Domenico Morezzi – Italy’s forgotten watch movement manufacturer

Domenico Morezzi was born in Masserano, Italy in 1897, but moved to Switzerland early with his parents. At the Technicum in Biel/Bienne he graduated as a watchmaker in 1916 .

Domenico Morezzi
Source: www.domenicomorezzi.it

Until 1936 he worked in Grenchen, Switzerland. Unfortunately, it is not known where exactly he worked there. In 1937 he decided to return to Italy and open his own watch company there. He did not just want to build watches, he also wanted to develop watch movements.

With two partners, Ottina and Papis, he founded O.I.S.A, the Orologeria Italiana Società Azionaria.

Source: www.domenicomorezzi.it

The company was initially located in Milan in the Viale Regina Margherita 9. However, with the outbreak of World War II they moved to Oggiono. After the end of the war, the company returned to Milan, but to new headquarters in the Viale Bligny 28. Until 1955 they produced watches with their own cases, dials and movements there.

Milan, Viale Bligny 28  (06/2018)  Source: Google Maps

Because of internal conflicts Morezzi finally left the O.I.S.A. in 1955 and founded the new company F.A.A.O., the Fabbrica Artigiana Abbozzi Orologeria, in Corso Como 10 in Milan. The O.I.S.A. was apparently closed down in 1957.

Coat of arms of Morezzi
Source: www.domenicomorezzi.it

Domenico Morezzi died in 1968. His daughters Carla, Gianfranca and his grandson Carlo Boggio Ferraris continued to run the company until 1978. After all, the company became a victim of the quartz crisis and had to close down its business.

Carlo Boggio Ferraris maintains the heritage of Domenico Morrezzi on his website www.domenicomorezzi.it (Italian only). You can find much more information and pictures there. Many thanks to Carlo for granting permission to use his material here!

Now, let’s turn to the watches and movements of OISA and FAAO.

OISA used the following brands for their watches:

  • OISA EXTRA
  • XAROS WATCH
  • HEMEROS WATCH
  • YARI WATCH
  • DAY

Here’s an example of a XAROS WATCH:

And a HEMEROS that looks like a car tire:

A PDF catalog of OISA, in which numerous watches and some movements are shown, can be found here:

www.domenicomorezzi.it/images/Catalogo%20OISA%20in%20pdf.pdf

The catalog is undated, but probably stems from the period around 1950 – 1955.

OISA Uhr
Source: OISA catalog

The following OISA watch movements are listed there or on the website mentioned above:

OISA 51 =  OISA Xaros

  • 10 1/2”’ (french lignes) diameter (approx. 23.7 mm)
  • 17 Jewels
  • Pin lever escapement
  • Small second
  • Rocking bar winding mechanism
  • Click mechanism on dial side
  • Dial side marked with OISA 51
OISA 51

OISA 53 =  OISA Hemeros

  • 10 1/2”’ (french lignes) diameter (approx. 23.7 mm)
  • 17 Jewels
  • Pallet lever escapement
  • Small second
  • Rocking bar winding mechanism
  • Click mechanism on dial side
  • Dial side marked with OISA 53
OISA 53

OISA 56

  • 10 1/2”’ diameter
  • 17 Jewels
  • Pallet lever escapement
  • Sweep second

OISA 97 =  OISA Day

  • 6 1/4 x 8”’ (approx. 14 x 18 mm) form movement
  • 15 Jewels
  • Pallet lever escapement?
  • Rocking bar winding mechanism
OISA 97 Source: www.domenicomorezzi.it

OISA 98

  • 6 3/4 x 8”’ (approx. 15 x 18 mm) form movement
  • Pallet lever escapement?
  • Rocking bar winding mechanism
  • No further information available
Spare part for OISA 98

Watches of the brand OISA EXTRA have movements, for which I couldn’t find a dedicated caliber designation so far. So I simply call them OISA 10 1/2”’ here:

OISA EXTRA

OISA 10 1/2”’

  • 10 1/2”’ diameter
  • 5 Juwels
  • Cylinder escapement
  • Small second
  • Rocking bar winding mechanism
  • Click mechanism on dial side

This movement is likely to be the oldest one developed by Morezzi and dates back to around 1940. It has a cylinder escapement, which was already outdated at that time.

Let’s now have a look at the company FAOO. She used the following brands for their watches:

  • DAMENTZ
  • DAMIEZ
  • LA PONSINE
  • LA TORASSE
  • CHATELARD
  • TANOVA
  • EMTIGVA
  • DOMENICO
  • NACAR (see note in next paragraph)

Watches of these brands are extremely rare. Morezzi may have registered some of them but actually never used them. At least I have already seen pictures of a La Ponsine and a Tanova watch. Watches of the brand Nacar can be found quite often, but these come from a Swiss company. I assume that Morezzi did not use the Nacar brand himself, but instead supplied the Swiss company with entire watches or movements.

Brand registration of LA PONSINE on 23.05.1957
Source: dati.acs.beniculturali.it

FAOO movements cannot only be found in watches of the brands mentioned above, but much more frequently in those of the Aretta brand. Aretta was a brand of the Italian company La Clessidra di Francesco Marinsek. Obviously, Morezzi sold his movements to other companies. In addition to the FAOO movements, Aretta also frequently used movements from the French manufacturer Lorsa.

FAAO 17-66

  • 7 3/4”’ diameter (approx. = 17.5 mm)
  • 17 Jewels
  • Pallet lever escapement
FAAO 17-66
Source: www.domenicomorezzi.it

FAAO 18-97

  • 10 1/2”’ diameter
  • 15 Jewels
  • Pin lever escapement
  • Small second
  • Rocking bar winding mechanism
  • Click mechanism on dial side
  • Marked with 18-97 under wheel bridge
  • Largely identical to the OISA 51
FAAO 18-97

FAAO 23-50

  • 10 1/2”’ diameter
  • 17 Jewels
  • Pin lever escapement
  • Small second
  • Marked with “23-50 M” under wheel bridge
  • Logo of Domenico Morezzi on the barrel bridge
  • The movements also exists with winding mechanism on the dial side instead of the bridge side
Aretta with FAAO 23-50
FAAO 23-50

FAAO 26-20

  • 11 1/2”’ diameter (approx. 25.9 mm)
  • 17, 19 or 21 Jewels
  • Pallet lever escapement
  • Small second
  • Marked with “26-20” and “M” under wheel bridge
Aretta with FAAO 26-20
Aretta with FAAO 26-20
FAAO 26-20

FAAO 29-50

  • 13”’ diameter (approx. 29,3 mm), height 3.4 mm
  • 17 Jewels
  • Pallet lever escapement
  • Direct sweep second
FAAO 29-50
Source: www.domenicomorezzi.it

 

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