Classic LeCoultre –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
1929 vintage Ladies Gruen model in 14ct white filled Gold.
True Art Deco example with excellent condition enamel and engraved case by Wadsworth (14ct with reinforced extra Gold). A signed 15 jewel movement with 4 adjustments with Gruen Guild Switzerland markings. The dial is in good condition and the movement keeps very good time indeed.
No signs of corrosion within the movement. The original ribbon strap and slide/clip clasp was too short for my Wife, so I replaced the strap with a high quality German leather 11 mm wide taper spring open/end strap which is ideal. I have of course kept the original fittings as I hope to obtain a ribbon replacement soon. However the practicality of the new replacement strap will probably suit my Wife’s needs better at this time.
I always get a real kick out of finding very old watches that are still in amazing condition, with movements working just as efficiently as they did when first manufactured. It is a true testament to the wonders of the clockwork watch movement, which will probably outlast any of the quartz or digital efforts around today.
This Gruen watch does keep amazing time and note the adjuster is still in it’s central position which is quite unusual I have to say after all this time.
I like the fact this watch was looked after properly and bears the signatures marks of quite a few Servicings – always a bonus when considering watches of this age. So there’s no reason to doubt that it will keep going long after we’ve gone ( morbid I know), but what can you get these days for such a small outlay that can give you such service?
Not a lot – I can tell you – not a lot.
30th January 2016
(Just a note – I have updated 27th May 2012 in reference to cleaning/polishing a pre-owned Omega, bought at auction).
What do Ladies wear in watches?
I’ve just completed a small local survey regarding “ladies watches” the results of which I found quite interesting, though it seemed to fly in the face of the plethora of “ladies” models offered in the High Street.
There you will find dozens of models with “diamonds” or glass sparkly bits, odd dials, peculiar shapes, straps strings, thongs and goodness knows what else. Many are near impossible to read as the hands are shiny chrome, as are the numerals or markers and the more traditional ones are so small reading the time is very difficult. Then there are the plasticky “shock” styles which are mostly too big for me let alone the ladies.
It appears too the assumption is that women don’t work, because such a high percentage of the watches are what used to be called “dress” watches, for evening wear and certainly not for day wear – so utterly unrealistic today (or whenever actually).
So I spoke to a little group of women and girls of different ages just to see what they wear every day at work. I even took “wrist shots” of some of them which I’ll post later.
My group –
Two ladies in a ladies clothes fashion shop
A woman I know who works as a cleaner/house maid
My lady lawyer
My tax consultant
The Golf Club Secretary
A physiotherapist I know
The Post Mistress
That’s just 12 and not one (at work and at home) actually wore any bling or sparkly anything on their collective wrists.
So based on the findings of my little survey my personal pick this week is the Ladies Seiko Solar SUT116P9. Quartz powered and of course no battery required, white dial with Day and Date window @3, black Arabic numerals are nice and clear plus black hour and minute hands and centre seconds hand. So this is a very practical day watch as well as a decent looking dress watch.
Neat as well at just 25 mm x 8 mm with a luminescent dial, mineral crystal, stainless steel case and bracelet.
This has proved a very popular choice for some time and out of 12 ladies I quizzed about their watch choices, 3 had this very model (1st image) and 2 had a similar Citizen (2nd image).
This shows to me that ladies, certainly of my acquaintance have not much time for the bling offering of the fashion houses and prefer a practical/dress watch they can wear all day and evening.
The other popular model was the Citizen Ladies Expansion EW3152-95A Eco Drive quartz model.
No battery required with its E001 Eco Drive movement. It has a white dial with a stainless steel gold tone expansion bracelet (12mm wide). Water Resistance is 30m with a mineral crystal glass and luminescent dial. There is a good contrast Day and Date window @3.
I suppose owing to the small size of 25mm diameter and just 8mm depth, you could be forgiven into thinking this was a dress watch, but in reality it is much more, like the Seiko. Because there is the neat Day and Date window @3, and because there are clear large size Arabic numerals in black and the fact the hands are also black, it makes for a very easy reading watch.
Plus there is also the centre sweep seconds hand (my wife who worked in a laboratory like that!).
In fact this model is ideal for day wear too – a watch that manages to be a very good choice for all occasions and an excellent choice at that.
It’s noticeable that Seiko and Citizen both offer a wide range of ladies watches that seem to fit dress and day wear criteria pretty well. Add in the Solar and Eco Drive features and clear Day and Date visuals, which are prominent on many of them, they certainly appear to be in tune with what women really want.
