Inventory - click on to the underlined watch. Unbreakable Mainsprings, Mystery Dial, Handley Watch Case, Two Seiko 17J Ladies watches, Russian Kauahguyckue, Enicar, Nato straps, Finger ring watches, IWC, Longines All Guard, Waterbury $1 watch, Seiko Hi-Beat, Jaeger-LeCoultre Futurematic, Movado Celestograph, Adina watches, Swiss Nurses Fob watch, Lavina, WW1 Trench watch, Microband watches, Sir Kinsford Smith watch, A. Kosvitz Brisbane jeweller, Mickey Mouse watches.
‘Unbreakable’ or ‘Lifetime’ Mainsprings.
These words are often found on the dials of mechanical watches from the 1950’s. Prior to this watch mainsprings were made of blued carbon steel which over the years were prone to rusting or had become tired or ‘set’ (assuming the shape of the barrel). They then would break damaging jewels & pivots. The solution was the development of the white metal mainspring - a nickel, chromium alloy with varying amounts of cobalt, molybdenum, or beryllium.
Elgin was one of the first to make a watch spring with this new mixture. Their ‘DuraPower’ watches with the ‘dp’ logo on the dial, was introduced in 1947 to tackle mainspring failure by using ‘Elgiloy’, a non-magnetic, rustproof metal guaranteed to maintain strength & not break for a ‘lifetime’.
Because white metal stainless steel mainsprings were rust proof & less subject to bending or becoming tired, they were considered unbreakable. Watch companies were quick to cease making carbon steel springs in the 1950’s & use this new alloy. The words ‘Unbreakable’, ‘Lifetime’, or ‘Lifelong’ were now a desirable & persuasive name to put on watch dials & mainspring packets.
Another solution to mainspring breakage was the bridle or slipping ring mechanism. Patented by Adrien Phillippe, founder of Patek Phillippe in 1863, it was not widely used until the advent of automatic wrist watches in the 1920’/30’s.
The watch cannot be ‘overwound’ because the outer end of the mainspring is not fixed to the barrel but to a circular steel expansion spring or bridle (a length of steel that overlaps on the inner wall of the barrel & presses by friction against the wall with notches to hold it). When the spring is almost fully wound its force is so strong it will pull the bridle loose from the notches, sliding it round the wall & preventing the further winding of the spring. The spring will ‘catch’ when the force exerted on the bridle equals the latter’s grip on the barrel wall.
Mystery Dial Watch - The Alavente - an attractive, unusual manual wind watch.
This early 1960’s, 34mm watch with 17jewels, caliber 011A from the Sperina Watch Co. was shown to me recently. Using a total of 38 small diamonds on the dial - 3 for each ‘number’ (though only 2 in the six position), with one for the hour, one for the minute & one for the centre. The hour diamond ‘hand’ is fixed to a disc with the minute diamond ‘hand’ fixed on a top transparent disc. Thus, the diamond ‘hands’ appear to float as they move. The snap of this watch shows the time at 1.22.
Sperina was established in the 1930’s by Hans Gribi & Fils, based in Lengnau & Bern. A short-lived company it closed in the late 1970’s. They specialised in more affordable diver’s watches, unusual mechanical timepieces & later digital display watches.
The origin of Mystery clocks can be traced back to the mid 1800’s when French magician & illusionist Robert Houdin the son of a clock maker used one in his acts. However, it was not till the early 1900’s that such clocks were popularised by Cartier with the Model A in 1912. The concept was then applied to wristwatches from the 40’s by other high-end watch makers - Vacheron Constantin, LeCoultre, Longines, Zodiac & others. The illusion of hands seemingly moving by themselves makes this type of watch highly collectible.
