Home > About Otto Frei > 

About Otto Frei

Welcome to OttoFrei.com!

Welcome to the Otto Frei a Jewelry Supplies, Jewelry Tools, and Jewelry Findings web site.

If you are looking for Quality Jewelry Supplies, Otto Frei is your source. We specialize in Platinum and 18 Karat Wholesale Findings, and the finest Quality Jewelers Tools from around the world.

With this website you have access to our complete Invetory of Quality Tools and Supplies for Jewellers, Metalsmiths, Technicians, and Hobbyists. Otto Frei's wholesale line of Precious Metal Jewelry Findings, and exclusive deals via The Otto Report.

Otto Frei has over 80 years of history to back up our superior knowledge, service and technical expertise. Our product mix is unique in the industry, as we carry the most complete selections of the fine Quality Jewelry Tools available anywhere. Check out our selection of Bezel Blocks in our Forming Tools Category which also features our Drawplate selection. And don't miss our huge selection ofGrobet Swiss Made Files or our famous collection of John Frei Custom Workbenches. All our products are backed up with an outstanding inventory, competitive pricing, and our Satisfaction Guarantee.

You may purchase on this site (OttoFrei.com, or call us Monday thru Friday: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at 1-800-772-3456 to speak to one of our customer service representatives. We would be happy to help guide you thru our website, and answer your technical questions.

Otto Frei imports quality tools from Switzerland, Germany, Italy, England, Japan, France and many other countries.

Our biggest single country of origin for quality tools is the United States of America. Featuring outstanding products from: 3M, Kerr, Ferris, Castaldo, Neycraft, Steamaster, Foredom and Glendo GRS.

A Brief History of Otto Frei

Otto Frei, immigrated to the United States from Switzerland with his wife, Alice, in 1929. Skilled watchmakers were very much in demand in those days, as they are today, and Otto was an exceptionally skilled watchmaker. Alice was gifted too, as a specialist in hairspring vibrating, a job that requires great patience and dexterity. They had pre-arranged employment in Cincinnati, Ohio, and they stayed there long enough to give birth to their only child, John R Frei, and to realize that they didn't care for the weather. Onward to California they went. First to San Francisco, where they briefly set up a trade watchmakers shop, and then on to Oakland. Our company has been continuously in Oakland since 1930. Otto and Alice worked hard and prospered, and many watchmakers began using Otto as a source for Swiss watch parts, and Otto Frei became the watch material supplier of choice in downtown Oakland. At that time downtown Oakland had a thriving center for jewelers and watchmakers, with 3 large buildings housing the trade. In 1952, John Frei was given his honorable discharge from the army signal corps and came to work full time in the business. A relatively young Otto Frei decided to cut back his workload to 3 days a week so he could spend more time on his passion of fixing up property and trading up in real estate. At that time there were several watch material houses that were well established and mighty competitors in the San Francisco Bay Area. John Frei worked very hard to add new lines and offer new services to grow the business. By the mid sixties, Otto Frei Company had become the leading supply house in the San Francisco Bay Area. The prospect of continual competition from the new to the Bay Area, and well organized Jules Borel Company gave John a great idea. If you can't beat 'em, you can always join them, so in 1967 Otto Frei Company became Otto Frei & Jules Borel Company, with offices in downtown San Francisco and downtown Oakland. We became part of the Borel Group, a loosely organized buying group that carried the Borel name in cities across the U.S. The Borels became good friends and good partners. Around that time, the company began to offer more tools to the jeweler, and casting your own jewelry in your small shop became popular. The jewelry supply part of business began to grow, and precious metals findings were added to our line. In 1970, Borel & Frei opened in downtown Los Angeles. By the late 70's the third generation of Frei's had come on board full time, and the company continued to grow and prosper. In 1995, the Los Angeles Borel & Frei office was closed, and the last partnership between the Frei family and the Borel family was ended. Otto Frei & Jules Borel Company of Oakland became solely owned by the Frei family once again. The 21st century has brought the fourth generation on board, with Otto's great grandsons working in sales and website design as they complete their educations.

Over the years we have been known as Otto Frei, Otto Frei & Jules Borel, Frei & Borel and Borel & Frei. (Some common misspellings include Auto Fry, Auto Frei, Auto Frie, Auto Frye, Fry & Borel, Borel & Fry, and Frye & Burel). Today we are proud to once again be known simply as Otto Frei

-Steven A. Frei

Customer Service: 800-772-3456 Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm pacific time Press 1 for the Tools and Findings Departments Fax: 800-900-3734 or 510-834-6217 Business line: 510-832-0355 E-mail: info@ottofrei.com

Office & Warehouse Counter hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-12:30pm & 1:30pm-5:00pm 126 2nd Street Oakland, California 94607 In the historic Jack London Square warehouse district. 6 blocks from the Lake Merrit Bart Station. 2 blocks from the 980/880 freeway.

On the Web

Like Us on Facebook! Follow Us on Twitter! Find Us on Yelp!