Rado & diamonds

Always had a fascination for Rado and their interesting ceramic designs, and all too easy to miss their more conventional models – such as this one, which caught my attention recently – slightly different, elegant – yes, automatic – surprising, with diamonds – Wow! and plus that something special – a look perhaps.

Rado Coupole model Automatic Ladies ‘Diamonds’ with deployment bracelet

This rather elegant Rado Coupole Automatic ‘Diamonds’ bracelet watch has a slightly different dial configuration than shown in their current range, but for me, it has been well received by my partner, it’s just what she wanted.
It’s that little bit different, not overly feminine – even with the diamonds are forever – and all that (though my Wife fortunately has never considered that essential) and it’s not the usual Quartz, but a very good Automatic, so, no fiddling around to change the battery, when the man in the house is not about.

Note – Two things my Wife never does – wash the car and change a watch battery – sensible girl!

Also, she likes the fact that at around 32mm diameter, it’s just the right size for the ‘today’ lady – the tiny dial older vintage models of yesteryear, so out of fashion now – or so she says!  This coming from someone who has a nice collection of vintage ladies watches! Or maybe she just says the right things at the right time!

This model has to be a NOS (new old stock) or at the least, VERY rarely worn, as I can find no signs at all of any wear – not that it’s that old, but still quite unbelievable and for me, a definite bargain!

A silvered dial, not MOP as current ones, but simple, simple – gold coloured main hands and a centre seconds sweep hand – and it shows just the time. It also features applied stud/diamond markers all the way round and as long as she’s wearing it, being automatic, it runs!

I read somewhere that the diamonds are just that – real diamonds – not large of course – each maybe around 0.038 carats – but there’s a good few of them.
The crystal is high quality Sapphire and the Rado signed Automatic movement has a Power Reserve of 38 hours, so you can take it off at night with no worries – it’ll still be ticking in the morning.

It is also noticeably a very, very smooth mechanism and in fact everything about this watch is smooth.  The stainless case finish is exceptional, smooth as silk as is the bracelet and I take my hat off to Rado, for the sheer quality of finish.

Rado Coupole “diamonds” exhibition back – ref 561.3862.4 in stainless dual colour.

The stainless steel case is 31.8mm in diameter, so as said, a nice sized watch and has a Water Resistance of 50m, which is better than many Ladies’ dress watches.  The bracelet is a beautifully finished stainless steel deployment type with integral gold/bronze tone PVD links I believe, which suits it well and adds a neat colour combination.

To cap it all, as said, I got myself a bit of a bargain, as I’ve recently seen a similar pre-owned one currently on sale (though single tone stainless only) for £1195 and higher. But I managed to pick this one up at auction for less than half that figure – so happy days.

Rado Ladies Coupole on MY wrist – perfect.

Another plus point for me is that it is such a good size – mid size they’d call it now or Uni-Sex (doesn’t that grate?), I can wear it too – my Wife’s wrists are just about the same as mine diameter wise.  However I have larger hands, so the nicely made folding deployment buckle with it’s neat built in extender, allows it to slip over my hand without any trouble at all – very neat.  And as it’s not too feminine, it looks really good.

So, in a way, Rado have almost over-shadowed their more conventional watches, with the fanfare introduction of the ceramic range, as if that’s all they did. And it certainly is not.

The Coupole being a fine example and I’m very pleased to have it.

Classic Ladies LeCoultre

Classic LeCoultre –

Original LeCoultre ladies fancy bezel – c1954

However, this model is NOT the more popular and later Rendez-vous, which has a rotating bezel with a dot marker – a tricky marketing feature, where the Lady moves the bezel around the dial, denoting the number of hours to the “Rendez-vous”.

This is the earlier fixed fancy wide bezel version of around 1954 and without jewels, in 14 carat gold vintage cased LeCoultre in original untouched condition.  Inside is a manual LeCoultre signed movement, a silver dial, though now with aged patina and I’ve fitted a newer leather strap, as the old one fell to pieces.  It would appear that the previous Lady owner wore this pretty constantly.

