Over 119 years of innovation and quality craftsmanship, Speidel has served generation after generation. Throughout the century, our company has delivered a wide scope of products, including watch bands and accessories, costume jewelry, lighters, ID bracelets, and even briefly produced cathode-ray tubes. Most notably, the Twist-O-Flex watch band created in 1959 has withstood the test of time. It was considered the ultimate fashion statement then, light-years ahead of its time. This still stands today.
As a leader in the jewelry industry, it is our promise to provide an ever-evolving line of quality timepieces and jewelry accessories. Most importantly, we will always deliver excellence at an affordable price for generations to come. You never sacrifice quality or style when you choose nationally known and trusted Speidel.
World renowned Speidel Company was founded by Fredrich Speidel. With an initial investment equivalent to $10 today, Speidel began his business by making gold and silver chains with his wife in the basement of his home in Pforzheim, Germany.
Speidel is credited with developing the gold-over-metal method of manufacturing, also known as “bi-metal.”
Speidel’s first factory was built with state-of-the-art machinery. These machines automated the production of gold chain
Speidel’s three sons, Albert, Edwin, and Eugene are sent to America to establish a branch of the family’s jewelry chain manufacturing business. The Speidel Chain Company was officially founded in the United States.
The company’s first headquarters, 70 Ship Street, was designed by Monks & Johnson - a five-story building with a European-style front. The area later became known as the jewelry capital of the world.
Automatic Chain Company was founded by Speidel, which produced neck chain, chain-by-the-foot, and watch bracelets.
Beginning with chain and evolving into costume jewelry and watch bands, the men’s watchband line in particular took off and surged in popularity due to military use in World War I.
At this time, Albert Speidel formed “Speidel Brothers,” which produced watch bracelets that were manufactured and sold primarily to wholesalers.
All Speidel businesses were merged into the Speidel Corporation to strengthen the company’s position. Albert Speidel was appointed the first president in Providence, Rhode Island.
Paul Levinger was hired by Speidel Corporation as assistant.
Passing away at an early age due to pneumonia, Albert Speidel’s role as president was handed to his brother, Edwin, founder of the Automatic Chain Company. Paul Levinger was appointed vice president.
All shares of Speidel Corporation held by German stockholders were purchased by Edwin and Paul.
After a lull in business during World War II, Speidel came back stronger than ever with watch bands. The Golden Knight was unveiled; the first modernized version of the scissor-type expansion band. This was a tremendous success in the field of men’s watch bracelets.
In order to gain traction, Speidel began to build brand recognition through magazines and radio. Radio’s “Stop the Music” program succeeded in making Speidel a nationally known name.
Keeping up with the times, Speidel discontinued radio advertisement and moved towards television. The company is one of the earliest television advertisers in the United States.
Costume-jewelry was discontinued.
Identification bracelets were born in light of the Korean War. The Photo Ident was a combination ident bracelet with photo and an expandable wristband. After television advertisement, it was an immediate success.
Men’s jewelry manufacturing began in an effort to combat heavy competition in metal watch bracelets from Japanese imports.
This move was heavily opposed and forced Speidel to change its method of distribution from general jobbers to sole distributors.
After a few years, the men’s jewelry line did not prove successful and it was discontinued.
In the meantime, heavy investments are made into the development of automatic equipment to produce a bracelet similar to the German Fixo-Flex. Levinger worked out a license contract with the inventor, Karl E. Stiegele. The first automatically produced bracelet under this patent was introduced as a test under the name of Kingsway.
The company officially introduced the new watch band as the “Twist-O-Flex,” which still exists and thrives today. It was considered light-years ahead of its time, which has been proven throughout the years. The company’s independent distributors were enormously profitable
due to the success of the Twist-O-Flex.
In addition, Speidel also introduced a line of chain ID bracelets called Big Boy/Best Girl in an attempt to diversify. This move increased steadily over the years and remains one of the most popular bracelets sold in the industry.
The Ladies’ Twist-O-Flex and Youth Twist-O-Flex are unveiled.
Levinger sells Speidel to Textron Inc.
Speidel enters the men’s toiletries market with men’s fragrance, British Sterling. With aggressive and successful marketing, Speidel became one of Textron’s top local divisions in sales volume and performance.
The company’s marketing reach expanded tremendously, starting with Canada and branching out to Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) Business Supplies was founded. The company manufactured metal watch bands directly for watch companies such as Seiko. Seiko
had just introduced the first “quartz” watch, a 100% machine-assembled timepiece. This success drastically reduced watch prices.
At this time, Speidel also began its watch replacement program for mass merchandiser. This move made it easier for consumers to find the appropriate-sized watch band replacement at their local store
The Euro-Flex watch band was born, the newest version of the highly successful Twist-O-Flex. This upgrade featured heavier metals and contemporary, European styling.
Product expansion continued with the introduction of the “Signet” watch line in 1994; a patented plastic top shell watch band in 1995; and the first watch band with rubberized coating in 1996.
Speidel was sold by Textron to Austrian-based Hirsch Armbaender AG, the leading manufacturer of leather watch bands in Europe, and became Hirsch-Speidel Inc.
Speidel’s original Ship Street property was sold and the company relocated to East Providence. Following this, Speidel also shut down its manufacturing operations and outsourced. Only a portion of production continued in Rhode Island with local manufacturing companies and the balance moved overseas.
The company celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004.
In 2009 Cerce Capital LLC, purchased Speidel's assets.
In 2011 Speidel acquired Speidel IDs and Medilog from Diversified Metals ensuring all Speidel brands were under the Cerce family portfolio.
In 2013 the Cerce family acquired the assets of Anson from Narragansett Jewelry Co., Inc. The Anson products are proudly made locally in Providence, R.I.
Speidel opened its first Flagship store and Watch Repair Center and moved the headquarters to its permanent home in Wayland Square, Providence.