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About Always"watching"

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  • Birthday 01/01/1955

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  1. Just a note, dear @Jet Jetski, to say that interestingly, Dimier Freres & Cie patented a wristwatch design under the category of watches with handles - presumably meaning a watch design with strap lugs.
  2. Well, dear @Jet Jetski, I do rather like Nixon as well, so "snap" once again with that Nixon and your blue Breil piece.
  3. Thanks Jet. Nice watch to go with the blue strap, and the manner of strap attachment is an interesting design feature. Breil is a decent watch company with a long history, as I hope my topic on Breil described and discussed.
  4. Dear Jet @Jet Jetski, I suppose I would generally adhere to the rule, "If in doubt, leave it out," but as you have linked us to the watch in question we might as well take a look at the pictures provided by the seller. On examination, and by flicking between images of the cover and the caseback, I feel that the back is nickel or nickel silver, having a slightly greenish hue, while the front cover is sterling silver. This finding is in line with the fact that we have the word, "NICKEL" on the caseback together together with a serial number that doesn't seem to match the serial number on the hunter cover. I notice that the seller has restated yesterday beneath the original advert that the watch is, in fact, sterling silver throughout, but I am not convinced (I should of course note that the crown is almost certainly brass). If it were me, Jet, I would leave the watch well alone as I suspect, as do you, that all is not quite right.
  5. Very nice gift, Jet @Jet Jetski. I just thought I would paste this extract on Sylvain Dreyfuss and Rotary from a rather useful directory of sponsor's marks found on hallmarked watches. Acknowledgements for this go to David Boettcher and "Vintage watch Straps." The full list can be found by going to www.vintagewatchstraps.com/sponsorsmarks.php SD: Sylvain Dreyfuss - Rotary SD: Sylvain Dreyfuss 1925 Rotary logo Modern Rotary logo This "SD" mark with a tab at the top of the shield was registered at the London Assay Office in 1915 by Sylvain Dreyfuss of Moise, George & Sylvain Dreyfuss trading as M Dreyfuss, watch manufacturers, Moorfield, London EC2. Another SD mark was entered at the London Assay Office in 1959 under the trading name Moise Dreyfuss Rotary Watches. This mark is rectangular and has a crown above it. It is still registered at the Goldsmiths’ Company’s Assay Office. Marks similar to the 1915 SD mark were entered at Edinburgh in 1927 and 1963, and Glasgow in 1936 by Moise and George Dreyfuss. Another SD sponsor's mark is recorded as being entered at the Glasgow Assay Office but no records of date or registrant exist. However, there can be no real doubt that it was entered by Dreyfuss & Co. Fabriques de Montres Rotary was established at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland by Moise Dreyfuss in 1895. By the 1920s family members Georges and Sylvain Dreyfuss began importing Rotary watches to Britain, which was to become the company's most successful market. Until 2014 Rotary remained in the ownership of the Dreyfuss family through Dreyfuss Group Holdings. It is now owned by a Chinese company. According to the Rotary web site, the trademark of a winged wheel shown to the right was introduced in 1925. In "Clock and Watch Trademark Index of European Origin" Kochmann gives a registration date for this trademark of 15 October 1926. The modern version shown below has evolved from the original, but is still recognisable as the same thing — once you know what the original was, of course.
  6. Well, @Rich164h, the first registration for Rama as a word brand name given by Mikrolisk is for a clock factory, perhaps taken over or modernized by the firm of Gindrat-Delachaux et Cie., at La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. This registration is dated, 10 August 1909. A second registration for Rama, dated 12 February 1924, occurs for Aubrey-Gostely, successor to Gindrat-Delachaux et Cie. Following this second registration we have a long gap until another registration occurs for the Rama brand name in November 1976, this time under the company name of Rama SA/Ramalux, at Biel, Switzerland. Unfortunately, your Rama watch falls into the "silent" years not directly covered by the registrations given by Mikrolisk, as it dates to about the mid 1960s. I located a small amount of history provided on Watch-Wiki concerning the company, Rama Watch SA, but because this entry also includes promotional material, it is difficult to know what is actual fact. According to the Watch-Wiki entry, Rama Watch SA was founded by M A Marachly and then acted as a family concern, producing watches since the early 20th century. Further to Watch-Wiki, I have now found some historical material online about Rama which is worth reading. The reference for this is as follows: en.worldtempus.com/article/rsw-history-14457.html.. This article takes the history of Rama Watch SA from 1914 right up to recent times, covering the period of your watch. I have not had time to do more research, and that would be necessary for a Forum topic on Rama watches. I hope that I have at least given you some provisional information that might lead you to investigate your watch further.