Why I purchased this model was simply that you don’t often find an older LeCoultre ladies watch in such truly original condition, which for me, makes this rather special.  Date wise this is from around 1954 and this particular model (different strap) is listed in the Thirty-Eighth edition Complete Guide Watches, Gilbert, Engle & Planes.

The unique button markers are an integral part of the case and are situated surround the small original acrylic crystal covered dial.  I also noted the winder is original – so often these are replacements with watches of this age. The watch also runs perfectly and keeps very good time and according to my Wife, is neat to wear and a nice size.

I may end up managing a sympathetic clean and polish, but don’t really want to spoil the look of age and obviously a well loved watch, so the final decision has to be my Wife’s – and I think she likes it just as it is.

As with many auctions, this one was bought at a hammer price well below the US estimate, so I’m happy with it – plus the fact – where do you get another one and doesn’t it look good on the wrist.

 

Ladies Sorna Jump watch

Here’s a neat Ladies Sorna model from the 1970’s – the Sorna Jump.  Another Watch Company long gone and not too much known of them.  Swiss of course and originally from Grenchen, they used to manufacture watches under the brand names of Sorna, Sorina, Sornana and a few others with similar sounding names.  From what I can find out they disappeared in 1994, though a new Sorna in Germany today also make Trias watches.  Whether they bought the name I could not say.

Sorna ladies “Jump” watch – described as “digital” though not as we know it today.

Suffice to say, this particular model was born at the same time as the Hudsons as an attempt to stem the flow of cheaper Quartz watches from the East.  By using mechanical movements as before they hoped to tempt the buyer with a digital look but using conventional components.  Once again using Ebauche movements with hour and minute disc as opposed to hands, the hour either “jumped” into view at the last minute of the hour ended or slowly slid into view, depending on the mechanism employed.  Thus providing a “digital” watch, though not as we would know it today.

Note the high contrast numerals – easy to see on a small watch.

I like this particular model as it has the Hour highlighted in white against black.  This makes it stand out better than most especially as it is a smaller sized watch.  Note this is a reasonable manual wind movement too with 17 jewels.  Many other “jump” style watches often featured simple 1 jewel movements – so this is quite a decent watch.

Neat Sorna signed Swiss 17 jewel movement in perfect as new condition.

I have another high gloss, high colour leather strap for this watch and as my Wife is as fickle as I am regarding straps and bracelets, I won’t know until I change this bracelet to see which one will get her approval.  I can see her choosing the alternative matching blue conventional leather buckle strap – but it would be dangerous to second guess her!

Well I was right NOT to second guess, so I’ll not even show the strap –  suffice to say she picked the bracelet!

Rare Ladies Movado Day Date Calendar

I like this neat and rather rare 1949/50’s Ladies Movado Day and pointer Date calendar complication model I picked up in Auction recently.

Movado 3 letter Day & Date pointer Calendar index model - 15 Jewel - Ladies

Movado 3 letter Day & Date pointer Calendar index model – 15 Jewel – Ladies

Dated around 1950 maybe it has a 15 jewel manual wind Movado signed movement and a very neat layout dial with a three letter Day window @12, a red tipped Date Pointer with calendar perimeter index, with direct pin side calendar adjusters in addition to the main crown.  The very solid looking square case is stainless steel and measures just 12 mm wide with a slightly domed crystal.  The case is stainless steel and the back is a tight snap fit.  The black leather strap is a standard 8mm fit, so easily interchangeable if needed, though this one is virtually new and recently fitted.

Movado Case data

Movado Case data

This watch is in decent condition with few signs of wear at all except for one tiny ding on the back, which actually is of no consequence.  The important thing for me about buying any of these small complication watches is the mechanics.  Do they work?  In this case there is a 3 letter Day wheel and a Date Pointer, both of which require setting – and on this model they do.

Movado direct adjust Day and Date apertures.

Movado direct adjust Day and Date apertures.

The problem with Auctions is that anybody and his dog have access to fiddle with the items (I’ve seen people open watches, get screwdrivers out and start poking inside – I kid you not!) and whilst the Auction House may indicate in their Condition Report that it winds and appears to run, that’s usually about it.

