Maty was started in 1951 by the 24 year old Gérard Mantion and his wife Elyane, with the idea of selling watches by mail order from his little workshop on the rue Janney in Besançon. His first catalogue featured just a dozen mens and ladies watches. Gerard Mantion was originally going to call his business Mati, but decided it would have a more American feel to it if it was changed to Maty.
Within 18 months his catalogues began to feature jewellery as well as watches, but for the first few years watches were still the prime product. As the business continued to expand jewellery became by far the greater part of the business, which enabled Maty to prosper through the seventies, unlike so many of its contemporaries. Maty is still going strong, with over 50 retail outlets throughout France, and with a thriving web based division supplementing the catalogues. Over 2 million catalogues are still sent out each Spring & Autumn.
Watches now form a minor part of Maty, with what looks like generic Far East quartz imports being the main ranges, although one or two automatics are generally available. Maty are now based on the Boulevard Kennedy in the Montrapon-Fontaine-Ecu quarter of Besançon, as well as having facilities in Belfort, and overall employ around 800 people. Although Gerard Mantion died in 2004 Maty is still to this day 100% family owned. Like Emile Cattin in nearby Morteau, of course there is now a road in Besançon named after Gérard Mantion.
Maty Catalogues and Adverts
and finally - My three Maty watches