Saturday, April 9, 2011

JAZ - the success of the 1930's

As early as 1924, Jaz began exporting clocks not only to other clock producing countries in Europe, but also to the Americas and to the Far-East. As its reputation grew, so did the number of models as well as technical improvements of the mechanical movements. Until 11930, most of its clock models were round clocks in brass, chrome or small square ladies clocks in the same materials.
Then in the early 1930's, aa new material came onto the market that would revolutionize manufacturing: Bakelite. As Jaz preferred to customize its components, it named the bakelite used in its model Jazolite. Coinciding with new casings was the new major technical advancement of an 8 - day movement to replace the 30 hour movement. New clocks now only required winding every week instead of every day.
New alarm clock models began filling the shelves and Jaz strongly promoted the idea of a clock in every room in the house including the kitchen.

Berric model 1935

Lotic model 1934

Lorric Model 1937

Persic model 1938

Lucic Model 1935
Every model produced came in different dials, with luminous or non luminous hands but the same finish that could be kept pristine with a simple wipe of a cloth.

In 1934 they produced a large mantle sized clock using a new type of movement that was almost silent and did not include an alarm . The Silentic had something unique: a tiny triangle in the  12 indicating that the clock needed to be wound when it showed red.

Gotic model 1931

Janic model 1934

Romic  model 1931

While bakelite was widely used in a large selection of clocks, other materials (brass, chrome and porcelaine) continued to be utilized in an ever expanding line of models.

The Romic (left) was one of the most popular models. Its use of shiny chrome, the semi-circular design, the 'beehive' hands and the luminous numbers appealed to the Art Deco style.

With its expanding markets, Jaz began print advertising and to distinguish it from its competitors, most of its ads were in black and red on a white background.

Jaz was the leader in the number of styles, models and overall sales until WWII, when materials became rarer and workers were drafted into military service.
Until 1941, all Jaz clocks had the word JAZ stamped on the dial above the 6.

When the Third Reich invaded France, the Nazis objected to the use of the word JAZ because it was interpreted as a symbol of 'decadent American music'. To circumvent their objection (and possible closure of the production plants) the directors explained that the name JAZ referred to a small bird, the Jaseur BorĂ©al and bore no relation to the music. As a result, all clocks manufactured after 1942 had a little bird stamped above the Jaz name. The bird's tail was directed downward and this was used until 1967, when the bird's tail was then directed upward.
After 1975, the bird disappeared and the name JAZ now appeared under the number 12.

JAZ - the beginnings

As WWI drew to a close, the industrial revolution took wings. As a result, engineers and technicians who imagined, designed and produced the machines that produced objects in large quantities at a cheaper price became a driving force in this new economic reality. Before then, it was clockmakers who created clock manufacturing plants.
In 1919, a small group of French engineers - 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.
Why the name JAZ? There are two  schools of thought: one believes that it was the first letter of the family names of the original three engineers and the other  believes that it was in reference to the new American music sweeping the Continent.

The first model that was a produced was le Classic in 1921.
From the beginning, all Jaz clocks had both a model number and a model NAME..and ALL model names finish in "ic".
This first model was revolutionary. The alarm bell was on the back of the clock and not on top. It had a button that allowed the alarm to be turned off and because of the thickness of the metal used, the sound of the alarm bell was more melodic and richer than the usual shrilly, ear-splitting sound of a tin hammer against a tin bell.
Another revolution was the same model - The Classic L produced with luminous numbers and hands allowing time to be seen in the dark.
More than 10.000 of them were sold during the first year - which represented an exceptional success.

In view of their initial success, the company decided on a unique and potentially risky marketing and sales approach. Their clocks would only be sold through retail clockmakers and jewelers, never in catalogues reasoning that even the smallest of villages had a clockmaker.
Another very imaginative marketing initiative was that Jaz did not advertise in magazines or newspapers for their first ten years. Their target market was the workers and few of them read papers or magazines but....everyone went to the movies! So Jaz created some of the first silent, animated advertisements to be shown before the main feature. Apparently this approach was so successful that clockmakers and jewelery shops located in large cities, near movie houses would remain open until the end of the last showing to give people an opportunity to buy a Jaz on their way home.

Replic model 1920

Given the success of their first model, a new similar model le Replic was produced. It came in four sizes, but the big difference was the new mechanism - The Calibre D - that was so sturdy, it was used in most of their clocks from 1921 until 1955, a unique achievement.

Between 1921 and 1930, Jaz steadily built up and solidified its hold on the French utilitarian clock market. They always emphasized that they were French-made and to position the brand, they were always called a 'JAZ', never a Jaz clock. Like many other everyday objects, they wanted JAZ to become synonymous with time telling...and it did.

CUBIC model in brass 1928

CUBIC model in chrome 1928

The CUBIC was one of the  first models sold as "a luxury clock for ladies" with a little window to set the time for the alarm.