It is very definitely up to you to ensure it and for this model, that the complications work.

This Movado is a manual wind and has two tiny little pin adjusting holes on the left side, positioned at about 7 and 10 on the outside of the case.  These adjust the Day and the Date independently of the Crown which simply alters the hour and minute hands (the time).
As said fortunately they work on my one, though once I’d had a close look inside I found one of the adjusters was bent out of position.  If left in that condition it could mean that inserting a pin could easily slide past the adjuster and stab the movement in it’s vitals!  Not good at all . . .
The adjuster levers in this model are side sprung, to enable them to move and line up with the internal case apertures and the pin holes.  So I re-centered them and set them into the correct position.  Now if you insert a pin to adjust, it will hit the adjuster dead centre and operate the mechanism as it should.

Movado 15 jewel Day & Date pointer Calendar movement

Movado 15 jewel Day & Date pointer Calendar movement

So a word of warning when you meet a model with pin hole adjusters.  Have a real careful look to see and/or feel the adjuster, before stabbing it harder and harder!  Get it wrong and you can easily damage the movement.

NOTEif you check out the image of the movement above you might just make out the adjusters at the bottom of the image (in the shadow – sorry) – on the underside of the M of Movado and the C of Factories. There are 2 levers which move side to side, sprung – but straighten these and they fit nicely into the case apertures and pin holes.

These ones both work as they should, so adjusting the time, Day and Date is easy.  In fact easier than many modern complication efforts – and amazingly it’s all contained in a very small movement within a small 17mm x 12mm case.

Movado Ladies Day & Date Calendar index model. Circa 1950

Movado Ladies Day & Date Calendar index model. Circa 1950

Yet to get hold of my Wife to get a wrist shot, but when I do, I’ll add it here at the end . . . . after this shot of it lying on my office desk.

Note Oh as usual – if you don’t know, if you click on any image you should get an enlargement . . . . .

Now you see it, now you don’t!

The title says it all really.  One of the troubles with the digital age is that the images of these new watches on screen and on-line are in fact enhanced artistic license images and NOT often the reality.

Ladies Calvin Klein Future Alarm Watch

Ladies Calvin Klein Future Alarm Watch

And this phenomenon isn’t just a Gents prerogative either – it also affects those modern women and ladies who have embraced the larger masculine style of watch today.  You buy the super watch you saw on-line and when you get it, you can’t make out the time.  It has no contrast or the light is shining at it in the wrong direction and so on.

So it’s nice to spot a watch for the Ladies – and the men as it happens, the only difference basically is the color set up from Calvin Klein, that appears to me to maybe overcome the clarity issue.  I say maybe as I too have only seen them on-line, but at least the retailer I spotted shows a video.  So maybe a more accurate representation and possibly worth a look.

The Calvin Klein Future Alarm model as it’s called for ladies has a nice color way and isn’t very large by todays standards, but actually a nice size for anyone with sensible wrists.  It measures 38 mm diameter and is only 9 mm depth, so neat on the wrist, ladies or gent.  The Ladies version has a white rubber strap and rather stylish colored LCD with blue numerals, which appear to have really decent contrast. The watch has two pushers on the right side a Date feature and an Alarm.  It also has a nice smooth case set up with a decent 30m Water Resistance.

It comes with the Calvin Klein 2 yr Warranty and costs around £160, which is reasonably affordable today.  The colour combination I think works for ladies and IF the contrast and legibility is as I would hope, then this is a pretty good buy.

Gents Calvin Klein Future Alarm Watch

Gents Calvin Klein Future Alarm Watch

The Gents model is only different in the colour and is slightly thicker at 10 mm, so it is said, but the same otherwise.
The Gents version also has the usual macho dark dial job, though in this case I might prefer the Ladies one – as I have a feeling the color set up just might be better clarity wise, though would I dare wear it?

Come to think of it – I probably would!  Unisex is Unisex – right?

Oops! My son has just cried out, “You can’t be serious Dad, you can’t!”  “You got to be kidding me – Yikes!”

You see that’s the trouble with this new generation – they have no sense of humour!   😉