Handley Watch Cases
To avoid the high import duties on complete watches levied by countries after WW1, manufacturers of watches exported the movement only which was then cased by local makers. In Australia, J W Handley of Melbourne was one of these, making cases for Tissot, Movado, Omega, Cyma & even Rolex. Established in 1926, Handley sent his partner Mr. Tilley to Switzerland in 1928 to source the most up-to-date watch case machinery. He was not welcomed (as were many others). Threats were also made to block any locals who supplied merchandise with harsh sanctions. Despite this machinery was purchased.
In 1929 Handley built a factory at 655 Victoria St. Abbotsford (5km from the CBD) employing 100 staff. Other businesses also used this facility eg Crusader Plate & Pyramid Plate. The partnership with Tilley was terminated in 1934 & the trademark with the open hand ‘Hantily’ was changed to ‘Handley’. Tilley was then sued in 1935 for making cases & poaching customers resulting in a £1000 fine paid to Handley in damages. During WW11 this firm made compass cases & gun sights. Handley ceased case production in the 1960’s.
Here are three examples of manual wind watches with a Handley case. A Swiss 15J watch in a 9ct gold case, a Nissens Exacta 17Jewel watch & a Marvin 17Jewel movement both latter two in a stainless steel case.
Seiko Watches – from humble beginnings to today’s innovative world watch giant.
The Seiko watch industry commencing in 1924 has proved to be highly innovative making exceptional quality, medium-priced timepieces over the last 99 years. A snap sent to me recently of the Wako Clock Tower in Tokyo that houses the Seiko Museum is a most appropriate lead-in to two ladies Seiko wristwatches. This clock tower will be discussed in 'Special Interest' in Snapshots.
A brief history of Seiko milestones pre quartz - Kintaro Hattori opened a shop to sell & repair watches & clocks in central Tokyo in 1881. The next year he opened the Seikosha clock factory. In 1895 he created the ‘Timekeeper’ pocket watch & in 1913 made the first Japanese wristwatch (the ‘Laurel'). In 1924 the first watch bearing the Seiko brand name was produced. 1960 saw the Grand Seiko (billed as the most accurate watch in the world) & in 1969 Seiko delivered the world’s first quartz watch – the Astron.
A Seiko Hi-Beat manual wind 17J ladies watch. Caliber 2202A Japan 91505 was made between 1970/79. What makes it special is that this is the time when watches were being fitted with quartz movements – a trend that was ending the days of manual wind. Hi-Beat watches were made for accuracy as the ‘tick’ was at 8 beats per second. This also meant a second hand that ‘glides’ rather than ticks. It has a 23mm dial, arrow markers for indices, a date indicator and a 16cm band with fold through hinge locking bar. A simple yet elegant watch that survives.
A ladies pre quartz 17J Seiko watch, caliber 11A with a pallet lever escapement, ‘Diashock’ shock protection (invented in 1958), movement case of 18mmx18mm with a stainless steel back numbered 440425 & Japan-R 11-0630. It has a genuine ‘Seiko SGP Japan’ gold coloured strap. What appeals is the ‘chiselled’ edges to the glass dial.
Note that there were two Hattori families producing watches – Suwa Seikosha Co. (known today as Seiko Epson Corp) & Daini Seikosha Co. (known today as Seiko Instruments Inc). Having two companies worked well for Seiko. Both watches above have the Daini Seiko logo (double triangle) used from 1959. A Suwa Seiko uses a whirlpool logo.
A Collectible Russian Kauahguyckue (or ‘Komandirskie’) Watch
A 1960/70 vintage Russian CCCP military, amphibia 200m water resistant manual wind watch. It has a black dial, bi-directional rotating bezel, red sweep seconds hand, screw-down crown & luminous hands. At 43mm (including crown), it features on the dial a ‘B’ logo for the Vostok Co., a red star, submarine & anchor. On the brushback case is an attractive ocean scene with rising sun. Inside it has an outer ring, inner ring, rubber ‘O’ ring for water resistance (compressor case) & a notch on the case side to fit the lid. It has a 2414A SU movement.
