Swiss Jewel Company Celebrates 100 Years!

Twenty Twenty marks the 100th year that Swiss Jewel Company, a fourth-generation family owned business, has been supplying precision Synthetic Sapphire & Ruby components for industrial markets worldwide. The company was launched in 1920 when sapphire bearings were used primarily as Jewel Bearings in timing and measuring devices.

As an employee of the Keystone Watch Company, Herman D. Steel moved to Geneva, Switzerland with his family in 1918. Trapped at the outbreak of WWI, Herman developed relationships with Jewel Bearing manufacturers. After the war he moved back to Philadelphia to begin supplying precision Sapphire and Ruby components in America and founded Swiss Jewel Company. The business was set up not far from the current location in downtown Philadelphia just between Independence Hall and the Customs House. With three employees, they leveraged their relationships abroad and began supplying parts for various precision instruments.

The company flourished under Herman’s son, Philip Steel, Sr., and decades later he passed the torch to his oldest of three sons, Philip Steel, Jr. Phil Steel Jr., has been with the company for 70 years and is still going strong. He started as a teenager doing basic administrative tasks and is currently the CEO of Sales & Engineering. Over the course of decades, he has seen the company change and evolve with new materials and technologies.

“Our products go into a wide variety of instrumentation for applications in industries around the world,” comments Mr. Steel. “Customers consult with Swiss Jewel to get the right part for their product. They may be able to use a stock part for quick delivery, or we’ll partner with them to develop a custom part. We can help adjust tolerances and materials by working with the product engineers to get the correct specification. We continue to stand behind everything we supply and provide consulting to help guide our customers to the right solution for their products.”

Currently, the 4th generation, Adam Steel, President and brother David Steel, Vice President run the daily business and oversee company operations.

Over the past several decades, the world has evolved, and so has the demand for Synthetic Sapphire, Ruby, and emerging materials. During this time, Swiss Jewel has increased efficiencies and continually developed processes to serve an ever-growing list of applications.

From humble beginnings with a few offerings to supplying advanced, precision parts in a wide variety of industries, Swiss Jewel continues to keep precision, quality, competitive pricing, and a commitment to on-time delivery a key philosophy that runs through our breadth of products and services.