Jump to content

Always"watching"

Moderator
  • Content Count

    5,030
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Always"watching"

  1.  

    A typical brick-shaped butane Foska clock-lighter with its original box, c.1970s and marked for a "SWISS" country of origin under the base. Foska also produced lighters/clock-lighters in shapes other than the brick (pics from i.ebayimg.com):

    s-l1600.jpg

    s-l1600.jpg

    s-l1600.jpg

    s-l1600.jpg

    s-l1600.jpg

     

     

     

     

    I recently purchased a two-hand gold-plated Giralux gents 17J hand-wind "Shockproof" wristwatch of a form popular from the later 1970s into the 1980s. The plated rolled-flat-mesh metal strap flows seamlessly into the bezel of the watch, each side of the strap being directly attached to the top of the top of the rectangular case without lugs or springbars. There is no information stamped into the stainless steel caseback and the branding is merely "GIRALUX" on the subtly textured gold-coloured dial, with the legend "17 JEWELS/SHOCKPROOF" also on the dial.  There is no country of origin mark on the watch.  

     

     

     

    A gold plated Giralux 17J hand-wind wristwatch very similar to my own example described here above and probably dating to about 1980 (pics from images.vinted.net):

    0734b_Vq84iKVpsTAZTWRnUYNUdQ8y.jpeg?1579

    06736_S6LGQd4qK8iLAxxJu424DHcH.jpeg?1579

     

     

     

     

    My first task in researching the producer of my watch was to look up Giralux to see what watch company might be responsible for the Giralux brand; I therefore turned to Mikrolisk as a first port of call. Mikrolisk attributes the Giralux brand to a company called Foska SA based in Biel, Switzerland, but provides no additional information about the firm. I then used Mikrolisk again to see what other brands were attributable to Foska SA, first finding out that the word name Foska was itself not only used by Foska SA but also, at some period,  by Sylvan Kocher & Co/Eska Watch, based at Grenchen, Switzerland. There is a fair amount of information online about Kocher & Co and Eska watches, for those members who are interested in that company, but Foska SA, the producer of my Giralux watch, is not well-known. Continuing with Mikrolisk, I managed to locate the various brand names belonging to Foska SA, and by examining the different brand names and their registration dates (where stated), some idea of the chronology of this company began to emerge. I list these brand names here below; they are all attributed by Mikrolisk to Foska SA, Biel:

     


    Canon           Registered on 20 October 1986

    Drimex          Registered on 9 October 1986

    FKB               Registered on 22 December 1975

    Fosca           Registered on 8 September 1978

    Foska           Also used by Kocher & Co/Eska Watch at some stage

    Giralux

    Gold Brick

    Mical             Registered on 15 January 1948

    Tosca            Used by other companies as well as Foska SA

     

    Having obtained some useful information about Foska SA from Mikrolisk, I turned to Google to undertake a thorough search online for information pertaining to Foska SA. As for watches branded Giralux, there is no shortage of examples online and the same is true of concurrent Drimex watches, so hand-in-hand with a Google search for references to Foska SA, I kept in mind the dates and styles of watches I had seen online that were branded Foska and Drimex. From these illustrated examples, it was clear that Foska SA was a watch manufacturer/producer that, interestingly, also produced combination lighter-watches, the majority of which were branded “FOSKA” although some bear the Drimex name. Note in connection with lighters, the Foska SA brand name, Gold Brick, which may refer to lighters rather than watches.

     

     

     

    An elegant Mical gents' 17J hand-wind wristwatch from the 1950s with a chromed case (pics from assets.catawiki.nl):

    6707004b-ea5e-4ae1-a6a5-cccd33503fd3.jpg

    6d18a368-1665-4603-be52-c122d1e3a745.jpg

    abfac6cc-a3f1-41e4-91f5-c716b49b83cb.jpg

    7b678bad-9489-485d-b876-05257ec6708a.jpg

     

     

     

     

    I do pride myself (in a modest fashion) on being able to get blood out of a stone when it comes to finding obscure yet relevant information online through Googling, and with a time-lengthy search for worthwhile facts about the history of Foska SA, involving multiple references and some translation work, I had enough material to provide a potted history of the company. One knotty problem did emerge from my searches; although the central period of the company’s history (from the early-mid 1960s until the mid 1990s) seemed to be straightforward enough, the origins of Foska SA and the later years of the company proved to be difficult to fully unravel. In this topic, I shall take us chronologically through the Foska SA story, providing details of the most important sources found online. .

