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About Always"watching"

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  • Birthday 01/01/1955

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  1. Wow, Nigel @Nigelp, I just can't keep up. The work you are putting in is so worthwhile on these lovely Seikos; thanks for showing us the watches and the progress as you work on them.
  2. Thanks for correcting that reading by Stuart of the legend on his watch @spinynorman - most helpful. Orator was a brand name used by the Swiss "Schild & Co" watch concern, and here is an advert from 1946 showing three examples of Orator branded watches. Interestingly, the manner of wording for the registrations of "Orator" (and "Reform") seem to imply that Orator was a company in its own right, within the Schild stable, and there are examples of watches where the movement is marked, Orator Watch Co. (pic from s.ecrater.com): And here is an Orator chronograph from about 1950 with 34.5 mm (excl. crown) gold plated case and steel back; powered by a hand-wind Landeron 288 movement (pics from images.antiquesatlas.com):
  3. I agree with Caller above. That watch is rather tasty with that lovely pale blue dial and seems pretty reasonable in price. However, I also wonder what exactly that so-called "sapphire coated boxed mineral" crystal is...
  4. Yes dear @spinynorman, I have quite often had the problem of sellers assuring me that a watch is working fine only to discover that the watch gives up the ghost almost as soon as I get it home or works intermittently or for a few hours at a time before stopping. One dealer who shall not be named but who specialised in watches in a respectable collectors' emporium played this trick too many times on customers and angered the proprietors of the place when watches kept being returned as faulty. I myself fell victim of this guy and stopped buying anything from him.
  5. I am with Roddy on this one. Leon Natalene may well have been the retailer of the clock, or perhaps the assembler - putting it together from a bought-in movement and (perhaps locally made) case. I can find no references online to Leon Natalene, and as for the place name, "Pons," this is a French commune with a population that has remained amazingly stable from the late 18th century right up to recent times, never quite managing to reach 5,000. It's a pity that your clock doesn't bear the word, Pons, as the maker since we do have information online about the French clockmaker Honoré Pons. As Roddy has suggested above, some decent pictures would be a help, even if just to provide an approximate date for the clock.
  6. Ooooh! a good Christmas has evidently come early - very nice indeed. Like sabailand, I am also generally not a huge fan of NATO straps, especially on the chunkier breed of wristwatch, but you have chosen a very suitable colour scheme for that NATO; wear it with pride.
  7. In writing this topic, I feel that I should produce a lengthy and learned treatise on this product, and yet, at the same time, the nature of the subject matter is in itself utterly concise, needing little text to draw out the inevitable main conclusions. Put briefly, the original Olympus Trip was, and amazingly still is, a camera for everybody, utterly simple to use and able to give professional level images as well as being a marvellous companion for the amateur traveller who just wants some snaps to show friends and relatives. OK, it is a film camera and not a snazzy bit of digital kit, but its useful life has carried on regardless of the onslaught of modern camera technology, with a sufficiently large band of hardy adherents and the characteristic of being a camera that still works when all those digital cameras and smartphones have run out of juice. (Pic from upload.wikimedia.org) If I was writing this review back when the Olympus Trip 35 was launched, I wouldn’t have considered the camera to be an outstanding item aesthetically, but now, as it soldiers on, it’s “prettiness” does please my eye and its aesthetics have worn well; indeed, it is a perfect model for proponents of the “form follows function” school of product design. What I would have praised then is its compactness (about 124.8mm W X 72.7mm H X 57.6mm D), quality of construction, using mainly metal in its armour against knocks and bruises, and having a slight and reassuring heft in its weight (13.77 oz or 390.5 grams empty and no strap) without being cumbersome. I would also have noted the quality of its optics, way ahead in quality when compared with many other contemporary and even more recent point-and-shoot cameras. There is some “debate” as to when the Olympus Trip 35 was introduced and when it was discontinued. Wikipedia states that the camera was introduced in 1967 and ended production