  7. As is my wont, I fell in love with another vintage “marvel” of design and technology that I could not resist purchasing for the “huge” sum of £3 from a charity shop. A little voice inside my head - partly stimulated by the robotic voice inside this item - told me that this little clock would be of interest to others to the extent that I would be able to gather some information about it. The item in question was, or is, a simple time-only talking clock, made in Japan by Micronta for Radio Shack, and I was quite surprised at how collectible this clock turns out to be. I’m sure that most Forum members will have heard of Radio Shack, also known later in its long history (founded in 1921) as Tandy in certain markets. As for Micronta, all roads lead back to Radio Shack as Micronta was evidently a subsidiary brand owned by that company. My little clock is 3 inches square by a depth of 2-and-a-quarter inches, and the front square face features a pierced sheet metal grill over a small speaker, marked at the bottom with the name “VoxClock” to the left of a rectangular push button. Pushing the button engages the clock which then announces the time in hours and minutes with a (male) robotic computer voice, the volume of which can be set to high or low via a slider switch on the rear of the clock. In use, the clock was apparently designed to be face- or speaker-up, with the rear controls underneath; nevertheless, I see no reason why it can't be used in the vertical position and it is often shown in that manner. The original Micronta/Radio Shack VoxClock 1, identical to my own example (pics from i2.wp.com/tomstek.us and i.ebayimg.com): Also at the rear is a second slider switch market that controls the “Announce” mode for the clock - when engaged, this sets the clock to announce the time automatically on the hour. Setting the time of the clock is a bit tedious but pretty foolproof, using three push buttons on the back (or should that be underneath) marked, Hour, Min, and Set, and using the voice of the clock to scroll through the hours and the minutes until the correct time can be set. In fact, the clock can actually be set to the nearest second, using the beeps that occur each second after you enter the correct hour and upcoming minute numbers, by pressing the set button again at the exact second. The clock is powered by three AA batteries, and my example is fully working and in good condition. It turns out that My example is somewhat unusual because it is version 1 of this clock, the original VoxClock, produced in 1983 and with no alarm function. Later versions 2 and 3 rectified this omission and introduced an alarm. Having established the date of my clock, I took a look at the history of talking clocks, the first truly portable talking clock being the 1968 “Mattel-A-Time.” This model was a teaching aid for children; a useful device for that purpose, and subsequently, talking clocks were developed for use by the blind or sight-impaired, with the Micronta VoxClock being a suitable model in this regard. The controls on the rear/bottom of the Micronta VoxClock 1 (pic from ytimg.com): The first quartz-based talking clock was apparently launched by Sharp in 1979 and designated the “Talking Time CT660-E, (Suffix ‘G’ for the German market). According to Wikipedia, “Its silver transistor-radio-like silver case contained complex LSI circuitry with 3 SMD ICs (likely clock CPU, speech CPU and sound IC), producing a Speak-and-Spell-like synthetic voice. At the front rim was a small LCD. The alarm spoke the time and and also had a melody “Boccherini’s Minuet”; after five minutes the alarm repeated with the words, “Please Hurry!”. It also had a stopwatch and countdown timer. The tiny controls to turn off alarm or set functions are hard to reach under a small bottom lid.” Before leaving this subject, and in view of the importance the company has in terms of we “watchers and clockers,” I must just mention the famous pyramid-shaped talking clock, the “Pyramid Talk,” launched by Hattori-Seiko Co. in 1984. This device necessitated one to push the top of the pyramid to engage the voiced time and it hid its LCD display under the base, so perhaps reducing its ease of use. A few more pictures showing the Micronta VoxClock version 1, identical to my own example. Most available pictures are for the very similar-looking VoxClock 2 (easily distinguished by the number '2' after "VoxClock" and by somewhat different controls (pics from i.ebayimg.com):
  8. Gosh, dear Sabailand, that does seem pretty expensive to me. If I had four grand to spend on a watch, it certainly wouldn't be that one. Sorry Bremont, but once again I just am not as impressed as I feel I ought to be about a British brand.