     The first date we have for Foska SA in Biel/Bienne, canton of Berne, and the producer of my Giralux watch, is 1948, with the registration of the brand name Mical. There are extant wristwatches branded Mical dating to the 1950s, including chronographs, and I have seen printed advertisements from 1956 and 1957 for Mical watches. The 1956 advert gives the company name as, “Montres Mical S.A. Bienne/Suisse” while the same advert in English, for 1957, has it as “Mical Watch Co Inc. Bienne/Switzerland, and with no mention of Foska SA in either advertisement. This leads me to suppose that in the later 1940s and through the 1950s either Montre Mical SA was the forerunner of Foska SA or was a subsidiary company under an existing Foska SA. In fact, there is evidence from the Monetas website that  Foska SA itself was founded in 1963, and the assertion that Foska SA commenced production in the 1960s is backed-up by the VAT data for Foska SA provided by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), where a register of companies working in Switzerland is held, based on each company’s uniform identification number (UID). This source gives the tax number for Foska SA and states that it was valid from 1 January 1968 until the “end of obligation” on 31 March 1999.

     

     

     

    A 1950s Mical triple date moonphase gents hand-wind wristwatch ref. 176 with chrome-plated 37 mm (excl. crown) case and snap-on steel caseback. Powered by a Valjoux 17J caliber 90 movement (pics from Watchsteez at cdn.shopify.com):

    1_2ab324b9-7ff0-4a83-a0af-222139cc0d26_g

    8_8322794a-85f6-47e8-9c93-73b71f1ecc2b_g

    9_54d23dda-db58-4cec-9858-31186333515e_g

     

     

     

     

    The next date in our chronology of Foska SA came from an invaluable source of information that will assuredly be useful in writing the history of other watch companies of the same period. This document can be found as a pdf file at: doc.rero.ch/record/3s233602/files/DAVOINE_1970-4.pdf. The full title of this register of companies is, “L’EUROPE HORLOGÈRE/DAVOINE/Indicateur Général de l’horlogerie - Bijouterie - Électronique - Machines/Branches Annexes - 1970/HORLOGERIE”

    In the 1970 Davoine directory for clocks and watches, we find an entry for Foska SA in the list of companies based in Biel - Bienne with the company address given as “rue d’Argent 7” and a phone number - (032) 3 66 71. More importantly, in a table of each company’s main products we can ascertain that Foska SA was producing a number of speciality clocks/watches listed as motor car-, key ring, ball, brooch, lighter, and “parking”. In addition, Foska is tabled as producing electric clocks, and various desk clocks including electric,  miniature and alarm varieties.

     

     

     

    A Drimex Convertible XI ladies' watch set with a 17J hand-wind module and a variety of different pendant/wrist cases and different coloured straps in a red box followed by a smaller Drimex set, the convertable VII in a blue box. Difficult to date accurately but between about 1965 and 1980 (pics from cdn.globalauctionplatform.com and, bottom, img.bidorbuy.za): 

    540x360.jpg

    464499_140928130003_drimex_open.jpg

     

     

     

     

    Moving on in time, it is evident that Foska SA survived the Quartz Crisis and continued in production. Our next date of interest is 8 March 1990, when according to Swissreg (the official publication arm of the Federal Institute for Intellectual Property), located online via easymonitoring.com, Foska SA filed an application for trademark protection in Switzerland. The application was for the brand mark “FOSKA” and it was granted a year later - the mark appearing in the trademark register from 3 March 1991. The owner of the trademark is given as Foska SA, 102 route de Boujean, 2500 Bienne, and the goods and services for Foska SA are given as being “Horlogerie, bijouterie, articles pour fumeurs, gaz pour briquets” (trans.: Clocks and watches, jewellery, smokers' requisites, fuel for lighters) According to the Swissreg information, Foska SA did not renew their Swiss trademark protection after the expiry of protection date, and their name was deleted from the registry on 10 November 2010.

