prototypes, it was necessary to acquire special machines. Under the conditions of that time, purchasing these machines abroad was a difficult and lengthy process, with the technology only becoming fully available at the end of 1954. However, the imaginative employees were able to cope and used the machine tools they had at their disposal for the prototype production - they even created some components manually. This resulted in 12 prototype watches, which were given the name SPARTAK.

The SPARTAK watch prototypes (of which several dozen were subsequently produced) were subjected to demanding testing, closely monitored not only by the plant management, but even by the government commission for control tests. This was followed by a period of preparation for series production, which included the acquisition of additional technology and the training of employees. 


Only five years after the start of the assignment, it was possible to produce 1,500 wristwatches with a movement made almost entirely by the employees of the Nové Město factory. From today’s point of view, somewhat curious, amateurish tests were prepared for this watch. They were given to workers from a variety of industries, as well as soldiers and government officials. After the completing the year-long test, during which the wearer had to keep detailed records, they could keep the watch after paying 150 Czech crowns. With nothing left to stand in the way, this effectively marked the start of production at the factory. The first Czechoslovak wristwatch was purchased in 1958. First, however, it was necessary to choose under which brand name the wristwatch would be manufactured and sold.

The PRIM brand was chosen, which at that time was also used for timepieces manufactured in other plants of the state enterprise Chronotechna. Initially, the so-called "loaf" logo was used, as was the case for alarm clocks and wall clocks. Later, however, the graphic design was simplified to meet the requirements of modern dial design.

The creator of the so-called "standing" PRIM logo, which has been used for wristwatches since the 1970s, is the designer Josef Žid. Until the 1990s, the designer's work was to design watches, too, which is why Josef Žid was commissioned to design the new logo. In addition, the need for a new graphic design of the brand´s logo was supported by the fact that in 1969 the factory in Nové Město nad Metují became completely independent and started operating under the name it still bears today - ELTON.


The production of the watch started successfully and it became apparent quite quickly that the premises provided insufficient capacity. It was therefore decided to build a new factory on the outskirts of the town. In 1975, ELTON officially moved there.

Until the 1990s, the factory in Nové Město nad Metují produced hundreds of thousands of wristwatches a year, a total of over 12 million from the start of production. After the so-called Velvet Revolution, however, watches from foreign brands began to flood the Czechoslovak market - from luxury ones to the cheapest Asian ones. Interest in Prim watches gradually declined and for a while it seemed that the production of Czech wristwatches had no future. 


Fortunately, interest in domestic products gradually revived. To survive within this business environment required a change in strategy and production. Price-wise the company would never be able to compete with the cheap watches from China and other countries where labour costs and quality requirements were incomparably lower. It was therefore decided to convert the factory to small series production. In 2008, the production of new mechanical movements began, as a result of which ELTON hodinářská joined the ranks of important watchmakers whose work is based on manual skills, precision and an individual approach to the customer.