Saturday 20 October 2012

Omega Ultra-Thin Constellation from the early 70's.  

Automatic Calibre 711 Movement.

This is my second vintage Omega I acquired (the first was a 50's Seamaster (non-quickset)).

While the ultra-thins were around between the 1960's to the late 70's, this ultra-thin Constellations cal. 711s were issued between 1974-1975. Constellations were dress watches, naturally precious metals and stones were dominant in this Omega range. What is interesting with this Constellation is that this came from the only stainless steel range in the limited run cal. 711s (the more reason why I am keeping this :D). No doubt this model is not a limited edition series, but as this range did not last long, it is hard to come by.

Thin watches were the trend during that glory days of the 60's. The idea of a bulky wrist watch was not welcomed in the high society social circles. While you could get away with a Panerai under your tuxedo sleeve today, back then it was a no-no.

The watch did not scream for attention when you wear it, but the weight and feel was solid. It did not feel cheap despite the size.

The customary observation seal can be seen clearly in the picture referring to the origin of its name.

The movement is a solid automatic. It immediately starts to beat correctly as soon as you pick it up, no waiting-for-it-to-wind for it to give a reliable heartbeat. That was one of the features that I immediately noticed. The calibre 711 had also been used in the De Ville range before, so the reliability of the movement had already been proven before it was planted into this Connie.

What kept me from 'cycling' this piece is that it is not easy to get a complete stainless steel Omega Constellation. Finding a non-gold based Connie is not easy. This works well for me as being a Muslim man.

Presently, it's with the Omega Watch Co SA awaiting to be serviced. I am giving it a full factory service after deciding that it will be in my permanent collection.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

A Frankie?

Chronometre Nidor dial with Pandow Watch Co Movement

I have another conversion piece dated from the 40's/50's. However I suspect this may be a war-era pieced-together frankestein watch.

It has 2 different known watch names on it. The dial and (I suspect) the solid silver case came from Chronometre Nidor (a known brand under Buser Freres & Co). The movement has Pandow Watch Co Suisse on it.

Chronometre Nidor came from the studios of Manufacture d'Horlogerie Buser Freres & Co., founded in 1916. Their speciality was pocket watches.

In time, after the first round of consolidation within the Swiss watch industry, Mssrs Buser Freres & Co joined the "Manufactures d'Horlogerie Suisses Reunies S.A." (M.S.R. Union of Swiss Watchmakers), which was a union with 3 other watch making houses; The Phoenix Watch Co, Thommen SA, and the Vulcain & Studio watch shops. The grouping which started in the early 60's intended to consolidate their expertise and market their products as a group which rationalize their production and marketing forces.

The dial was refinished marking the era it was originally born into. Large pocket watches were favoured to be converted as flight watches as they were large enough to be worn over the pilots' flight jacket's sleeve. Pocket watches also have large crowns, which was convenient as pilots during those time had gloves on.

The movement came from a lesser known Swiss Manufacture; the Pandow Watch Co. The United States Horological Trademark Index (book written by Kurtis Meyers) showed that the company had registered its trademark for use in the United States since 1923. 

The movement is a strong beating 17 Jeweled piece. The movement generates a strong audible tick-tock which you would not find in timepieces these days.

The watch is housed in a 45mm .800 proof double-lid solid silver case (57mm with the crown). The silver alone carries a third of its value.

I suspect that this watch was put together during the war from parts that were available during that time. 

This was not uncommon during those trying times.

The watch comes with a new 22mm leather strap.

The above unique timepiece is priced at RM950 (Malaysian shipping address). Another RM150 for EMS/DHL shipping & handling fee is applicable for non-Malaysian buyers. Box and papers are not supplied. Check our buying guide before purchase.

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Favre-Leuba's Legacy

This is a 50-60's Swiss made Favre-Leuba Geneve Twin Power manual winding mechanical watch.

Favre-Leuba's origins could be traced back to the early 1700's, when Abraham Favre opened his shop. In 1814, a merger with another watchmaker Auguste Leuba, and it became what is know until today as Favre-Leuba. It was in 1898 when their HQ moved to Geneva, hence the label 'Geneve' was abled to be marked on their dials.

In 2011, the Titan Industries watch making company from the Tata group, took over the struggling Swiss company.
Even before the takeover in the 21st century, Asia was among their key markets, particularly India. Note the background illustration of Indian landscape and elephants in this advertisement from a newspaper.

Among of key innovation that came from this watch workshop was the FL251 movement dubbed the 'Twin Barrel' or 'Twin Power' calibre. 

What was normally the standard 24hour power reserve for a manual winding watch, this calibre doubled it to 48-50 hours.

The wrist watch in my collection is an immaculate edition of that. I estimate that this came from the mid to late 60's, as the movement came into being after 1962 and in the 70's the models were named Sea King's and Sea Chief's.

The 17 Jewel'ed movement is housed in this polished stainless steel casing. An exquisite example of the Swiss pioneer who dared to venture to Asia even before the rest of the Swiss watch industry.

The back of the this stainless steel watch shows the engraved logo of the watchmaker along with the serial number of the watch (81073-TL)

The military style dial is luminous and clearly tells the wearer the time even in low light condition.

What is interesting is that this timepiece and its label is in my opinion under valued. Typically this swiss precision watch is valued around USD80-150.

The above timepiece could be bought for RM500 (Malaysian shipping address). Another RM100 for EMS/DHL shipping & handling fee is applicable for non-Malaysian buyers. Box and papers are not supplied.

Click the Paypal 'Buy Now' button with the appropriate shipping option. 

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