JAZ Watch & Clock history and identification

JAZ logo clock & watch years approximation (see details and examples below)

The first logo used by Jaz was a simple design; strong, block capitals with a slight stylised curl to the tail of the ‘J’, but no other embellishments of any kind. These logo types are found on early products, mainly alarm clocks, which were the timekeeping products that Jaz initially produced after its founding in 1919 (source, official website).

In 1941 the ‘Jaz Bird’ logo was created. During the German occupation of France in WWII, the Jazz music genre was considerably frowned upon due to carrying pro-American influences. However, attempts to censor the spirit of jazz and its influences were thwarted through the use of images of the the “Jaseur” (waxwing in English) bird, a migratory bird about the size of a starling. The Jaz brand used this bird as its logo to symbolise its defiance, and their success was unstoppable. In 1943, the ten millionth unit was produced, and when France was liberated, JAZ was the number one French clockmaker (source). The waxwing ‘Jaz bird’ emblem is one of the most commonly used brand logos.

JAZ (thick, block capitals)

JAZ (thick, block capitals with waxwing bird above the brand name)

Competition with the Japanese market began in 1983 with the popularisation of quartz watches in Europe. To promote their brand, Jaz began to advertise their “Made In France” image.

JAZ logo are being exist in some other variations as well.

Representative examples of Jaz watches and clocks

Jaz First ‘Classic’ Alarm Clock

First ever product type to be launched in 1919, this example from 1920-30s

Jaz France Retro Alarm Clocks:

JAZ Chrome Alarm Clock – French – 1950’s-1960’s (Source).

JAZ Chrome Alarm Clock – Green – French – 1950’s-1960’s (Source).

Jaz (Pre-Seiko Movement) Classic Watches:

JAZ Incabloc – French – 1970’s (Source).

JAZ ‘3003 Datic’ – Swiss-Made – Day/Date – ETA 9158 Electro-Mechanical Movement – 1970-1975 (Source).

JAZ ‘Jazistor’, also called ” the transistor hour ” Watch – French – A flagship item in the 1970-1971 catalogue (Source one; Source two).

JAZ ‘Chrono-Jaz’ Watch – Chronograph – French – 1972-1973 – Versions JZ 180-1; JZ 180-2; JZ 180-5 respectively (Source).

Jaz Paris French Watches:

JAZ PARIS – Panda Model N8YZ669 and N8YZ63 – Three Subdials – Circa 1980 (Source).

Jaz Paris Stretched Dial Watches:

JAZ Paris – Classic Women’s Watch with Stretched Dial – Seiko Movement – Circa 1980 (Source).

AZ Paris – Classic Women’s Watch with Stretched Dial – Seiko Movement – Circa 1980 (Source).

Jaz / Seiko Disney Watches:

JAZ by Seiko – Disney Mickey Mouse Watch – Model Y121-X046 – Japanese – 1990-1999 (Source).

JAZ by Seiko – Gold Coin Style Mickey Mouse Watch – Japanese – 1990-1999 (Source).

JAZ by Seiko – Glow-in-the-Dark Mickey Mouse Watch – Japanese – 1990-1999 (Source).

Jaz Watch and Clock Advertisements

JAZ Watch Ad for the ‘Classic Alarm Clock – First advertisement found – 1923 – By Gerda Wegener (Source).

JAZ Watch ad for the new alarm clock version – First ad found with waxwing ‘Jaz bird’ emblem – 1947 – by René Ravo (Source).

JAZ Watch Ad – For the ‘Chrono-Jaz’ – “For those who like to win” – 1972 (Source).

JAZ Watch Ad and Catalogue from 1972 -1973 – The ‘Chrono-Jaz’ (Source).

JAZ Watch Ad – ‘Jazistor’ or ” the transistor hour ” – 1970-1971 (Source).

JAZ Ad – After the absorption of the Jaz brand into Matra Holdings in 1983, Jaz was solely focused on appealing to the American market – Circa Mid-1980’s (Source).

JAZ ad for the JAZ PARIS Quartz watch with Seiko Movement – Esquire men’s magazine – 1985 (Source).

JAZ Watches ad – Art Déco Réédition – 1989 (Source).

Jaz Watch Boxes:

Original Box for the JAZ ‘Classic’ Mechanical Alarm Clock – The first timekeeping device ever produced by Jaz Circa 1920-1930 (Source).

Original Boxes for JAZ Alarm Clocks – French – Mid-20th Century (Source).

Original Box for JAZ Alarm Clock – French – Late 1950’s-Early 1960’s (Source).

JAZ PARIS Watch with Original Box – French with Japanese Seiko Movement – 1980’s (Source).

JAZ by Seiko Disney Watch – Original Seiko Box and Papers – Japanese – 1990-1999 (Source).

Brand Connections

The decline of JAZ as an individual brand started in 1983 when they were absorbed, along with Yema and Framelec, into a consortium owned by Matra Holdings. Yema had already been producing JAZ branded watches since 1982. The JAZ Paris brand started using Seiko movements, the models of which were then used specifically to target the US market. In 1988, Matra Holdings effectively sold out to Seiko France, forming the new larger consortium, C.G.H. (Compagnie Générale Horlogère). From 1988 onwards, JAZ became just another albeit ostensibly French sub-brand of Seiko (C.G.H), using Hattori quartz movements in their watches, as dictated by their Japanese owners. Hence fortuitously the existence of the JAZ N8 ‘7A38’ (source).

Conglomeration of brands under Seiko, 1988 (source).

The Seiko watch company had signed on to collaborate with Jaz in 1947, although co-production didn’t start for many years. Seiko worked with Jaz on their popular “Made in Paris” line in the early 1980’s and 1990’s, which were still French made, but with Seiko movements. However, due to the quartz crisis, and cheap competition from Asian products, in 1998 Jaz joined the trend and commissioned most of their supplies for their Jaz Tech quartz line from Asia. For a brief period, budget Disney-themed watches were made under the Seiko “Jaz” and Lorus “Jaz” name for $20-$50, before the Jaz brand partnership was discontinued by Seiko in the late 1990’s (source one; source two).

According to some sources, Lorus (a division of Seiko) was established in 1982, and first started to manufacture the Mickey Mouse watches from 1986 until the late 1990’s, after Seiko was awarded with the license to manufacture Disney Watches in 1986. Apparently it was under the Lorus brand that Jaz produced the Disney watches, rather than the general Seiko brand with which they collaborated in their “Made in Paris” watch line. Jaz was a short lived label under Lorus (source).

Additional Links:

Collection of Jaz Watch Posters from 1923 to 1989.

Jaz Watch Official Website.

Jaz Watch Official History.

History and Information on the ‘Jazistor’ Watch.

History and Information on the ‘Chrono-Jaz’ Watch.