A vintage Doctor’s choice

This nice little 1935 art-deco rectangular Elgin model was and is known as the Osler doctor’s watch.  A little masterpiece in a 14ct gold filled case is in fact named after Sir William Osler, M.D.  (1849-1919).

The Elgin "Osler" watch 1935

The reason for the “Doctor’s” watch title was intriguingly because many watches of this period either had no seconds hand or alternatively a sub-dial seconds hand which was pretty small to see let alone use for pulse measurements.  And this was where this model scored with the medical fraternity.

Firstly having a centre seconds hand was a plus but secondly and probably of more importance was the addition of a printed seconds graduated chapter ring making it much easier to read.  Just tick off the first 15 seconds then multiply by four as was and pretty much is still how doctors read your pulse today.  The centre seconds hand on this model sometimes had a red marker on it just prior to the arrow head of the pointer, though this one is plain.

A nice sized watch at 39mm x 22mm it features a neatly recessed crown and a clear slightly domed glass.  Such a sensible size in comparison with some of the monster watches of today…
Inside is a super 15 jewel hand wound early Elgin signed movement, which is ticking away as good now as it was the day it was made over 70 years ago!

Elgin movement 1935

Of course one of the benefits of these old watches is that you can quickly snap off the back and expose the movement quite easily (water resistance wasn’t much in evidence at that time) and you can easily adjust for accuracy.
To the right you can see the actual movment and the nice solid crown winder at the side.  At the top the adjustment lever is easily accessible and surprisingly large compared to many more modern watches and the the serial number at the foot equates to a 1935 manufacture.

And I have to say that this particular one is amazingly accurate and certainly within around 50 seconds in 24 hours!
I also noticed that the stem/crown mechanism is actually superior to many a modern day watch in regards strength – it is superb and provides a very definite and strong winding action.

So a little departure from the watches I usually feature here, but I thought I’d share one from my “vintage” collector box as often they are so much more interesting than some of the modern offerings around.

I’m also quietly confident that these will still be going when some of the watches of today, both mechanical and quartz  will be long gone.

Time will tell ….

Update Aero

Well after a few weeks with this latest watch I have to report that any reservations I had or indeed criticism of it are utterly unfounded!

I have not had this watch OFF my wrist since!  It is working flawlessly and to my surprise is keeping VERY good time indeed – in fact much better than I initially thought would be the case with a relatively low priced Far Eastern mechanical automatic movement.
In the luminous department, whilst it is better than the whole face lighting of the last Aeromatic, it’s about average, but the contrast is better in daylight.

So all in all I am VERY pleased with this model and for the price it is difficult to see how it can be beaten!

My next review is a Quartz Eco watch which took my fancy some time ago and for the smaller wrist it is pretty good.

Aeromatic 1912 (2)

Another Aeromatic 1912 model but this time a model A1027 which is a “sextant” inspired aviation style from this German “maker”.

Model A1027

A little more conventional than the last model and without the all luminous dial feature.  Instead here we have the traditional numerals and hand luminous painted.  However the numerals are painted glossy which I don’t think does it justice. Matt is for me far better and clearer.  That said the watch is still quite clear to read and the luminous hands do stand out from the dial with far better contrast than the luminous dial version.   The dial face is in dark gray which gives reasonable contrast to the white markers.

The crystal on this one is very slightly domed (and very well fitted I have to say) and the crown is the more standard non-onion style.   It fits well to the wrist and overall at 40mm diameter it’s a nice size.   The case is a very smooth satin finish stainless and the stainless steel back has a crystal to see the innards at work, which are identical as far as I can make out to the previous model I posted.

Looks good on the wrist.

The watch keeps pretty good time and is as accurate as one should expect from the jeweled automatic Asian mechanical movement.

Finished off and complimented by a nice quality leather strap it sits very well on the wrist, and I have to say it’s actually as good if not better to wear than the previous one – but this is a marginal thing.

Suffice to say I like it as a good solid looking, neat and practical watch.  It’ll manage a good downpour pretty well but like me –  swimming is probably out!

Overall – Whilst it maybe has to compete with some of the “practical”  Seiko and Citizen quartz watches that are out there – and as a well made mechanical non quartz watch, it’s both well priced and better value than many of them – so a good choice in my opinion.   I can see it being a good companion for many years to come.

Aeromatic 1912 owned by Rainer Bettner of Frankfurt, Germany.  As often the case the “manufacturer” title may be misleading and perhaps more a case of assembly with alterations of what appear to be Asian designs found in the Million Smart Enterprises; website catalog – then perhaps re-badged Aeromatic 1912 or perhaps Tauchmeister.   So very much Asian in origin they use Lioning, Shanghai and SeaGull mechanical movements and various quartz ones such as, Miyota and probably Swiss Ronda too.

However such is the quality of Asian movements (the better known ones actually have quality control – the cheaper ones YOU are the quality control!), these are quite good watches and certainly for the price pretty well unmatched.   So an Aeromatic mechanical watch purchase will probably not let you down and in fact may well be a very good “daily beater” in comparison with anything else out there.   That has to be good – yes!

Update January 2014 Just a word on the luminosity of this particular watch.  Certainly not as good as Seiko Lumibrite or SuperLuminova, it is maybe the older Luminova or some other compound used here.  Consequently once light charged it does tend to fade quite rapidly and after a few hours of darkness it is maybe just visible.  So OK perhaps but certainly could be better.