Family owned Swiss watch company. Delivering horological excellence since the 1900´s.
Image of a 1940’s MiniMax assembled by José María Suarez Richard.
The history of the wristwatch brand name 'MiniMax' trails back to the early 1900's. However, to fully understand
its origins and the heritage behind the brand we must go back to 1881; birth year of Policarpo Suárez Canto.
Policarpo was born in Entralgo, a parish of Laviana, located inside the province of Asturias in the northern
part of Spain. Policarpo would later in life lay the foundation to a family of watchsmiths and watchmakers.
In 1898 Policarpo Suárez sails to Cuba on orders of his brother, an officer of the Spanish army. Years later he travels to Guatemala City, Guatemala C.A. for commerce. The Spaniards had colonized the country during the early 1500’s with great impact on trade. During his time there he finds work at a watch and jewelry store where he becomes the apprentice of a swiss watchsmith from whom he learns the trade.
While in Guatemala
he weds Lucia Richard who was also born in Spain, and has two sons while living there; Federico Suárez Richard
and José María Suárez Richard. .In 1900 Policarpo returns to la Felguera Spain with his two sons where he open
the watch store “La Esmeralda”, (which to this date is still open).
Growing up José María and his brother work alongside his father at La Esmeralda and José María becomes a watchsmith. As the industrial revolution kicks off, the Tavannes Swiss Watch Company begins to manufacture thousands of blank dial wristwatches.
These where sold to companies that wanted their brand name on a watch. In this case, the watches where labeled “MiniMax” and where sold through the Suárez family in Spain during the early 1900's.
A view at the mechanical movement with Incabloc in the 1940’s MiniMax.
The initial MiniMax prototype designed in late 2016 named “Entrepreneur”. The name was later changed to “Evolution”.
the early 1920's through the 1930’s, José María travels back and forth from Guatemala to Spain, Cuba and
Switzerland for commerce and business. José María finally settles down in Guatemala City during the 1940’s
and has two children, Silviana and José Antonio Suárez. During this period of time José María and his brother
Federico run a watch and jewelry store in the capital city of Guatemala.
In 1940 a fire burns down the entire Tavannes factory in Switzerland taking many timepieces and history files with it. The
factory is rebuilt to a smaller scale several years later, and by then, “MiniMax” watches where no longer
Later in the 1940's the two brothers part ways in the business and in 1948 José María Suárez opens his own watch business in the growing capital city of Guatemala; it is called “Relojería La Suiza”. It is from this store that the watch brand MiniMax is reborn. José María imports all Swiss made components and assembles each watch under the brand name MiniMax.
Though these MiniMax watches may have been
assembled outside of Switzerland, they where considered Swiss made because 100% of their parts
where made in Switzerland and the watch itself was assembled by José María Suárez who was a Swiss
certified watchsmith. The brand was kept alive for almost 40 years. Early in the year
1984 José María Suárez passes due to complications caused by a ruptured hernia.
After his death none of his children picked up the family business and the watch brand MiniMax goes dormant once again. Around this time period his brothers’ children; Lucia, Federico and Benny start a watch store called F.S. Richard in Guatemala City. They obtain the distribution rights to Rolex, Zenith and all brands under the Swatch Group. This store is still open and has been a great success since inception. However, the brand MiniMax still remains forgotten. In 2014, I, Daniel Hudson Suárez Richard, sprouted a conversation with José Antonio, my uncle, about my grandfather and his brand.
The new revised design of the first prototype now Ref: A360AAA from the “Evolution” family.
Initial MiniMax prototype with PVD coating.
I grew up around watches, collected them and have always admired their design, mechanics
and beauty. For some time afterwards I looked for history records and spoke to family members, yet
found very little information. I reached out to The Federation of The Swiss Watch Industry who verified
the name and its existence back in the early 1900’s. I also contacted the Tavannes Watch Co. They had had
no recollection of the name since they manufactured thousands of watches to be sold without a name on the
dial so other companies could stamp them with their own. Basically they mass produced a few different
movements and cases for private label retailers. It was then where I learned about the great fire that
took the Tavannes factory down.
During this time I also searched for an actual working MiniMax timepiece. Friends of the family whom had purchased a MiniMax watch back then had only pictures of the watch, but nothing tangible. Finally one day I found an original MiniMax online. It was located in the town of A Coruna Spain through a local Internet resale portal.
Due to Spanish export and Internet sale regulations I had to go through
great lengths to obtain this working sample. It was actually a watch that my grandfather had actually
built himself. To this date I own this little piece of history, and it keeps great time.
During early 2016 we developed the first MiniMax watch designs and prototypes. Currently the design seen in our Instagram feed will get one last round of improvements before we begin our pre-sale funding round in early 2019. Like my grandfather, we strive for quality and perfection.
Final revised MiniMax prototype with DLC coating.
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