    The event on our next date in the Foska SA story (1996) is one that I would have preferred not to share because it just doesn’t seem to fit in with the company’s history. However, in the interests of full disclosure in case it turns out to be relevant, I must mention it here. Thus, according to the online reference, ydo.com/companies/402860/foska-sa, a company titled Foska SA was founded in 1996 with its main activity being the manufacture of “jeweled clocks”. This source goes on to state that the firm is a Swiss GmbH (LLC/Sarl) based at rue du Moulin, 92103 Noirague, Switzerland. In addition to the jewelled clocks, this company was/is apparently involved in other business activities wholly unrelated to horology. I currently do not know what to make of this information.

     

     

     

    A pair of hand-wind Drimex Toptime Mickey Mouse watches with gold-plated cases about 1.25 inches wide (excl. crown) (pics from i.ebayimg.com):

    s-l1600.jpg

    s-l1600.jpg

     

     

     

     

    Going back to the history of our Foska SA in Biel/Bienne, we have a reference with a provisional date of 1998, on the eve of Foska’s fall into financial meltdown. The source for this is at, forums.timezone.com/index.php?t=tree&goto=2110&rid=0, and is a list of Swiss watch manufacturers dated Friday 27 November 1998. In this list we find Foska SA located at Postfach 20, 2501 Biel, with the telephone number 062/926.23.23. The fact that the firm is contactable through a P.O. box indicates a change in status, perhaps a need to distance itself due to the beginning of financial problems.

    In 1999, all things changed at Foska SA and various sources are evidence of the firm’s misfortune. One of the most important sources of information about the troubles in 1999 and 2000 is the web address, shabex.ch/co/pub/foska_sa_en_liquidation_CH-073.3.000.818-0.htm, although a number of other sources also offer relevant information. According to the Shabex site, Foska SA was deleted from the Berne commercial register on 15 May 2000. Continuing with Shabex, we find that the first real sign of trouble was the following published item, translated from the French by me): 16.11.1999 Tagebuch* no.1830 from 04.11.1999 / Foska SA at  Bienne, manufacturing and trade in clocks and watches … New address: Office of the Fiduciary Brigitte Marti, chemin Albert-Anker 11, 2502 Bienne. On 14 December 1999, a legal judgement was passed declaring Foska SA dissolved, with a new company name being instituted - “Foska SA en liquidation”. On 13 January 2000, the same judicial authority (President of Court 4 of judicial district II Biel-Nidau) suspended the bankruptcy proceedings due to a lack of assets. Finally on Shabex, we have the Tagebuch no. 734 entry from 3 May 2000 which reads (in my translation) : Foska SA en liquidation, at Bienne, manufacture of and trade in horological products  …. This company name is automatically struck off the register pursuant to the provisions of Article 66 para. 2 of the Swiss Commercial Registry (ORC). This essentially marks the end of Foska SA as a going concern although the firm remained a legal/financial entity after 2000.

     

     

     

    A rather late surfer style "Drimex Professional" day/date 25J wristwatch with world time locations around the inside of the rotating bezel, probably early 1990s (pics from olx.co.za):

    image;s=1080x1080

    image;s=1080x1080

    image;s=1080x1080

    image;s=1080x1080

    image;s=1080x1080

     

     

     

     

    Although there is some evidence that Foska SA en liquidation recently disappeared (perhaps in 2019) the latest information from the Monetas website, is that the Foska concern is still present and still titled, “Foska SA en liquidation”, while being deemed to be “inactive”. The current management of Foska SA en liquidation comprises Michel Zaech as a “sole signature authority” member of the board of directors and Suzanne Froidevaux is the company prokurist - an authorized officer able to execute every kind of transaction and perform every legal act associated with the company.

    Having examined the various textual sources for Foska SA, we need to turn to the extant watches themselves, which are varied and seemingly in  supply - for both men and women. They follow the chronological sequence of the company as outlined in this topic and the better examples are certainly collectible, as are the Foska combination lighter-clocks or lighter-watches. I have noticed that some of the watches, including my Giralux, bear no country of origin, and I believe that Foska SA may have sourced some components and even complete products from outside Switzerland, and it does seem that the company also sourced products from manufacturers inside Swizerland (including Sicura), making it difficult to ascertain exactly how much manufacture or assembly of watches (and lighters) went on at Foska SA. Looking at the watches illustrated online, it certainly seems that Mical was (one of) the earliest Foska brand names used on watches, if the 1948 brand registration is to be believed, and the Mical watches include chronographs and triple date moonphase models, all pretty much from the 1950s. At the other end of the production run, we find some watches branded with Foska-owned brand names dating from the early and possibly even mid 1990s. It has to be said that Canon branded watches seem to be missing from the surviving watches online, and that Giralux and Drimex are the Foska brand names most often seen from the early-mid 1960s onwards, with women’s watches very much in evidence including pendant watches. I have left aside watches with the name, Tosca, because caution is required as this brand name also appears on watches other than those from Foska SA, as indeed does the brand-name Foska itself which was not registered in Switzerland until 1991 (see text above). I believe that we are on safer ground in attributing lighter-watches branded Foska to Foska SA, and these seem to have been an important product line for the company**.