With the huge number of fake watches on the market, it makes sense to check out whether the movement lacks the finer details (that saves on costs) & any extra/dubious signage. This watch has the spring bar that acts as a shock absorber & also holds down the seconds pinion – a detail not found in a fake.
The circle ‘B’ logo stands for the BOCTOK company that had its production in the city of Vostok. This factory was blown up in WWII. When sold these watches were very affordable & popular. A note that the screw down crown is very ‘loose’ compared to the precision Swiss versions. The Swiss were producing watches with high water resistance & had taken out patents on them. The Russians put emphasis on designing a simple cost-effective tight case. Called a ‘compressor case’ this meant that the crystal & case-back were not fixed but moved in the direction of the rubber gasket. As the diver went deeper the pressure pushed the case parts together sealing them tighter.
Enicar Watches – a journey of clever innovation and marketing.
Enicar watches were the in-demand timepiece for 20thC sport adventurers and those who wanted a quality but not expensive watch. Identified by the Saturn symbol on the dial, the pre 1950’s model only used the name ‘Enicar’. The 1950’s had the name Enicar written across Saturn. From the 60’s the Enicar name was printed below Saturn and from the 70’s a golden globe crossed by the two thin rings of Saturn used.
Seapearl automatic caliber AR1032, a 25jewel movement made in 1958 with a water-resistant case. These robust watches were produced from 1955 aimed at the sporting market (a Swiss team carried one to the top of Mt. Everest in 1956). Dubbed ‘explorer watches’ they were rebranded to ‘Sherpa’ in the late 50’s, with a host of models sold like the ‘Sherpa Dive’, ‘Aqua-Lung’, ‘Divette’, ‘GMT’, specifically made for water sports.
Two vintage examples from Ian are shown here - the ‘Seapearl’ and the ‘Star’.
The Star Enicar dated 1962 with a caliber A1124 automatic movement, stainless steel case, non-numeric hour marks, 25jewel and date mechanism, is a rebranded Sherpa watch which was part of the modernization of their designs in the 60’s. It also used on the back lid a new Swiss invention by Ervin Piquerez - a bayonet closure compressor case giving a perfect seal.
History – a French-speaking Swiss 19thC watchmaking family based in the Jura registering their family name ‘Racine’ in 1870. When son Ariste Racine (1889-1958) began making watches in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the early 1900’s, his wife Emma suggested reversing the family name registering it as ‘Enicar’ in 1914.
After WW11 Enicar was modernised, using very innovate designs to remain competitive with other Swiss brands under son Ariste Jnr. (Ariste Snr. & Emma retired in 1943). In the 1950’s Enicar was producing annually 70,000 movements. In 1953 Enicar pioneered a new cleaning system - Ultrasound. In 1957 an Ultrasonic Sherpa Chronometer was attached to the rudder of Mayflower II, crossing the Atlantic in 50days without losing a second. Great publicity! In the 60’s their Sherpa Jet Graph watches were worn by Swissair, Japan Airlines and S.A.S. pilots. Enicar was also working on the electrification of wrist watches and then introduced one of the first Swiss quartz watches in 1970. In 1987 after declining sales Enicar was declared insolvent.
NATO Watch Straps – a good option or not?
Wearing a NATO watch strap with its various patterns, colours and designs can refresh the look of your casual or dress timepiece. They are low cost, comfortable to wear and easy to change. But many believe it cheapens the watch. What do you think?
Brief History – the NATO watch was first known as the G10. The British Ministry of Defence in 1973 issued these admiralty grey nylon straps to be given out to soldiers after filling out a G1098 requisition form. They were soon available to all 29 countries of NATO as a rugged option perfect for the battlefield. The original G10 was 28cm long, 2cm wide, 1.2cm thick with a chrome-plated brass buckle. They were easy to fit, light, weather and tear proof, were washable, breathable and did not slide around the wrist.
The NATO has ‘two striped straps’ - a long strap linked to a short strap with squared lugs. Similar looking single pass straps should not be confused with the NATO strap. These are called ZULU straps (recognisable by heavier rounded lugs and buckles).
