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.
This brand recently appeared on the repair desk of one of our members. He reports that these movements are indeed of excellent quality.
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.
Lavina 47.5mm x 10.5 thick caliber 101, C 1950. A very slim movement of 6mm. It also has blued steel hands.
Two ads from Prouds of Sydney selling Lavina watches in 1948.
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