     

     

     

    A (50 mm) gold plated Drimex Toptime mechanical hand-wind hunter pocket watch with a 1J "Swiss parts" movement and dating to about 1968 according to the seller (pics from img.bidorbuy.co.za):

    180205195616_20180205_175555.jpg

    180205195727_20180205_180935.jpg

    180205195823_20180205_175645.jpg

    180205195916_20180205_174843.jpg

     

     

     

     

    Although most of the watches originating from Foska SA and pictured online are mechanical, there are also quartz examples. I need to be careful not to underestimate the number of quartz watches produced by Foska just because pictured mechanical models are in the majority ; it may be that quartz examples tend to come from the late and rather poor period of the company and so might not be illustrated as collectible vintage items online. What does seem to be missing from the illustrated watches online are digital watches - both mechanical and electronic/quartz - which seems somewhat odd, and Foska SA does not seem to have shown much interest in technical advances when it comes to the watches. My feeling after examination many illustrated Foska SA watches is that the company had lost momentum by the end of the 1980s, with its most exuberant period (though not one where high quality and horology were important considerations) being from the mid-1960s until the later 1980s. I do wonder if the Quartz Crisis did damage the company but not immediately; the stop gap being taken up by revenue from products other than wristwatches (including “speciality” watches and lighters, and even the sale of lighter fuel) and from a cheapening of the watches to a low quality, perhaps attempting to cater for cheaper markets abroad such as India and Africa. With some of the watches having become of dubious merit, Foska SA probably entered a long period of slow decline, surviving until financial meltdown in 1999***.  Before leaving an examination of the Foska SA watches, I should just add that in the case of Drimex, the brand mark on watches is often the name DRIMEX above the term “TOPTIME”, with the cross of the ‘T’ underlining DRIMEX. Note that this Toptime is nothing to do with Breitling Top Time watches. As for Giralux watches, the name is sometimes accompanied by a rising sun logo. 
     

     

     

    A stylish but problematic automatic day/date Giralux gents gold-plated wristwatch, according to the seller a New Old Stock example dating to the 1970s. No details or pictures are given about the movement,  and the watch has a '5' mark on the dial similar to that used by Seiko; there are no country of origin marks, at least on the exterior of the watch (pics from veilinghuis-online.nl):

    thumb__400_600_0_0_auto.jpg

    thumb__400_600_0_0_auto.jpg

    thumb__400_600_0_0_auto.jpg

     

     

     

    A Mical chronograph from about the early 1950s powered by a Landeron 48 hand-wind movement and with a gold-plated (36.5 mm incl. crown) case (pics from assets.catawiki.nl):

    7a9bba2c-cc75-4ce8-a9eb-991256847880.jpg

    9eddd1d3-642b-41e8-8764-73303c096a5f.jpg

    ce87594f-346b-4df4-969c-65164eee7cd6.jpg

    0c8863c9-0103-48dc-b270-e2e2875768ed.jpg

     

     

    Notes:

    * I have not translated the German word, “Tagebuch” which appears in my translations from Shabex. This term is difficult to translate - offerings such as “Daybook” or “Journal” are not quite right. In the context of this topic, it could be described as an official commercial diary.

    ** I have come across Foska lighter-watches where the clock/watch dial bears another brand name not associated with the Foska brands, such as Imperial and Bucherer. These names may sometimes indicate the forim that produced the watch component for Foska but are probably also placed on the watch dial giving the brand name of a company selling on the items, either wholesale or retail.

    ***I have noticed a number of problematic Foska SA watches, especially Drimex examples, apparently dating to the 1970s and in very good or "NOS" condition. Some of these are described as having refinished dials and presumably have been renovated for resale, probably outside of Europe.   