The traditional way to wear your NATO strap is shown here. Slip the long strap under the case through the lugs then double it back through the lug of the short strap, securing it at the buckle. The strap end folds back under the lug.
Some wearers though do not like the visible folded strap excess end near the watch lug or that the watch sits higher on the wrist with two layers of strap under the case.
To solve this, simply move the watch and centre it on the short strap end lug, then thread the long strap through both the loop and buckle. The excess now will sit comfortably on your wrist and there is only one strap layer on the watch back.
There are many YouTube tutorial videos to help you with setting up your NATO strap.
Finger Ring Watches
The first known ring watches were made in the 1750’s. In 1764 John Arnold presented George III with a half-quarter repeater, 2centimetres wide with 120 parts. Napoleon Bonaparte had one made by the esteemed Swiss watchmaker Antoine Rojard. Jaeger-LeCoultre - in 1900 made an 18k case watch with 18 rose cut diamonds and then a Caliber 426 in 1952 in a platinum case with 24 diamonds and 8 sapphires. Cartier from the 1930’s produced finger watches covered in multiple diamonds and Rolex in the 1950’s had a rose gold ring watch covered with diamonds. With the name ‘ring’ watch, one would expect them to be adorned with expensive jewels - a dual purpose ring.
Across the club’s watch repairers desk arrived this Seiko 17 jewel manual winding finger watch. Made in 1972 (a 2NO746 Base Metal 11-0299) it required just a service. Now ticking away it is being proudly worn by its owner. The watch cases were made in silver or gold with blue or plain white dials - certainly a real conversation and fashion piece.
The International Watch Company -
This IWC, 21 jewel, 853 Caliber Shaffhausen Swiss made automatic watch C1962 was recently serviced by Ian.
Basic details – has a monometallic central rotor with ruby bearings on a sprung arbor which winds in both directions via a heart-shaped eccentric disc on the rotor. The rocker lever has two sprung lever clicks that alternately operate a saw-toothed winding wheel on the crown wheel. It has a two-spoke Glucydur screw balance with over-coil hairspring and fine regulation, 18,000 BPH, with Incabloc shock resistance.
IWC Brief History - Florentine Jones, an American engineer and watchmaker from Boston, saw an opportunity to combine American production techniques with the skills of Swiss craftsmen. At Schaffhausen he found the ideal site – a factory on the banks of the Rhine producing hydro power. The IWC was founded here in 1868 to start manufacturing watch movements of the highest quality, especially pilot or aviation watches using titanium. One of their most notable achievements was in 1990, making the first wrist watch sized Grande Complication 3770 with Chronograph, Minute Repeater and a Perpetual Calendar function.
Longines All Guard Automatic
The Longines company can trace its origins back to 1832 when August Agassiz and two partners started to sell pocket watches. August took full control in 1846 and by 1867 the Longines factory at Saint-Imier in Switzerland was producing the 20A movement which won an award at the Universal Exhibition in Paris that year. This company has since become one of the premier watch makers in the world. Its winged hourglass logo, which was registered in 1889, is the oldest unchanged yet still active registered trademark.
Ian one of our club’s repairers sent in this rare 1956 Longine’s 35mm men’s automatic Conquest series watch. It has a 19AS calibre, 17 jewel movement. The silver dial uses gold coloured twin-faceted numerals with tapered ‘sword’ hands and has written “All Guard Automatic” on it. Interestingly it uses an eccentric winding system which refers to the rotor that winds in both directions via an eccentric switcher. With a glucydur screw balance, Nivarox hairspring and incabloc shock resistance, this watch was designed for rugged wear, and many say rival the Omega Seamasters and Constellations of that time.