  9. Blimey, a year before introducing yourself. Surely not nerves I hope - we are a friendly bunch, as I hope you have already discovered.
  10. I agree with you, Caller, about the profile of Michael Wong. What I don't understand is that although I find it perfectly acceptable to produce a watch celebrating the Chinese pilots who fought for the US during World War Two, I just don't see why Bremont also had to bring Michael Wong, modern helicopter pilot, into the equation. Very odd.
  11. Well, here I am, back again in watch history’s “twilight zone” trying to throw light on little-known watch companies and brands, and bring this knowledge to collectors and others interested in the history of watches. This topic concerns Sultana watches and I must thank @spinynorman for bringing this brand to my attention in his recent Forum thread, “Sultana Chronograph Landeron 48.” When I set out to write this topic, I was not hopeful of discovering a great deal about Sultana watches but, although aspects of the research have proved to be tricky and difficult to pin down, I believe we now have a proper timeline for Sultana watches on which further research can be based. A mid-late 1950s automatic 25J Sultana watch with a 33mm (excl. crown) gold plated case and powered by a Felsa caliber 1560 movement; note the phrase, "RESSORT INASSABLE," on the dial which means, unbreakable mainspring (pics from sellingantiques.co.uk): According to Watch-Wiki, the current owners of the Sultana watch brand are Renley Watch SA, about which more will be said later in this topic. Leaving aside the promotional hyperbole in the Watch-Wiki entry for the current Sultana watches, a certain amount of useful information about the original Sultana watch company itself (Montres Sultana SA) is provided, and summarized here: Montres Sultana SA was founded in 1937 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, by Paul Gaston Schwarz, with the Sultana brand name being first registered in 1955 in Bern. Watch-Wiki then goes on to say a little about the products of the Swiss Sultana watch concern - apparently, one of the early Sultana watches featured a single movement that could simultaneously display two time zones. A magnified window at the 6 o’clock position showed the date while a push button at 2 o’clock, beside the winding crown, allowed for separate adjustment of the two sets of hands. Also according to Watch-Wiki, Sultana won the Grand Prix at the Internationale de Tessalonique in Greece in 1939, and won other prizes over the years. Going back for a moment to the two timezone watch described here above, it is notable that the dial was provided with numbers in both Arabic and Turkish; notable because the brand name, “Sultana,” almost certainly derives from the meaning of the word as a female sultan or the wife/mistress of a sultan, leading one to surmise that the Near and Middle Eastern markets were a major target for watches produced by the Sultana watch company. In fact, as we shall see below, other firms also used/registered “Sultana” as a brand name, probably for the same reasons and with no apparent link to Montres Sultana SA. A 1950s hand-wind Sultana triple date with moonphase wristwatch with a 30mm stainless steel case (with gold-plated highlights) and powered by a Valjoux 89 17J movement (pics from assets.catawiki.nl): The Watch-Wiki entry for Sultana unfortunately gives us scant information about Montres Sultana SA, the original Sultana company, for the period after 1939 and before the brand was acquired by Renley in modern times, and we need to look elsewhere if we are to advance our knowledge of this company/brand over much of its history. Mikrolisk fortunately provides some clues, with a number of tantalizing entries for the brand word mark, Sultana, shown below (though not quite in the format of the Mikrolisk directory itself): Sultana: Registered 14 March 1906; Lemania SA/Lugrin SA, L’Orient,Switzerland, watches and watch parts. Le Phare-Sultana: Nouvelles Fabriques Le Phare SA, Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Sultana: Registered 25 October 1946; Montres Sultana SA, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland; watches and watch parts. Sultana: Registered 30 October 1975; Nouvelles Fabriques Le Phare SA, Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Sultana: Bulova Watch Company, Inc./J. Bulova & Cie., La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland; New York, USA. Looking at these entries we can add to the story of Sultana watches so far obtained from Watch-Wiki. Firstly, it seems likely that the brand name, Sultana, was actually first registered by Montres