in 1983. Another authority gives 1968-1984 for the camera, while yet another source indicates that the production run ended in 1988. Whatever the case, the camera had a very long production run and was a highly successful product for Olympus - some 10 million pieces being made over the years of production. The name, Trip, was an inspired choice, referring to the ideal role of the camera as a compact and simple to use companion for holidaymakers and snap-shooters. Interestingly though, the 1970s advertising campaign featuring the photographer David Bailey, more than hinted at the fact that the Olympus Trip could be, and was, more than a holiday snaps device. Hardly surprising then that the camera was so popular and in production for so long. (Above two pics from wycameras.com at cdn.shopify.com) It is often said that the judgement of a good camera is largely in the performance of its lens and so we shall start on the specifications of the Trip with this aspect of the camera - an aspect where the Olympus Trip scores highly. The coated Zuiko non-interchangeable 40mm f2.8 lens on the Olympus Trip 35 seems to have be of Tessar type and comprises four elements in three groups, with the choice of a focal length of 40mm (ten millimetres short of the standard camera lens on quality SLR cameras) being a good one; not prone to the distortion of perspective created by wide angle lenses yet just wide enough to allow the photographer to get closer to the subject than with a 50mm lens). The sharpness of the lens has also been praised, giving high quality images sharp to the edges and corners of the frame that are impressive even by today’s standards. Always a good idea is a UV filter, not least because it adds an extra layer of protection between the dangerous outside world and the lens itself - the Trip features a 43.5mm screw thread for this purpose and for other filters, with the thread diameter being uncommon, probably as a means of “persuading” customers to buy only Olympus filters. The lens of the Trip focuses down to 2.9 feet (0.9 metres) and uses “zone focusing” at 1 metre, 1.5 metres, 3 metres, and infinity. Apparently, there is an art to obtaining the best focusing for subjects in the different zones that doesn’t quite match the zoning instructions on the camera; one way of increasing the likelihood of accurate focusing is to use a 400 ASA film which gives more depth of field when using the camera. (Above four pics from i.ebayimg.com) The viewfinder on the Olympus Trip 35 is unsophisticated but functional, with no parallax correction but with parallax markings in the frame for close focusing. If the light level is too low, a transparent red warning flag comes up from the bottom of the finder, and when in Automatic “A” setting, if the exposure would go below 1/40th of a second at f2.8, the shutter locks, preventing a picture from being taken. When this occurs the use of flash is needed (a hot shoe and Prontor-Compur socket for use with studio strobes are provided on the camera); the shutter speed in flash mode being 1/40th second. Taking the camera off the “A” setting can also be used for high speed films and night photography. Below the viewfinder window is a very small additional "Judas window" that shows the current aperture setting and distance symbol which are on the lens barrel. Although the programming of the exposure in the Olympus Trip is relatively simple, it is surprisingly effective, and what is more, the camera is solar-powered without the need of batteries. Adjusting the film speed is done by turning the front filter ring, with increments of a third from ASA 25 to ASA 400 apart from ASA 32. The selenium metering is functional down to about EV 8 (1/40 at f2.8) and up to EV 16 (1/200 at f27), and above EV 13, the aperture is opened by one stop while the shutter speed increases by two stops to 1/200 second, perhaps leading to a slightly inaccurate exposure (although the general accuracy of exposure in the Trip is remarkably good). The diaphram itself is two-bladed and diamond shaped - in practice, stopping down to about f22. Note that a strong light source just outside the frame/field of view may affect the meter when taking pictures, and to prolong the life of the selenium cell it is probably wise to keep the lens cap on the camera when not in use. The shutter on the Olympus Trip, with its two speeds of 1/40 and 1/200 second is quiet and relatively unobtrusive. There is no “Bulb” setting but usefully, the camera has a standard cable release socket in the shutter release button. Another useful feature is the exposure lock, frozen by pressing the shutter halfway. Thus, if there is a strong backlight then one can point the camera at something as bright as the subject, press and hold the shutter partway, recompose and shoot. An