History and future

Fairfax & Roberts launches exclusive watch brand into Australia.

22 June 2018


To celebrate 160 years, Fairfax & Roberts is going back to their roots as watchmakers and introducing the first of three exclusive Swiss atelier watch brands into the Australian connoisseurs’ market.

The first step for the company to extend their offerings for the discerning gentleman and watch collector comes with the launch of Schwarz Etienne in June 2018. Exclusively available at Fairfax & Roberts, Schwarz Etienne is at the vanguard of lesser-known but highly creative brands coming out of Switzerland.

Their watches are hand crafted, with one artisan responsible for everything from design through to the build and decoration. Production is extremely limited, adding to the brand’s exclusivity.

Schwarz Etienne was established in the city of La Chaux-de-Fonds during the Golden Age of Swiss watchmaking. Paul Arthur Schwarz and his wife Olga Etienne founded the brand in 1902 and created what has become a forerunner of the watch industry. The unique identity of La Chaux-de-Fonds, a city built by and for the watchmaking industry, was recently recognised when it achieved UNESCO World Heritage status.


Schwarz Etienne has always been revered as a creator and manufacturer of high-value and innovative mechanical timepieces and movements. These movements are principally intended for the brand’s own products and for a specific clientele, appreciative of extraordinary feats of craft and exceptional design.

The growing reputation that Schwarz Etienne has enjoyed over time has seen the company produce watches for prestigious brands including Dunhill, Coventry, Jaguar, Chanel and Mauboussin.

In presenting its La Chaux-de-Fonds TSE tourbillons, Schwarz Etienne proves to be one of the very few manufacturers able to showcase its capability of being entirely autonomous in producing all component parts of the assortment. The arrival on the market of its own, entirely crafted and manufactured calibre, reinforces the standing of Schwarz Etienne as one of the great names in haute horlogerie.

The TSE movement combines technical virtuosity and aesthetic finesse. This delicate, complex mechanism is one of the most ingenious mechanical watchmaking devices. It is praised by all fine watchmaking connoisseurs. Beyond technical performances, the TSE can be appreciated for its aesthetic fineness, faithful to the traditional fine watchmaking spirit: bridge cage especially developed for Schwarz Etienne, straight Côtes de Genève decorated bridges, polished angles, or gold rimmed wheels.

Fairfax & Roberts story began in 1836 when optician and jeweller Richard Lamb set up a business on Sydney’s main street. He was joined by Alfred Fairfax, of the Fairfax newspaper dynasty, and in 1858 they established themselves as Sydney’s finest artisans. Initially working as clock and watchmakers, the company stamped its presence on Sydney by designing and producing the clock in the tower at the city’s Central railway station in 1873.

By 1886 the company was known as Fairfax & Roberts and was designing and creating luxury jewellery, watches and objet d’art for Australia’s wealthiest families. Since then, Fairfax & Roberts has continued to thrive as one of Australia’s most pre-eminent luxury jewellers with a reputation for outstanding quality, continual innovation and customer service.

“The opportunity to bring Schwarz Etienne’s exquisite watches to Australian connoisseurs is one that we are truly excited about,” says Georgina Brujic, CEO, Fairfax & Roberts.

“This is a brand that aligns perfectly with our own philosophies around craftsmanship and integrity – with the ability to surprise and delight – and we look forward to sharing that with our customers.”


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