  2. Dear @Gatorade and  @Balaton1109 , I have had a second look online to see what you may have missed with regard to finding relevant information about your watch. I have come across a most helpful site which can be accessed at: oliviastationery.co.uk/johnson_database_170717.pdf. You might not have clicked on this website as it does have a rather strange name, but you have missed a trick by not accessing it. The site provides a wealth of information on surviving Johnson watches and states that, "Most Johnson watches seem to have been exported to the United States when new; Liverpool was the principal port of embarkation for transatlantic journeys, so that the Americas were an obvious market. In order to avoid punitive duties, the watches were  mostly despatched in the form of uncased  movements, which were cased on arrival by New York craftsmen." 

    I hope that you will now have the required amount of information you need to place your watch in its historical context and add it to the list of surviving Johnson pocket watches; indeed, your example may actually be one of those listed on the oliviastationery.co.uk website.:)

    • Like 2
  3. I believe that your DEA watch is probably a product of "Nouvelle Fabrique de Tavannes SE, Switzerland". However, the DEA brand name was also used for pocket watches by Thomas-Ernst Haller AG, a firm based at Schwenningen, Germany. If you can identify the movement then it should be easier to identify the maker for sure, so I would suggest that you post some pictures of the watch including a good shot of the movement. 

  4. I presume that the origin of that big crown is the wearing of gloves by pilots in the days when aircraft cockpits were chilly to say the least. I think a crown like that should be on a suitably large aviator watch designed to be worn over the cuff. 

    I have just noticed that this lumed quartz Limit Pilot watch is just £20 on Amazon UK - I couldn't resist showing it here. OK, water resistance is probably more like 30 metres than 300, but Limit has a genuine heritage going back to 1912 and is still an English company. :biggrin:

     

    5747a.png

    5747b.png

    (Pics from limitwatches.co.uk)

    • Like 1
  5. When I saw the title of the thread, Nigel, I thought it was about a problem I suffer with when it comes to wearing smaller watches, especially those with leather buckle straps. I find that the watch creeps round my wrist and ends up at an angle in the worst possible place. Strangely, although I have very slim wrists, I find that larger watches sit better and stay on the upper side of my wrist. :)

  6. For those who would like to know more about Jenny - and in particular the Jenny dive watches - may I suggest that you take a look at the article entitled, "Jenny Watches may be a Brand you've Never Heard of, but its left a Significant Mark on Dive Watch History" by Eric Slaven, which can be found online at: monochrome-watches.com/jenny-watches-may-be-a-brand-youve-never-heard-of-but-theyve-left-a-significant-mark-on-dive-watch-history/

     

    • Like 1
  7. I don't really understand the link being made between a regulator timepiece and race driving whereas the chronograph suits the subject matter of the styling rather well. 

    I also agree also with Scott concerning the use of a central full-length sweep hand for the seconds and would have preferred the minutes to be central with seconds in a register.

    Having made those two somewhat negative points, I don't want to be too negative about this project because I do feel it has something going for it and I wish it well for the future, beyond the R1 regulator watch which needs some "adjustment".

  8. Dear @hartley353, you might like to know that I posted a topic on Avia watches back in 2015 on the Forum entitled, "Avia: Forgotten but not gone" - still available via the Forum search feature. I also rather like mechanical Avia watches and some of the better quartz examples like the Polar Star. Nice to know that you resurrected those two Avia watches; I always like to hear it when members keep watches alive to fight another day.:)

  9. Some of you will perhaps remember my fondness for Limit watches; my watch collecting began with this brand, and periodically, I like to refresh my acquaintance with Limit to see what goodies they are currently offering. Limit is a company with a long history and it still trundles along in its own idiosyncratic way, under the umbrella of the Time Products group, producing watches that are inexpensive yet pretty decent by and large. When I say inexpensive, I mean that the RRP of the watches rarely exceeds £30. A few days ago, I picked up a useful never-been-worn Limit "beater" in the form of a black digital watch, for a pound, and I now wear it on my daily exercise/bird spotting walk to time my progress. It has a useful 100 metres water resistance and the main features one expects from a basic digital chronograph watch. The new price is £16.95 on Amazon UK.

