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Thread: quality brands that no longer exist

  1. #1

    quality brands that no longer exist

    I've been trying to familiarise myself with postwar Swiss brands, before dipping a toe into the market. I'm aware that one pays a premium for vintage watches made by companies who have a high modern day reputation eg Omega.

    Presumably there are brands who produced watches of similar quality in the 50s and 60s who are now unknown to the general market.

    When looking in the window of a vintage dealer, it's too easy to have my eye turned by names like Longines. What else should I be looking out for?
    Last edited by Der Amf; Nov 20, 2014 at 12:31 PM.

  2. #2
    I highly value these manufacturers who are known mainly for their chronographs though,if it speaks to you:

    - Angelus,the premium chronograph manufacturer.Unfortunately they didn't merge by another company however the rights and brand is owned now by Manufacture La Joux-Perret whose name surfaced due to the recent 'Bremont' movements concerns.

    - Kelek,another mysterious company,who recently is integrated into Breitling and is credit for the in-house movements.

    - Martel,you would find only simple three hand watches signed by Martel,but they were the name behind Zenith and Universal Geneva complicated movements from mid '20s to mid '60s until Zenith acquired them.

    - Lemania,another chronograph manufacturer,whose movements were used by many including Tissot,Omega, Patek... and is nowadays under the Swatch Group umbrella and manufactures exclusively for Breguet.

    At first glance these are the ones I recall.

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  4. #3
    Thank you - I know of Lemania movements, but the other three were all news to me. Excelsior Park was a name I only learnt last week.

  5. #4
    Old but Crafty RayMac's Avatar
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    Have a look at the final page of the article cited here:

    It is from a US perspective but it's interesting. Many of the listed brands are still around in different formats. Actually Longines and Tissot are pretty good vintage buys even today. And don't discount US windup products of the 1940s and 1950s. Hamilton Waltham and Elgin made nice stuff. Bulova Gruen and Benrus were good hybrid manufacturers.

    Few things are more delightful than grandchildren fighting over your lap. ~Doug Larson

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  7. #5
    Favre-Leuba is a sneaker brand. Not high end, but completely competent and their caliber 253 was innovative, exclusive, made in their own workshops, easy to service, and affordable. But they are hard to find without buying examples from India, usually with corroded movements and garishly repainted dials.

    American watches are also good deals, if can find examples large enough to be wearable.

    Longines sells in the vintage market as a middling brand, because of how it is positioned today. But in vintage times it was a high-grade brand with manufacture movements of interesting design and good finishing. A Longines from the post-war period might have been nearly as respected as a Jaeger-LeCoultre, but it will sell today for much less.

    But vintage LeCoultre watches (American market--without the Jaeger) are the equal of their Swiss counterparts though often priced less for the simple dress watches.

    Those are ideas to throw into the mix with others.

    Rick "only recommending what he has personally experienced" Denney
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

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  9. #6
    West End is another brand which is pretty under-rated.Most have Longines movements and can be verified by Longines Heritage.
    Longines is a perfect brand,it has all what one can wish;heritage,innovation,manufacture and volume.I believe very soon it will be lifted up within Swatch Group to be re-positioned - just like they did with Omega in the last decade.
    Last edited by Еmre; Nov 19, 2014 at 09:21 PM.

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  11. #7
    Zenith & Vintage Mod Dan R's Avatar
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    You can do what I did. Pick an aspect and look for it. For example, I had never owned a shock such as this one, so I bought it.

    Name:  CymaMvt.jpg
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    Saw the movement on this little Mido and just had to have it!

    Name:  Mido_Mvt.JPG
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    In short, if you are not looking to have a specific brand, you can have a lot of fun collecting!


  12. #8
    I'm in the UK, so I doubt I'll see much in the way of the American brands. I might start by having a good look at what Longines are available, and once I've got a sense of prices, spread to these other brands mentioned. Get my expectations calibrated :-)

  13. #9
    For the time being I'm just wanting to spend a while choosing just one watch to add to my fairly small rotation. So I don't want to do it blindly! I've got five very cheap vintage watches (which I like very much) and now I want something a bit more...everything

  14. #10
    Quick question: when did stainless steel become standard?

    Or to put it another way: if one is looking watches around 50 years old is the choice
    1 gold
    2 gold plate
    3 chrome plate

    A year ago I saw an ad for a nice late 50s Longines in 9 carat gold. I rather liked the tone of 9 carat gold but I'm not aware of having seen much since

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