Lanco was the brand name of the Uhrenfabrik Langendorf SA, located in Langendorf, Switzerland, right in the middle of the Solothurn Canton.
A certain family Kottmann from Solothurn (Langendorf isn’t far) set up industrial production in 1842 there, and in 1873 a chicory factory was rebuilt to make ebauche for other companies, using between 70 and 80 workers. However, the company did not do well and almost collapsed in 1880. The number of workers had been drastically reduced and there were severe problems with alcoholism and absenteeism, such that the Kottmann family started putting up housing and training of their workers. In the middle of 1880, just before the company would have been liquidated, Kottmann was able to import specialists from western Switzerland, who were able to turn the company around. Orders flowed in, and production was expanded strongly.
The company was considered to be a very socially oriented company, building schools, a hydrant system and financing the installation of electric lights in Langendorf, as well as putting up significant amounts of low-cost housing. He also founded the local “Verein” or club, which is still operating today. From 1887 onwards production was deepened and the company became largely independent of suppliers. Towards the end of the 1880s it was considered to be the largest clock factory in the world.
Karl Kottmann died in 1890 and the technical director, Lucien Tieche, took over the company. From this point on the company sold its products also under its own name (not Lanco, but Langendorf). In 1902 one of the Kottmann family took over the company once again.
The company started using the name Lanco (for Langendorf Company) sometime in the 1960s and remained in family hands until 1964. A group of employees took over the company under the guidance of Guido Kottmann, and the company joined a conglomerate of watch makers (Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Uhrenindustrie AG) in the face of weakening business in 1965.
In 1971 Lanco was merged into the Omega-Tissot Group, and production ended in 1973.