Did you know that Longines was the official timer for Donald Campbell’s Blue-bird car land speed world record on Lake Eyre in 1964 of 648.5km/hr? In 1977, the world’s flattest self-winding watch at 2.95mm was made – the L990. In 1979 they produced the first quartz watch of under 2mm in thickness. Today Longines is the main time sponsor for world horse racing, equestrian, the Commonwealth Games, skiing, and tennis.
The Waterbury $1 Watch.
The Waterbury Watch Company of Connecticut was founded in 1854. The first pocket watch - the 'Jumbo' was made in 1887 as a cheap watch for the people. This encouraged another famous watchmaker, Robert Ingersoll to ask Waterbury in 1892 to supply 10,000 watch movements costing 85c. which were then to be sold at the catalogue price of $1. Manufacturing was carried out by contract with the Waterbury Clock Co. and at two new factories owned by Ingersoll at Waterbury & Trenton, New Jersey.
This 'watch' has these general characteristics - a pin-pallet escapement, stamped or pressed-out often riveted plates, non- jewelled, paper dial, back wind and set by opening the rear lid and a basic case. The back movement cover is marked: Patented Jan.15, 1878, May 6, 1890, Dec. 23, 1890, Jan 13, 1891.
Case diameter 55mm, depth 20mm.
Seiko Hi-beat Watch.
High frequency beat watches were developed for greater accuracy. Early watches beat frequency averaged 18,000 bph. With better mainspring tensions, materials and lubricants it is common for a wristwatch today to have over 28,000 bph.
Our club watch repairer has submitted these two Hi-beat Seiko’s he was working on. Both are 17 jewel, 2205 caliber, 28,800 hi-beat automatics in a stylish case made in the 1970’s. They have a quick set date function similar to the mid-century Omega Seamaster designs.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Futurematic wristwatch.
A member has sent me these snaps and details of his bumper style JLC watch. This sought after automatic Caliber497 movement in a 36mm case was first made in 1951. It features a Glucydur screw balance, self-compensating flat hairspring, Kif-Protechoc shock resistance, a sub-second dial and a 40hour power reserve indicator. On the back is a button that slides across to change the time. It has winding in both directions via a switching rocker and is protected from overwinding by regulated hammer blocking. A superb watch.
The Celestograph - a Triple Calendar Moon-phase Watch by Movado.
The Movado brand (LAI Ditescheim & Freres SA) was established in 1881 in Switzerland by 19year old Achille Ditesheim aiming to make high quality yet accessible fashion watches. The Company changed its name to Movado in 1905. The minimalist designed Museum Dial watch of the 1950’s was one of Movado’s most successful.
Watches with complications were also produced - the ‘Calendograph’ in 1945 (a triple calendar) and the ‘Celestograph’ in 1950 (a similar watch with the addition of a moon phase).
A club member recently displayed his collectible early 1950’s Celestograph or Astrograph moon phase triple calendar watch.
The watch is a manual wind pull to set crown in a steel case 34mm in diameter. It has rounded horn lugs which creates the illusion of a larger watch. The two windows below the 12 read the month and the day. Within the seconds dial is the moon phase indicator. Round the rim of the dial are the 31 days with a red- tipped lollipop indicator hand. The three setting buttons sit flush into the watches edge. The one to the right of the ‘4’ sets the day, the one to the left of the ‘10’ sets the month and the one to the left of the ‘8’ sets the lollipop date indicator. The production of this high-class 15 jewel Cal.473 movement ceased in 1954.
Adina Watches – a family-based Brisbane watch and clock company.
Founded in 1971 to create unique Australian styled and designed watches with quality overseas components, this company with a staff of twenty has produced over 40,000 watches from its Brisbane factory made for over 300 retail outlets in Australia.
Adina’s watch catalogue is grouped into four categories. Men have the Oceaneer, Country Master, Amphibian and Kensington in both quartz and automatic. Ladies have their designs in the same categories plus the Flaire, Forever and Nurse styles.
Three of our watch collectors sent in Adina timepieces for Snapshots.
A 42mm Oceaneer 200m divers watch C1990.
