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Thread: Surprise Incoming: Concord Impresario GMT

  1. #1

    Surprise Incoming: Concord Impresario GMT

    Okay, this is a bit off the wall.

    The Redhead and I were visiting a new used-watch store (at least it was our first time there) and found lots of things to look at. But the deal of the day was a watch so out of current fashion as to require treating it like a vintage. So, please pretend I am telling you that I bought a watch made in 1950, which, based on styling, this one almost could have been.

    The Concord Watch Company started in Bienne in 1908, and they made lovely good-quality watches as house brands for fancy jewelry stores, primarily in America, and for jewelry companies like Cartier, Tiffany, and Van Cleef and Arpels. They made very few watches under their own name until they were acquired by the North American Watch Company in 1970, which had been founded by Gedalio Grinberg as the Piaget Watch Company in New York to sell Piaget watches in the USA. He expanded his portfolio and changed the name to North American Watch Company in 1967. (In 1983, Grinberg bought Movado from Paul Castella of Le Locle--who also owned Zenith and Zodiac--and changed the company name to the Movado Group). In 1979, Concord made itself known when it created the quartz Delirium, the world's thinnest watch. The second-generation Delirium was less than a millimeter thick, with two actual hands. Just be careful with it. The Piaget influence was still being felt.

    In the 80's, Concord came out with the Mariner and Saratoga lines, which were classic 80's watches that are still being made. In the 90's, they returned to mechanical watches, with high-grade movements. In 1997, they introduced the La Scala and the Impresario.

    All of these had particularly idiosyncratic styling--they certainly were not trying to please everyone. I cannot consider many of their watches, though I really love my mid-2000's Mariner diver, which is still, at less than 10mm, the thinnest mechanical 200m diver I've ever seen. But funky styling aside, quality was exceptional.

    The Impresario went mechanical in 1998, and the line included a chronograph, a reserve de marche, and a GMT model, full and perpetual calendars. All were small and thin revivals of early 50's fancy-lug watches, with dauphine hands, but with 90s sculptured silver dials.

    And all of the Impresario Mechanique watches used Zenith chronometer-certified movements.

    So, this is a Concord Impresario GMT watch, with a Zenith Elite caliber 682 just like the current Pilot GMT, where the 24-hour hand is actuated by a flush pusher at 10 O'clock. This is not a travel watch--changing the GMT offset is too difficult--but it is handy for those who don't move but who do need a handy GMT or other timezone reference, such as the time in an outlying office in some distant locale.

    The Zenith Elite is a thin and accurate, at 3.3 mm, and this watch is only 8.5mm thick. At 35mm, it's tiny by today's standards, but then so are most vintage dress watches, and remember that's how this should be viewed.

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    The dial is rather baroque, but impeccably executed and it really catches the light. The dauphine hands are rhodium plated, but the seconds hand in the Lépine subdial is blued. The red arrow on the GMT hand is the only break from the monochromatic look. The date window is trapezoidal and so are the numbers on the date ring.

    The prominent teardrop lugs are an anachronism, to be sure, and may be more 30's than 50's. I just don't know what to think about the coin-edge case. But there will be days when it fits my mood.

    The movement is superb, on a par with anything not from the very high end.

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    The watch came with its box, book, 1999-dated warranty card (from a local high-end jewelry store), a full service, and (yes!) COSC certificate, for under four digits.

    But it really is small...

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    (The strap that came with was a replacement that was too short and this one is a placeholder. This watch needs something legitimately reptilian)

    Rick "who saw smaller vintage Rolexes" Denney
    Last edited by Rdenney; Apr 26, 2015 at 04:15 AM.
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

  2. #2
    Looks great, Rick. You always seem to have a new watch up your sleeve.

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  4. #3
    That's superb, the dial manages to have a lot going on without getting overwhelmed by any one element, very nicely balanced.The only thing I'm not 100% sure of is the lug design, but it is an interesting quirky approach. And as for the size, 35mm is fine by me

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  6. #4
    I was waiting for a Zenith/Ebel connection, and there it was.

    I like it--different, and I like all the different dial textures. BTW, the red 24 adds a bit of color in addition to the GMT hand. Nice find!

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  8. #5
    Really like it. Concord makes some solid looking watches from the ones I seen in real life really impressed.

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  10. #6
    deadhead hayday's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Maine, USA
    I like it!

    Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

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  12. #7
    I love it! wear it with pride and joy buddy! =)

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  14. #8
    Lots going on there: case design, dial layout, font, GMT complication. Styling from different eras. It really shouldn't work, but to my eyes, it does. And stylishly, too. Congrats on your new Concord, Rick!

    Eterna | Tudor | Seiko | Casio | G-Shock | Orient | Swatch | Mondaine | Zodiac (pre-Fossil) | Rolex | Wenger | Pulsar Time Computer | Omega | Timex | Bucherer | Citizen | Bulova | Glycine

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  16. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Rdenney View Post
    But it really is small...

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    (The strap that came with was a replacement that was too short and this one is a placeholder. This watch needs something legitimately reptilian)

    Rick "who saw smaller vintage Rolexes" Denney
    Sounds perfect for my wrist. You don't want to embarass yourself by looking girly - send it to me. If not the watch, perhaps just the strap?
    La lutte elle-même vers les sommets suffit à remplir un cœur d'homme; il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.

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  18. #10
    Something clever... bu11itt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Southwest LA
    Man. That is nice. I'm actually digging on the lugs as I think they play well with the overall aesthetic. Excellent find.

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