Sultana SA just after World War Two, in 1946, rather than in 1955 as Watch-Wiki states. It also seems that the Sultana Watch Company (Montres Sultana SA) was merged with, and then taken over by Nouvelles Fabriques Le Phare SA. Some sort of merger seems to have occurred in about 1950 or just after - in fact, I have just come across a separate reference, on the Jean d’Eve website, to “Sultana SA” being actually founded by Le Phare in 1950. Whatever the case, it is clear that the Le Phare name is intimately connected to the Sultana brand, with a complete absorption by Le Phare of the Sultana company and eponymous brand name in the early to mid 1970s. Then later, as we shall see, the Le Phare name turns up again, in the story of the Renley Watch Group who currently own and use the Sultana brand name (among others.) I should mention at this point that Sultana watches can be tricky to date accurately and things are made more complicated by the question of when the spread-eagled bird logo was first used by Sultana, and how often. Unfortunately, Mikrolisk doesn't provide a clue for this element of Sultana branding though it seems that it may not have been used in the early years of Montres Sultana SA - the bird emblem has been revived once again by Renley as a symbol of its Sultana watches. And secondly, we find two Mikrolisk entries for Sultana as a brand word mark that do not appear to be linked - at least directly - to the Sultana watch concern. The first of these is the 1906 registration of the name, Sultana, by Lemania SA, at that time known as Lugrin SA after the celebrated founder of the firm (in 1884), Alfred Lugrin (1858-1920). The Lugrin/Lemania firm - manufacturers of watches and movements - changed its title in 1930 to Lemania Watch Co., based in l’Orient, Switzerland, and in 1932, merged with Omega and Tissot to form the SSIH Group. The Sultana company was not a member of SSIH, and I have not (yet) found a link between Sultana and Lemania. The other entry for Sultana in Mikrolisk is for Bulova but unfortunately, the reference is not dated and does not appear to be an official registration. My feeling is that both the Lemania/Lugrin and Bulova references to Sultana are for the use or intended use of that name as a mark for products destined for the Near and Middle Eastern market. A Sultana hand-wind chronograph from about the mid-1960s with a 36mm gold plated case and powered by a Landeron 49 17J movement (pics from assets.catawiki.nl): From about 1937 then, until about 1950, we have Sultana-branded watches being produced by Montres Sultana SA, probably independently. Then comes a period during which Sultana watches came under the aegis of Le Phare, perhaps as a merged concern, until in the early-mid 1970s, the Le Phare company took over the brand name completely and absorbed Montres Sultana SA. This state of affairs continued until the Renley Watch Group from Hong Kong came on the scene and took over Le Phare, including its key watch brand - almost constituting a rename of the Le Phare company - Jean d’Eve, as well as Le Phare’s Sultana brand name. Thus, in order to finish the story of Sultana watches, we must therefore now turn to Renley - itself an interesting entity - and take a brief look at its history. In this regard we are fortunate to have a very useful document in the 2015 report by James Chambers for the Economist Intelligence Unit entitled, Hong Kong’s Renley Watch Group can count on double-digit growth in China following strategic shift from factory owner to brand retailer. This report gives us a historical perspective for its forecast, and some helpful information. According to the report by James Chambers, the Hong Kong based Renley Watch Group, founded in 1983 [and titled the Renley Watch Manufacturing Co. Ltd.], was almost alone among Hong Kong watch companies in maintaining its manufacturing base in Hong Kong rather than moving their manufacturing capacity to mainland China. Nevertheless, Renley had its eye on the creation of higher-end products and sought to acquire local marques in the home of watchmaking, Switzerland. By 1992, Renley had taken over several Swiss marques including (Le Phare-)Jean d’Eve, a well-established family run producer of fine watches founded by Le Phare in 1981 and it wasn’t long before Renley had established a sales office in mainland China to market Swiss watches to the growing ranks of affluent Chinese. As for the home-grown manufacture of watches by Renley, Stanley Lau, the Managing Director of Renley, took a long-defunct brand owned by Jean d’Eve - Temporis - and started to design, assemble and manufacture watches under that brand