A Titanium 38mm Oceaneer 100m divers watch C1998.
A Ladies 28mm Oceaneer 200m divers watch C1990.
Adina 38mm Countrymaster 50m Mens Work Watch NK60 with calendar & screw off back – current model.
Two early 70's Adinas both with calendar – on left an octagon bezel, one on right a dodecagon (12-gon) bezel with alarm function.
Adina - an Australian brand worth checking out.
A Swiss-made Stirling silver Red Cross Nurses Fob Watch
Today 12th May is International Nurses Day, marking Florence Nightingale’s birth and the contributions nurses make to our society. The watch featured here is a fitting reminder of their past work and in today’s Covid-19 virus times.
The use of fob watches declined after WW1 with the advent of wrist watches. For nurses though fob watches continued to be worn through to WW11 as wrist watches could injure patients and were a potential source of infection.
Early fobs were pinned inside a pocket while later fobs were hung upside down on the lapel so that they could be read easily. Today the nurse’s fob watch still survives in quartz form and is bought as a traditional gift for graduation.
This Swiss Red Cross silver fob watch with gold hands and a sweep seconds hand (with a sliding stop button on the side) was displayed at a recent club meeting. The stamps of three standing bears, one small bear above two larger bears identify its Swiss origin made for the British market. Numbered 40830, its movement sits in a 0.935 sterling silver decorative case.
The watch has a stem wind, pin set movement. The protruding pin next to the winding knob is depressed before turning the crown – (referred to as a ‘nail set’ watch because a fingernail had to be used). There is a red cross set into the 40mm enamel dial with Roman numerals. The movement is accessed by a hinged back lid.
Note - a .925 hallmark stamp was required for the British market to qualify for their strict 1887 import rule. From 1907 UK assay offices re-stamped all watch cases including imported ones as sterling .925. The Swiss decided not to waste time using their .935 hall mark. This watch can be dated to the early 1900’s.
Brief History - The founder of Lavina in 1852 was Paul Brack from Villeret in Switzerland. In the 1930’s Lavina cases and caliber105 movements were supplied to Minerva (apparently some of these went to the Third Reich). Lavina watches were still being sold in Australia as late as the 1950’s. Here is an ad from 1948 showing Prouds of Sydney promoting 17 jewel Lavina watches as a “man’s watch geared for action” for between £7/10/- and £12/10/-. In 1973 Lavina was sold to the prestigious Favre-Leuba company who had long been using Lavina movements in their watches.
Two ads from Prouds of Sydney selling Lavina watches in 1948.
This brand recently appeared on the repair desk of one of our members. He reports that these movements are indeed of excellent quality.
Lavina 47.5mm x 10.5 thick caliber 101, C 1950. A very slim movement of 6mm. It also has blued steel hands.
Above Lavina 34.5mm x 10.5mm thick, caliber 150 auto. Engraved 25 /3 /1962 on the back. High grade balance. A good quality movement.
Left an example from the ad - a 17 jewel square dial with seconds sub-dial - cost from £12/15/-.
Trench Watch from WW1
Trench watches can be distinguished by their mesh protector or shrapnel guard over the dial. They were worn by Officers who could co-ordinate and launch an attack at a given time on the enemy during WW1. As a symbol of bravery and courage these watches were credited for kick-starting a large mass market of wrist watches for ordinary people in the post-war era.
Several members collect such watches and this Swiss made 15 jewel Roskopf watch with a fixed mesh dial protector is a good example. Some Trench watches had hinged mesh lids for ease of cleaning. The .935 sterling silver case lid is a screw down – known as a Borgel lid. This stands for François Borgel the maker of the watch case (it has an FB trademark with a key stamped on the back lid). Such lids were considered more dust and water proof than normal snap on backs. It has luminous hands and numerals with a seconds sub-dial. Dimensions 32mm wide, 8mm deep with an ‘onion’ crown for ease of winding.