Olympus Trip 35 shown here just to confirm that this is the original production leatherette on the Trip - there seems to be a fashion for replacing the leatherette with leatherettes of different texture and colour. I prefer the original, although if in bad condition then replacement might be called for (pic from Trip Man at cdn.shopify.com): The Olympus Trip 35 is extremely easy to use, and the Automatic or “A” setting will cover a multitude of situations with the minimum of fuss. Film advance is by a few turns of the thumb wheel while retrieving the used film is by pressing the button under the base and winding the film back using the crank-wheel on the top of the camera. Once the film end has been taken up, open the back, pull up the crank handle and pop the film cassette out. The Olympus Trip is not only a great little performer but it is also a reliable device, partly as a result of sturdy construction and containing no electronics. Indeed, while an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) would destroy most devices that use transistors or ICs, the Olympus Trip might then be left as the most advanced working camera on the planet. Having written the bulk of my topic, I shall now just provide some hints and tips for camera collectors interested in the Olympus Trip. Prices for a working example of the Trip in decent condition seem to be between about £40 and £60 but really clean examples, recently serviced and with a guarantee, vary in price widely from about £90 upwards and into the £200 league for something a bit special. When buying an Olympus Trip, it is useful to know how old the camera is, and fortunately the dating of this model is not difficult. The guidelines for dating are as follows: A small number of very early cameras feature a film speed setting only up to 200 ASA. The earlier cameras have a chrome shutter release button while later cameras, after June 1978, have a black plastic button. A precise date for an Olympus Trip can be found by opening the film compartment and carefully removing the pressure plate on the back cover - it slides free from its locating pins. Look for the code on the reverse of the pressure plate, which consists of three characters: 1st Japanese character or letter (in later models) signifies the assembly plant; 2nd number represents the last digit in the year of assembly (5 = 1975, 0 = 1980); 3rd number or letter represents month of assembly (1-9 for Jan-Sept, X,Y,Z for Oct-Dec); Thus the code N1Y = November 1971. Note that serial numbers for the original Olympus Trip 35 go up to about 5,400,000, which may mean that the figure of over ten million units sold over the production run may include later plastic-bodied Trip-branded cameras. (Above 4 pics from filmadvance.com - the last pic shows the Olympus OM2 compact 35mm SLR camera, also a classic, alongside the Olympus Trip)
  8. Many thanks, dear @spinynorman. I believe you are right about the possible misprint - I myself was a bit unhappy about that reference to the founding year of Driva being 1923, which is why I also included the Moneywise date of 1924 for the launch of Driva in my topic. I have now corrected my original text to reflect this new information. Thanks also for posting those adverts and the design registration; it's great to have more illustrative materials from other members to liven up my topics. Interestingly, I came across a number of Driva adverts online; more than is often found when researching companies whose history has somehow fallen by the wayside.
  9. That Tissot 1973 chronograph is rather nice but what a price! I have always been aware that mechanical chronographs seem to attract a premium that is perhaps over and above what the watches really deserve, most notably in the case of watches that use the more common, tried and trusted, movements. It is interesting though to hear knowledgeable members discussing the recent price hike for watches generally, and I agree with much of what has been posted here. As an aside, I just wonder how much the more commonly used modern chronograph movements actually cost the watch companies.
  10. Wow, a marvellous marathon thread @Nigelp - a labour of love and a watch to treasure.
  11. Thanks for showing your great collection, @mach 0.0013137, nicely housed. I am currently writing another camera topic for the Forum, so "watch this space" as they say.
  12. Sorry for not spotting this excellent thread earlier, dear @Nigelp. Thanks for introducing the Seiko king Quartz on both a personal level and as a general model for us to take note of.
  13. Always nice to hear good news about the Forum... Praise goes to all those active members who well-deserve it and that includes our Roy who keeps this ship on an even keel, and my fellow moderators who I reckon do a sterling job.
