The history of SARO-Gem

The history

The family from Burg in Bettlach SO near Grenchen at the foot of the Jura mountains has been involved with the production of watches for more than 100 years, and for over 40 years SARO-Gem has been producing sapphire wristwatches of exceptional elegance and longevity.

Every timepiece that leaves our factory is individually produced by hand and consecutively numbered. Using first-class materials, our workers produce unique, limited-edition pieces.

How it all began


Watches were already in my heart as a child, and later on my wrist.

Rolf von Burg

In 1979, Rolf von Burg travelled to his customers in the Middle East. At that time he was employed in his parents’ business, dealing at that time with cheap watches without sapphire glass. Through his business trips, many informative conversations and a close feeling for his customers, Rolf von Burg ascertained the following facts:

  • What was desired was a wristwatch that can be worn in everyday life, even somewhat incautiously, without its glass becoming scratched after a short time, and without becoming unattractive, battered or damaged.
  • The brand name must be short, concise and easy to pronounce. The brand name Electrowa, under which he was still operating at that time, was not catchy, but rather too technical and emotionless, and thus exactly the opposite of the sapphire wristwatches he was already creating in his head.

He tried to bring to fruition those ideas which he always carried with him.

This process lasted the whole night. But the result could be seen clearly – high quality, robust, suitable for everyday use and at the same time a piece of jewellery that brings a smile to one’s face. The basic idea was that not only the watch glass should be produced from sapphire, but the entire Watch bracelet.

Back in Switzerland, Rolf von Burg decided to develop the idea. In close collaboration with technicians and designers, he produced the first prototype. The feasibility was proven.

In a second step, we developed the right dimensions and shapes to ensure the watch bracelet had the necessary flexibility and at the same time ensured perfect comfort for the wearer. From now on, elegance would go hand in hand with technical and mechanical requirements.

And we are far from being tired of further development and innovation.


Rolf von Burg’s grandfather and father together with a customer.

> Read the whole history

February 1982

  • After two years of searching for a suitable product name, the SARO brand was created and registered as a trademark. It means: Sapphire Round Over. As such, the brand already indicates the company’s purpose, namely to produce watches that are enriched all around with sapphire stones.

July 1984

  • Rolf von Burg proudly presents his new creation: the first watch bracelet with sapphire crystals over its entire surface was registered as a protected design.

November 1989

  • The super waterproof crown system with two seals was registered. Suddenly, the water resistance of our wristwatches, which was already good, became excellent.

February 1990

  • Our technicians developed a patented process for soldering glass with stainless steel. Thanks to this method, it was now possible to connect a watch glass to a casing part in a stable and waterproof manner without any lateral support.

April 1990

  • The “StopBlock” is patented. This is an adhesive film used to prevent any impurities entering the watch mechanism. This film is installed in the rear of every SARO-Gem watch.

June 1992

  • The popular Integral model is registered as a protected design.

May 1998

  • The company name SARO is changed to SARO-Gem. The addition of “Gem”, gemmological or gemstone watch, makes the company’s purpose, namely that of producing precious-stone wristwatches, even clearer.

January 1999

  • For the first time, a watch bracelet with domed sapphire stones could be produced and registered as a protected design. The new slogan “Take the best, never the rest” was created.

April 1999

  • The new product “Carat AQ” is presented at the Basel watch and jewellery fair. This relates to the Carat model with the unique Auto-Quartz genetic watch mechanism from ETA. Housed in a sapphire casing, fitted with the legendary SARO-Gem sapphire watch bracelet with a total of 70 carats, both are unbeatable. The success of this design was also correspondingly good.

June 2000

  • Internet access and email addresses are established.

April 2001

  • Exhibition at Basel World

June 2001

  • On 7 June 2001, the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe rejects Rado Uhren AG’s action against us. With this, the court puts an end to a three-year legal dispute and orders Rado Uhren AG to pay all legal costs. Rado Uhren AG had attempted to present us as copyists and freeloaders. This “shot” had now clearly backfired. The court clearly stated that our jewellery watches were not copies of Rado, but that rather, on the contrary, SARO-Gem wristwatches were a further development and thus in no way comparable.

November 2001

  • Awarded the 31st International Award for Commercial Prestige (New Millennium Award) in Madrid. This prize is awarded to companies that have brought an excellent product to market.

February 2002

  • The new stands 3 and 4 are picked up in Basel. Participation in Inhorgenta, Munich.

March 2005

  • The first casings for the model BuonGusto 43 are delivered.

June 2005

  • Table showcases were rebuilt – display gradation – lighting – plexiglass all around.

November 2006

  • Model BuonGusto 43 with sapphire watch bracelet is presented for the first time.

March 2008

  • Radio sponsoring of DRS 1, OM (opsion musique) and C3 (canal 3) until December 2009 arranged.

April 2009

  • New homepage activated. Now accessible via and New email account also established,

August 2011

  • The wide (22mm) sapphire watch bracelet for the model BuonGusto 43 is available in various colours.

September 2011

  • Model San Remo presented in Martigny.

December 2011

  • After months of testing, we finally succeed in producing a sapphire watch bracelet that also contains stars in its colour. The stars can also be arranged irregularly, which provides a very natural-looking appearance.

June 2014

  • The new homepage is activated.

April 2015

  • Sponsor partnership with the travel organiser The GOLF BUTLER and their series of golf tournaments.

May 2017

  • The Integral Globe 24 h is put to paper. The starting shot for our newest model.

October 2017

  • New homepage project started with the company Netwalk in Zurich.

January 2018

  • The Integral Globe 24 h makes it first appearance at the FESPO in Zurich.

May 2018

  • New homepage including configurator goes online.
    We are also on Facebook.

May 2018

  • Official presentation of the Integral Globe 24 h in Dübendorf at the Aviation Museum.

February 2019

  • The Integral 32 is ready for delivery.
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