Richard Straumann was considered one of the most important watchmaking experts in the world. He trained as a watchmaking technician at the technical school in Le Locle, followed by an engineering course at the Ecole superieure d`Aeronautique et de construction mecanique in Lausanne. From 1914 he worked as a designer at the Thommen Waldenburg watch factories. In his spare time he studied the mechanics of ski flying and in 1926 laid the foundations for the construction of modern ski jumps.
As early as the 1920s, he was also researching new materials for the watch industry and founded Nivarox SA in 1934. Four years later, he joined Tschudin und Heid AG in Waldenburg near Basel, which specialized in precision turned parts, as director and chairman of the board of directors.
In collaboration with Heraeus Vacuumschmelze in Hanau (Hesse), he also created Nivarox, an alloy consisting of iron, nickel, chromium, titanium and beryllium. This material replaced the compensation balance, which was more expensive to produce, enabled stable rate behavior of mechanical watches and is almost temperature-neutral.