These watches have become a favourite for many buyers who want value, versatility and appeal for a reasonable price. Microband watches are made up of smaller independent brand names who make, market and sell quality designs, avoiding the many extras that mainstream makers have. A club member recently presented three watches illustrating the ‘microband’ philosophy.
Panzera – established in 2009 is a Sydney company specialising in producing classic designed watches they describe as “modern vintage’. Their current range is based on three elements – air (Flieger 47), land (Time Master) and sea (Aquamarine 45). Using made-in-Japan componentry with screw down crowns, sapphire crystal and exhibition case backs these watches have become sought after world-wide. This example is a Time Master with a 820A Miyota automatic movement, sapphire crystal, screw down crown and exhibition case back.
Aragon – is a USA based company in Florida, founded in 1991, retailing models with a K1 mineral crystal, screw down crowns and water resistant to 200m. There aim is to supply ‘luxury’ timepieces that satisfy the budget buyer. This is a Sea Charger powered by a NH35 Japanese Automatic movement.
Christopher Ward – ia a British luxury company that started in 2005 sourcing Swiss made components and selling without high mark-ups. The Chris Ward example is their limited edition C65 Trident which is hand wound, 28800 bph, sapphire crystal, water resistant to 150m model. It has a yellow Sellita SW Movement. Note the special Neptune’s Trident sweep second hand.
These watches and Microbrand information can be found easily on the intenet with importantly their price tag.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith Watch
Paul discovered this historical Cyma watch on display at the Queensland Museum, South Bank. It was worn by aviator Kingsford Smith to commemorate the crossing of the Australian mainland in 1927 and the first trans-Pacific crossing in 1928 (as inscribed on the back of the watch). Acquired by the Museum in 1975, it was loaned to NASA and worn by Australian astronaut Andy Thomas on his 2001 space mission. A well travelled watch.
The 15 jewel Swiss made .925 silver cased Cyma watch, was made in 1927. It features luminous hands and numerals, a small seconds dial, a brown leather strap and measures L 192 x W 30 x H 7mm.
A. Kosvitz, a Brisbane based Watchmaker, Jeweller and Metalsmith.
Dick has discovered this early key wind and set English lever fusee pocket watch. The 18K gold watch has a London hallmark dating of 1862. The movement is signed A. Kosvitz. Research reveals that Augustus Kosvitz was born in Prussia in 1831 and trained as a watchmaker in Europe even working for the renowned clock maker Edward Dent of London. He migrated to Sydney in 1855, moving to Brisbane in 1859 where he lived to his death in 1894. He worked from a jewellery shop in Queen Street from 1859 – 1874.
This shop had a very profitable and thriving business producing jewellery in gold and silver, designing presentation pieces and selling clocks and watches. It was famous for its new plate glass window which allowed passersby to check their watches with the large regulator pendulum clock and to view the latest products. It would be here that this watch was sold. Thanks Dick for this interesting find.
Mickey Mouse Turns 90 (Nov 18th 2018)
Comic character watches have been hugely popular since the 1930's. The most sought after was Mickey Mouse. Millions of clocks and watches both manual & quartz have since been made. The sale of 2.5 million Mickey watches between 1933 and 1935 stopped Ingersolll Watch Co. (owned by Waterbury) from going bankrupt.
Mickey Mouse watches debuted at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933 with the balloon trousers pocket watch and a year later the wrist version. In 1934 England started with a slightly different design. Both had a seconds disc - the American version had running legs, the English with walking legs. The latter also added the Pink bearded Mickey in 1936.
Ingersoll stopped production in 1950 and was replaced by US Time/Timex
to 1972 and then Bradley took over from 1972 to 1985. Other makers for the Disney licence were Helbros, Phinney Walker, Hamilton & Elgin.
From the 1980's, Disney mechanical watches were replaced by quartz - a large number being made by Lorus.
Alarm clocks were also popular. Notable is a French Bayard 'nodding head' Mickey (right).
Timex - with red dotted MM face