HETTICH Ltd.1, King Street, St. Helier, Jersey
Part of an article published in 1961 by the Watchmaker, Jeweller & Silversmith magazine.Hettich Ltd. are very proud of their corner position at 1, King Street. After 60 years in the island they consider that they have "arrived" having ended the probationary period which all "foreigners" from the mainland are forced to undergo. The founder of the firm, 83-year-old Mr. E.W. Hettich, as chairman, still takes an active interest in the business. His father was the proprietor of J. Hettich & Sons, of Cardiff, and set up the Jersey branch in 1900.
When the Cardiff business was closed down, Mr. E.W.Hettich came over to manage the Jersey branch. His fellow directors today are Mrs. A.M. Hettich and her nephew, Mr. A.B. Chinn F.G.A. A spokesman of the firm told us that the competition in Jersey could not be paralleled with anything on the mainland. He blamed the continental suppliers of watches for doing business with Channel Islands firms without the proper knowledge or repair facilities. At present, the only defence for a quality jewellers to stock the best brands only, and to back them up with a first-class service. In his opinion the lowering of tariffs within the Common Market would eventually weed out the Channel Island traders at present profiting from tax differentials. Staff training is very thorough at Hettich's and includes the French language to help staff serve the considerable number of summer visitors from the Continent.
Source: Watchmaker, Jeweller & Silversmith
- April 1961
Edwin Wyndham Hettich was born in Cardiff in 1879. He was the son of Julius Hettich, a German clock maker and jeweller. He was educated in Wales, then sent to Germany to learn the fundamentals of watch-making before joining his father's business in Cardiff at the age of 14.
Julius Hettich acquired the premises at 1 King Street, Jersey in 1900. Julius decided to stay in Cardiff and Edwin, at 21, took on the running of the Jersey branch.
Edwin married Ethel Frances Saunders, a staff member from the previous proprietor who continued to work under the new ownership, in 1901.
The following year their daughter Agnes was born. She was to become a key member in the running of the shop. Their second daughter Freida was born in 1904. The family lived above the shop.
In 1934 Hettich became a limited liability company and Edwin moved from town to live in a newly built house above First Tower. In the same year, Antony Chinn, son of Edwin's second daughter Freida and James B Chinn, was born. Having no son himself, Edwin earmarked Antony to be his successor in the business.
In 1939 England declared war on Germany, and the German occupation of Jersey began in July 1940. During the course of the Occupation, Edwin's home at First Tower was commandeered by the German Army as an officers' billet, so he and his family moved back to live above the shop once more.
Because of his German name, Edwin encountered certain hostilities during the Occupation. However, in general, he was highly regarded and recognised for his contribution to public service and his ability to translate optical prescriptions into German was greatly valued.
Edwin was elected to The States in 1948, as Deputy for St Helier. From 1953-1966 he was President of the Public Works Committee.
As Edwin dedicated more and more time to public service, the optical side of the business was phased out and it fell to his eldest daughter Agnes to take more responsibility in the shop.
In 1954, Antony Chinn returned from his London training at The Central School of Art to begin working in the shop. He held the honour of being the first Jerseyman to become a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain.
In 1959 Antony Chinn's first son Jeffrey was born. He studied jewellery in London at St John Cass College, followed by further training at Sotheby's and Asprey, and entered the business in 1984. He gained a Diploma of the National Association of Goldsmiths and, like his father, became a Fellow of the Gemmological Association.
Hettich continue in business today and now in their 112th year of trading.