name in the already existing Renley factory in Hong Kong, then marketing the watches in China helped by the 2003 Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between China and Hong Kong. Interestingly, at this time, Hong Kong-made products had a certain cachet in mainland China, and Renley made use of this identity as a selling point. Since then, Renley has transformed itself from a contract manufacturer into the owner of a stable of brands that enjoy a strong and improving reputation among consumers in mainland China. Sensibly, the Renley Group has placed its products into different market sectors where even in a downturn in the market for the more luxurious watches can be coped with by sales of less expensive Renley brands. A hand-wind 17J Sultana wristwatch from about 1955-60 with a flamboyant dial perhaps designed with the Near/Middle East market in mind (pics from i.ebayimg.com): This information allows us to surmise that at the beginning of the 1990s, (having acquired a factory at La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1991) Renley took over the brand assets of what had been the Le Phare watch company, including the Sultana name as well as Temporis and, of course, Le Phare’s Jean d’Eve brand name. This enabled the Renley Group to subsequently revive the Sultana name and commence production of Sultana watches in Switzerland though exactly when Renley actively commenced production of its Sultana range I am not sure. Taking us to the present, the Renley Watch Group has a factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds under the name Renley watch SA, acquired in 1991, as well as its production capacity in Hong Kong. It employs more than 150 people and produces 100,000 to 120,000 watches per month. The Sultana watches are Swiss-made and the address for Sultana Watches is in Switzerland at Renley Watch SA, Avenue Léopold-Robert 94-96, CH-2301 La Chaux-de-Fonds. A rare and important Sultana hand-wind 18 carat rose gold chronograph apparently dating to the year 1945 with a 36mm (excl. crown) case and powered by a Landeron 49 movement (pic from darlor-watch.com): A rare 18 carat gold Sultana 17J watch-ring. Probably late 1950s (pics from cdn.globalauctionplatform.com) IMPORTANT NOTES: The Cairo based Egyptian import/export company named, Sultana Watches, is not connected to the Sultana watches that are the subject of this topic. I have, since completing this topic and looking again at the extant examples of Sultana watches online, had a think concerning the active period of Sultana branding by Le Phage. I now think that shortly after the absorption of the Sultana brand by Le Phage in about 1975, the brand was discontinued, partly perhaps as part of the rebranding exercise by the company from Le Phage to Jean d'Eve. From about the later 1970s Jean d'Eve still had the Sultana brand name in its portfolio but it was not to be resurrected until after Renley acquired Jean d'Eve in the early 1990s.
  12. Very nice indeed, Jon @PC-Magician - you are obviously a watch magician as well as a PC magician. Looking at your excellent series of photos, I must admit that when I saw the picture showing all those components in that tray, I began to sweat... That sort of work is just beyond my capabilities.
  13. Thanks for starting this interesting thread, Jet @Jet Jetski. I have done a bit of preliminary research just to see if it is likely that Gradus might shape up to be a good topic for the Forum. However, as Balaton @Balaton1109 has also discovered, one reaches a dead-end almost as soon as one starts looking. This lack of any information is all too common when looking into little known watch brands/companies although, given the number of surviving Gradus pocket, pendant and wrist watches shown online, I would have expected some knowledge of Gradus watches to have seeped into the public domain.
  14. Nice looking watch but seemingly absent of all obvious "identifiers" except a serial number. No doubt someone will know that movement and be able to reveal its identity... As to the state of the movement, it is pretty much impossible to judge whether or not it currently needs to be serviced just from your picture. Taking it to a skilled and reputable watch repairer/restorer to get an opinion is probably your best bet. You could also ask Simon, the Forum's technical repair wizard, for further advice.
  15. Nice watches dear spiny - that Allaine is particularly beautiful. You may already be aware that the trade word mark, Allaine, was registered by Allaine Watch SA/Achille Barré of Porrentruy, Switzerland, on 22 March 1941.
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