• Jaz
  • The history

The history

Once upon a time,Jaz

As WWI drew to a close, the industrial revolution took wings. In 1919, a small group of French engineers lead by the French Ivan Benel and the Swiss Louis Gustave Brandt - realizing that there was a very lucrative potential market for alarm clocks (essential elements to get the industrial workforce up and into the workplace on time) decided to create a manufacturing process that would "produce an alarm clock in large quantities, of superior quality and pleasing presentation, capable of competing with foreign imports."

The brand name JAZ was born.

Compared to French-made alarm clocks, one has to wonder about that endless succession of devices whose charmless style faded so forgettably into the background. Were they made in Germany, America, or Japan? There was clearly room for improvement, and a whole market to open up.The challenge became clear to me.Ivan Benel

The first JAZ model was called the Classic, but that is hardly the word to describe this minor revolution in the clock making world: the timbre was fashioned in such a way that the musical frequency it emits is close to Re. That’s how the celebrated crystalline bell so typical of JAZ was born!

Also, the stop button for the alarm was placed on the top, so silencing the alarm was a new and perfectly natural reflex for users.


Let’s be clear: “Jaz” should never be thought of as a “Jaz alarm clock”, some useless and even annoying appliance. Forget the term “alarm clock”. It simply doesn’t apply. Instead, focus on its synonym, the “Jaz.” It’s everywhere: clean and powerful in its case, and these words appear at the end of the film: Manufactured in France, like a signature…

You might even say it’s an appeal for a strong statement of style.

Georges Scemama Ad Executive
We’ve launched a pilot to export clocks to our Asian business associates… Who would think of marketing a completely unknown brand, French no less, in a country already over-saturated with merchandise? The next thing you know, cables and letters pour in placing orders. The next day, several thousand units are sent out, and that’s just the beginning.Ivan Benel
The Jazz-bird appears

During the German occupation of France in World War II, “Jazz” was considered a suspect musical genre bearing pro-American influences. However, the censors were thwarted by images of the “Jaseur” (waxwing in English), a migratory bird about the size of a starling. The brand’s success was unstoppable, and in 1943, the ten millionth unit was produced, and when France was liberated, JAZ was the number one French clockmaker.


The 1950s to the 1970s were the golden years for Jazzers and the JAZ clock. In 1957, the 20 millionth JAZ was sold, and more than a million alarm clocks, wall clocks, and watches were being manufactured per year. Representing a third of the market, JAZ was by the far the biggest in France, and it also exported 20% of its product catalogue abroad, especially to Italy, Spain, India, and Brazil.

In total splendor

With the launch of a line of watches and success with electronic clock innovations, effective ad campaigns, and excellent product distribution, JAZ reached an 87% level of notoriety in France. It’s a dream come true for the marketing department. Exports were certainly not lagging behind, with 74 countries covered, for profits reaching 35 million francs.


Jostled by the Japanese quartz that hit Europe, JAZ strikes back in the U.S., promoting its “Made In France” image! The success is tremendous! JAZ becomes the number one French clock making brand in the U.S., with 200,000 watches and 100,000 alarms and clocks sold in the land of the Timex and the Hamilton.


Times got tough for French clock makers. Jaz was not spared, so it chose to position itself at the high end of the market and in retro design as a means of contending with Asian « plastic-quartz » competition. In the spirit of that approach, JAZ issued re-editions of luxury products featuring bakelite and precious wood.


« Made in France » no longer applies, victim of low-cost and affordable Asian competition. JAZ joins the trend and commissions most supplies for its Jaz Tech quartz line from Asia. But the Jaz 1919 line continues to honor the continuity and tradition of French manufacturing with its use of the finest refined materials.

Jaz, since 1919
Today,Jazthe adventure continues