  14. A 1950s Driva ladies' watch with 14 carat gold case and powered by a 17J hand-wind movement (pics from pmtime.com): A simple and elegant hand-wind 17J Driva dress watch from about 1960 with a 33mm (excl. crown) stainless steel case and back and what seems to be a layer of 14 carat gold on top, over bezel and lugs (Pics from assets.catawiki.nl): The Compagnie des Montres Driva (Driva Watch Company) was founded at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, on 23 July 1924 - not 1923, as a misprint mentioned by spinynorman in a post below indicates - (or 1 August 1924 if you believe the Moneyhouse website) by a member (possibly a Mr. A. Hirsch) of the Hirsch family which was already an important fixture in the Swiss watchmaking industry. The Driva brand name was first registered in 1924 by the Louis Hirsch Company based in New York – this Louis Hirsch possibly being the Louis-René-Henri Hirsch who ran the firm at Rue Commerce 15, La Chaux-de-Fonds. The Driva brand name was also used by the Kelbert Watch Co. at some stage, also based in New York, and this American connection may be why the Great Crash of 1929 apparently hit the Driva Watch Company hard and was probably a major element in it's bankruptcy which by my reckoning occurred during the early 1930s. The Driva watch company was subsequently revived in 1938, now headquartered in Genf (Geneva), Switzerland, and was to concentrate mainly on the production of private label watches, such as watches branded for department stores and jewellery retailers. We find the name, A. Hirsch, associated with the 1940 registrations for the brand names “Driva” and “Driva Genève,” (Note that the grave accent in "Genève is usually left out in Driva watch branding) and the firm expanded, producing a few hundred thousand pieces annually and with a large portion of their production being destined for the United States and the Americas. Driva continued in production until about the mid 1970s, when at some point it fell foul of the Quartz Crisis and ceased active operations. Examination of extant Driva watches online leads me to conclude that the company did not embrace quartz technology by and large and had ceased large-scale production of watches well before that could have been achieved. Also, while the Driva Watch Company from 1938/40 onwards produced the usual styles of ladies' and gents' watches, including many chronographs, it seems to have ignored watches for divers or watersports. A late 1940s Driva sports/military style hand-wind wristwatch with 31mm steel case (incl. crown), powered by a 17J AS 1220 caliber movement. Note, the caseback is completely unadorned (pics from assets.catawiki.nl): Although the Driva watch company had ceased actual production shortly before 1980, the company name, now "Driva SA" rather than Driva Watch Co., remained extant and still owned by the Hirsch family, then was revived at some later stage (still managed by the Hirsch family) but working in a different horology/jewellery sector. The latest information from Moneyhouse states that the firm, Driva SA is active, limited by shares (AG), and has its legal headquarters in Geneva. The firm operates in the sector, “Trade intermediaries in various areas” and currently has three registered trademarks. The Justia trademark information site gives these trademarks, which relate to “Precious metals and their alloys and goods made of these materials or coated therewith included in this class, namely timepieces...,” as “ACHILLE HIRSCH,” “DRIVA” and “INVAR.” [See my Historical Epilogue at the end of this topic for more on the Driva SA trademark origins.] It is not clear to me whether Driva SA as now constituted is merely a trading organisation/intermediary in the field of horology or additionally involved in the actual process of plating/coating objects in precious metals, including watches and jewellery; probably the former. In terms of management, Driva SA is now headed by Tamisier Christian, although there are four other “sleeping” management figures at least some of them members of the Hirsch family. Also note that another Driva SA concern exists, based in South America, which has nothing to do with watches and is almost certainly unrelated to the firm discussed here. Swiss magazine advertisement from 1952 for Driva Watch Co. aimed at potential worldwide retailers for Driva watches as much as for individual customers (pic from s.ecrater.com): Going back to the period of the original Driva watch company, prior to the bankruptcy of 1929 +, it would appear that the firm was engaged in the race to produce the first truly viable automatic wrist watch. On 22 January this year, Montrealgpf1 posted some interesting information concerning early patents for automatic watches/movements on the NAWCC Forum, including the following: “Driva Watch Company requested a patent in Switzerland in July 1925 (114947CH) that was issued in May 1926. The company went bankrupt shortly after 1929. Yet, it produced automatic watches showing that same patent # under the name Novix or Veglia. It is then fair to consider that Driva potentially manufactured these watches as early as 1926, 2 years before Harwood. Granted, Harwood's patents predate those of Driva, but it is possible