    Buying this watch reminded me that I have not recently visited Limit to see what new models have surfaced, and I was pleased to see that there were a few rather decent new watches in my favourite Limit category, the "pilot" watches. Although Limit have committed a sin in producing a small number of watches with "decoration only" features, I am glad to say that in the main, the new pilot models are rather good and extremely good value. Yes, these might be retro designs based on early classic watch designs, but in my book, Limit is a company with a genuine heritage that permits it to draw heavily from watch designs of much earlier periods. 

    I show three relatively new Limit models below, two of which have a date feature and all of which are on the current Limit website. All of these watches have alloy cases, snap-on stainless steel casebacks, and scratch resistant mineral glass crystals, and they are all powered by Japanese quartz movements (almost certainly Miyota, given past Limit provenance). The straps are not hideous but the leather-look straps are PU and I feel that it is worth replacing the latter with something a bit better. Limit do not state any water resistance figure for these watches, but in my experience water resistance in Limit watches of this type is perfectly sufficient for general wear. The watches are guaranteed for two years. 

     

     

    My favourite of the new pilot models is this one, with a 40 mm X 10 mm case with a coin-edge bezel. The hands and hour numbers/markers are lumed  (pics from limit.co.uk). This watch with a black strap has an RRP of £29.99 while the same watch with a stainless steel mesh strap comes in at £39.99 (pics from limit.co.uk):

    5747a.png

     

     

    5747b.png

     

    This model here below also comes in a white dial colourway, also with a black coated case. Case dimensions are 40 mm X 13 mm. The RRP  from Limit is £24.99 (pics from limit.co.uk):

    5948.png

     

    I am not sure how I feel about watches that have been deliberately aged to give them a period look but because the design of this watch, shown here below, is such a classic, I thought I would include it. Indeed, Limit actually seems to have made a good fist at this type of watch although it appears that there is no lume. There are two colourways of this model available; this one and one with an antiqued silver coloured case and white numbers/markers on the black dial. I cannot find the case size for this watch - perhaps it hasn't yet reached retailers - but the RRP is stated by Limit, at £29.99

    5795.png

    5795-1.png

    5795-2.png

     

     

     

    • Like 5
    • Thanks 2
  10. I am rather pleased with myself today. From a local charity shop that is usually too expensive for me when it comes to watches, I snapped up a boxed and unused Police Serenity automatic for £30. I always assumed that Police concentrated almost solely on quartz watches but it seems that there are/have been quite a few different mechanical Police models. I nearly didn't bother to have the shop cabinet opened for me to have a close look as I thought that the watch would be over the odds in price, and I certainly didn't expect it to be an automatic. The watch has a 45 mm X 14 mm brushed stainless steel case and a black leather strap; the hands and hour markers are lumed. The crystal is mineral glass, and the watch has a rear display crystal; water resistance is at a decent 10 ATM. Looking at the other colourways for this model, I feel that my watch comes off best, and although it is not a horological masterpiece with its Miyota 8247 movement, I am a happy bunny and will certainly give the watch some wear.

     

     

    L12124810.jpg

    (Pic from Overstock at ak1.ostkcdn.com)

     

     

    • Like 8
    • Thanks 1
  11. Christopher Ward watches seem to ably fulfil the wishes of today's watch collectors and buyers who want quality, variety that keeps within the idiom of the company, and decent prices that don't head off into the stratosphere. Indeed, for the most part, CW gets it about right, new logo or old.:biggrin:

    • Like 3
  12. Pictures please - front, back and movement at least. There is a listed but undated trademark on Mikrolisk for SUV within a coat of arms that relates to a German company, Uhrenfabrik Suevia GmbH/Schwäbische Uhren-u., based in Sindelfingen. Unfortunately, this mark has not been "confirmed" and may anyway relate to electric and synchronous clocks rather than watches.

    I await someone else's knowledge on this brand name, @spinynorman perhaps. Photographs would be very helpful though for dating purposes if nothing else.

