In 1853, Charles-Félicien Tissot, a gold case-fitter, and his son Charles-Émile, a watchmaker, joined forces to found the "Charles-Félicien Tissot & Son" assembly shop in Le Locle, Switzerland.
The Tissot catalogue included a large range of pocket watches and pendant watches, mostly in gold, richly decorated or with complications. Their quality was widely recognised at national and international exhibitions as well as at chronometry competitions. During the 1900 World's Fair, the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt bought an 18 carat gold pendant watch.
Mainly destined for export, Tissot watches were sold in the United States from 1853, and in the Russian Empire from 1858. Family ties were added to commercial ties when Charles Tissot, Charles-Émile's son, moved to Moscow in 1885 to manage the branch his father had set up there, and started a family with a Russian woman. Until the beginning of the October Revolution in 1917, the Russian Empire was Tissot's biggest market, where Tissot timepieces made it as far as the Tsar's court.
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