that Driva actually won the race to actually be the first to commercialise an automatic wristwatch... If you Google 'Novix' and 'Driva' together, you will find auction sites that will give you a few Novix watches still in existence today.” There is some debate about this finding, and it is really too early to form a definite account and assessment of Driva's role in the history of early automatic wristwatches. Nevertheless, it shows that Driva was an innovative concern in the first period of its existence, and was continuing to innovate right up to the beginning of the 1930s when the firm was facing bankruptcy, with registration of the Novix brand name in 1930 and a patent application of 1930-32. Interestingly, it would seem that Driva was also active in seeking patents in the second period of the company's existence – there is a reference for a US patent by Driva for watches in 1943 – and it is clear that the reconstituted Driva Watch Company (at some stage titled more succinctly, Driva SA) had trading links with the US. A Novix automatic wristwatch by the Driva Watch Co. dating to 1930 or just before and featuring a nickel-plated oscillating weight self-wind movement with Glucydur balance, chrome-plated case, and auxiliary seconds (Pic from image.invaluable.com): Evidence that Driva was an innovative company right up to its demise as a going watch concern is evidenced by a fascinating watch branded, “Driva Geneve” and launched in the mid-1970s. This model incorporated a radio, TV, and calculator, powered from a lead to battery kept in the pocket and is shown below in an advert from 26 February 1976. See text here above (Pic from flashbak.com): A rare hand-wind Driva five minute repeater wristwatch in "STAYBRITE" steel, difficult to date exactly but probably 1930s. No other details available unfortunately (pics from antique-watches.ch): An 18 carat gold, 17J hand-wind, Driva chronograph previously owned by the current owner's grandfather and bearing an inscription dating to the 1960s (Pics from i.imgur.com): A rare Driva chronograph from about the early 1950s and made for the watch and jewellery shop(s) of the Cuervo family, which started in 1882 with a soon to be celebrated retail shop in Havana. In 1930, Cuervo Y Sobrinos (Cuervo & Nephews) established an atelier at La Chaux-de-Fonds and then also began to expand their outlets in Germany and North America. This flourishing business came to an end with the Cuban revolution of 1953, when the Cuervo family were forced to flee their Havana premises with almost nothing, leaving the steel vaults untouched for the next 40 years. The brand was subsequently revived in 1997 after Italian entrepreneur Marzio Villa gained access to the original shop on San Rafael Steet, Havana. This chronograph has a 38mm (excl. crown) steel case (Pics from assets.catawiki.nl): A Historical Epilogue: At this stage in the research and writing of this topic on Driva, I thought that most of my work was thankfully done. Nevertheless, I decided just to take a look at the trademarks of the modern firm, Driva SA, out of interest and because I was aware that one of those trademark names, Invar, had been used for a nickel-iron alloy developed in the late 19th century. The results of this additional research took the story of Driva and the Hirsch family companies back to form a direct line backwards from today's Driva SA to the early period prior to the formation of the Driva Watch Company in 1923/24. Taking the modern trademark, “Achille Hirsch,” we first encounter it way back, on 18 January 1901 as a word name registration for Achille Hirsch/Vigilant Watch Manufactory/Usine de Cretèts at la Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, producing/marketing watches and watch parts. Two further registrations for Achille Hirsch and Vigilant Watch Manufactory occur on 14 June 1902 and then, on 3 June 1904 Achille Hirsch registered his name alone, with the surname first, “Hirsch, Achille,” also at La Chaux-de-Fonds in connection with watches and watch parts. The brand name, Invar – not connected it seems to the development and arrival of the new Invar alloy – also takes us back to the period before the launch of Driva and provides more information about the watchmaking activities of the Hirsch family. Indeed, the first reference to the watch brand Invar occurs as a word name registration on 24 November 1899 in the name of “Compagnie des Montres Invar, Fils de Achille Hirsch & Co.” based at La Chaux de Fonds and involved with production and marketing of pocket watches, clocks and watch parts. This company was founded in 1901 by Achille Hirsch as a sister to his own firm and was clearly run by his son – the firm also had a Leon Hirsch connected in the United States for imports of Invar products into America. Compagnie de Montres Invar had two logo trademark registrations in 1904-05, in addition to the registration of the motto mark, “ INVAR/The modern Watch/Quality for Money”.
  15. I've just come across this wonderful Orient thread. Too many people to thank but all these great pictures and posts tell a great story - Orient is a go-to company for quality on a budget and some interesting designs.
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