  13. Leaving aside a collaboration with IWC on a pair of world timers, Louis Vuitton (LV) has been in the Watch Industry for only 18 years. Initially, the company focused on its barrel-shaped case - christened the “Tambour” - which became the basis for a series of watches with a growing repertoir of complications, at first powered by movements supplied by watchmakers owned by the French-based multinational parent company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) such as Zenith. In 2011, there was a major change at LV when the company acquired Geneva-based complications specialist La Fabrique du Temps, a small operation founded in 2007 by watchmaker Michel Navas and his business partner Enrico Barbasini, both of whom had worked previously for Gérald Genta. These two men are both credited with the construction of a tourbillon movement and a micro-rotor caliber for Laurent Ferrier as well as being co-founder of the now defunct BNB Concept (a high-end Swiss movement manufactory est. 2004 and sold to Hublot in 2010). Since the acquisition of La Fabrique du Temps, LV has continued to introduce high complications into its watches including its Spin-Time complication which, last year, was presented in a “mystery” version in which the movement seems to float suspended inside the case.

     

     

     

    Wrist shot of the CarboStratum and titanium Louis Vuitton TCFTPdG (pic from watchprozine.com) and a closeup from the back of the watch (pic from ablogtowatch.com): 

    home_6415341.jpg

    LOUIS-VUITTON-TAMBOUR-CURVE-FLYING-TOURB

     

     

     

    This year, LV and its haute atelier have come up with a new watch, the Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève (TCFTPdG), which Michel Navas claims to be a milestone, partly because of the structural innovation of the case.

    The 12.7 mm thick Tambour case of the new watch is 46mm at its base, sloping inward to 42 mm at the bezel. The exterior of the structurally quite complex case is a proprietary carbon fibre composite named CarboStratum. This material begins with random layering of 100 sheets of carbon fibre which are then heated and compressed in a mould. When milling the case to shape, the random patterning is revealed and, according to Forster (2020), gives “the shimmering appearance of shot silk, or the patterns formed by mixing two immiscible fluids like oil and water.” Navas himself (quote from Prince (2020)) states that “For me, carbon always looks cold, but the way [this is produced] makes it look ‘warm’, like dark wood.” The exterior carbon element or “shroud” is then placed over a titanium inner case, and the complete structure is finished off with sandblasted titanium lugs. The case of the Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève has one other, subtle, trick up its sleeve; a shape inspired by a Möbius loop whereby the case increases in size at the horizontal axis and diminishes at the vertical, giving it a slight oblate profile. The domed crystal is in double-AR-coated sapphire, and water resistance is at 30 metres.

     

     

     

    The CarboStratum & titanium version of the TCFTPdG (pics from watchesbysjx.com):

    louis-vuitton-Tambour-Curve-Flying-Tourb

    louis-vuitton-Tambour-Curve-Flying-Tourb

    louis-vuitton-Tambour-Curve-Flying-Tourb

    louis-vuitton-Tambour-Curve-Flying-Tourb

    louis-vuitton-Tambour-Curve-Flying-Tourb

     

     

     

     

    The TCFTPdG watch is powered by the caliber LV 108/9 - the 9 referring to the gold and CarboStratum diamond-set version. This hand-wind 17J, 21,600 vph, movement, with power reserve of 80 hours and bridges and plates coated with nano-amorphous carbon (NAC), is manufactured at La Fabrique du Temps. With this atelier being in Geneva, and because the movement accords with certain aesthetic and constructional standards, it can display the “Geneva Seal” (visible at 6 o’clock) and possesses some hand-worked traditional watchmaking within a relatively high-tech movement. In order to better accommodate the open-worked plate and NAC-treated bridge that depicts the LV logo, the tourbillon has been moved from its more traditional position at 6 o’clock to the 9 o’clock position. The cage of the tourbillon is in the form of a quatrefoil flower, harking back to the late 19th century flowers that then accompanied the use of the LV logo. Strap options are black rubber or alligator and rubber in blue or black. Prices taken from the two main sources of this topic are £252,000 or US$258,000 for the titanium and CarboStratum version and US$322,000 for the white gold and CarboStratum model set with 4.22 carats of diamonds.

     

     

     

    The white gold, CarboStratum and diamond-set version of the TCFTPdG wristwatch (pics from WatchProSite at storeage.googleapis.com):

    home_6415346.jpg

    home_6415351.jpg

     

     

     

    References:

    Forster, Jack, “Introducing the Louis Vuitton Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève”; Hodinkee, 9 March 2020.

    Prince, Bill, “Does this watch tell the Future?” By Bill Prince; GQ Magazine, British Edition, November 2020.
     

    • Thanks 1
    • Confused 1
×
×
  • Create New...