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About Otto Frei

About Otto Frei Banner

Welcome to your best source for Quality Jewelry Supplies, Jewelry Tools, and Jewelry Findings! With this website you have access to our complete inventory of quality tools and supplies for jewellers, metalsmiths, technicians, hobbyists, and Otto Frei's wholesale line of precious metal jewelry findings.

Otto Frei has over 90 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 selection of the quality jewelry tools from Switzerland, Germany, Italy, England, Japan, France, and United States! All our products are backed up with an outstanding inventory, competitive pricing, and our Satisfaction Guarantee Policy.

All of our Jewelry Tools & Findings are avaliable to purchase on, if you're looking for watch tools please visit If you'd like to place your order over the phone you can call us Monday thru Friday: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM toll free @ (800) 772-3456 or (510) 832-0355 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 and Alice John Frei Bill

Otto Frei immigrated to the United States from Switzerland with his wife, Alice, in 1929. Otto was an exceptionally skilled watchmaker which was very much in demand in those days, as they are today. 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. However, after the birth of their first and only child John R. Frei, they moved on to California. 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. Many watchmakers began using Otto as a source for Swiss watch parts. Otto Frei quickly became the watch material supplier of choice in downtown Oakland. At that time, downtown Oakland was a thriving center for jewelers and watchmakers.

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 three 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 competitor watch material houses 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 competition from new Bay Area business and the successful Jules Borel Company gave John a great idea. If you can't beat 'em, join them! In 1967 Otto Frei Company merged with Jules Borel to become 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.

The company grew to offer more tools to the jeweler as casting your own jewelry in your small shop became more popular. The jewelry supply part of business began to grow, and precious metals and 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 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 onboard, with Otto's great grandsons working to continue the family business and bring it to the next generation.