A small proportion of my ladies had another watch specifically for evening, but none had one that I would call bling and a few of them had other variations of the two models shown here, albeit with a few zirconium sparkles on the bezel. But that was about it.
Most of the models were in the £70 to £120 range though two evening dress models came in at £600 and £1500 and both were gifts.
Indeed two ladies sported small plain Timex models and one had a Baby G digital Casio in blue/transparent. Dial display preferences of my group was 85% analog, which makes me think that digital models and complications in general just don’t impress ladies too much (boys toys maybe). Too large and too dull and ‘What’s that for?’ were three criticisms I heard.
One lady actually had a Divers (ladies) model that wore constantly, day or night because as she said – I can see the time every time! Can’t argue with that!
Of course this is hardly a scientific poll and the conclusions here are probably biased on age, as my friends did not include teenagers for example (my apologies), though I noticed that some of the daughters didn’t wear watches at all. Conversely they all appeared skin grafted to their respective iPhones, Samsungs, iPads and goodness knows what other “smart” devices they all seemed to be permanently ON . . . . . so much for the art of conversation!
Anyway I hope to do another more widely spread survey in the future and I’ll be interested to see what transpires then.
24th October 2014
Well I said it a few Posts ago, when I discovered the very nice Certina Swiss ladies model. I thought maybe this could be a rather elegant gift for someone who would hopefully like it as much as I – IF I got one . . . and this someone is how shall I say, not the most careful when it comes to wearing watches. Most of her old ones have scratched glass, case and bracelets or manage to get water in them! So what do you do? and she does not like macho or utility, military and girlie watches and certainly not like resin or plastic cased models at all!
Anyway I thought the Certina DS system model I found the other week would be ideal. And with a little bit of difficulty I managed to get hold of one from a nice company in Germany who managed to get it fairly quickly as it happens and who sent it via DHL and it arrived today.
The model I’d looked at on that previous Post had a red strap with matching chapter, but I thought I’d go for Gold color with white as it was arguably that little bit more dressy. This is the Certina DS Podium 3 hand model with a Swiss ETA Quartz movement. 316L Stainless Steel case in gold color with a lovely Mother-of-Pearl and white dial layout with Roman numerals, elegantly shaped black outlined and luminous infilled hands and black centre seconds hand. Plus a Large Date window @6 which is unusual for a ladies model. Clear Sapphire crystal with ultra scratch resistance and one of the clearest dials for ladies I’ve seen and being in a DS configuration is surprisingly one tough watch.
The Certina DS system features certain elements that Certina have sort of championed in their watch range which include –
Excellent Water Resistance of 100m or 10bar – ‘o’ gasket on the stem, 2 x ‘o’ gaskets in the crown, special gasket on the reinforced case back ( I kid you not), plus excellent shock protection. The case dimensions are a neat but good size for Ladies at 32.5mm diameter x 8.86mm depth and the battery life is around 2 years including an EOL system (end of life) where the second hand jumps in 4 second intervals.
And to cap it all there is a 2 year Guarantee and the watch with it’s white matching cabochon on the crown looks every bit the dress watch that it is.
Well I gifted it to this someone today (a special day as it happens) and she is absolutely delighted!
Here the last image shows the clarity of this dial – a feature I’m particularly pleased about AND these elegant hands are luminous too . . . .
So if you’re looking for a watch gift for your good lady this year – Christmas is just around the corner – this is not a bad choice. It’s beautifully made, very attractive and elegant, will survive the pool but also look stunning at dinner – and doesn’t cost a fortune.
Well it’s the thought that counts! 🙂
12th July 2014
Longines have always produced quality watches and this one for ladies is no exception.
This neat little model is a Longines “copper” dialed ladies model from 1939 with a 10ct Gold filled case and a signed Longines 17 Jewel movement that is still keeping good time and with no signs of not doing so for goodness knows how many more years. A sign of quality is there ever was, from one the the best Makers. The bracelet is a Speidel expandable.
27th January 2014
Noted my Wife the other night at an evening thing we were attending, was wearing a vintage Buren that I’d completely forgotten she had.
9ct Gold scalloped 27mm diameter case with a signed Buren Swiss 15 jewel movement. Quite a vintage this one dated at 1929 and is pretty good working condition too. She’d wound it at about 6pm and it was still going the next morning and keeping good time. Not bad for a watch that’s nearly 85 years old!
It never fails to amaze me that some of these old vintage watches manage to keep going, though in fairness this one could do with a replacement crown, as it’s just about worn away and quite difficult to wind now. In fact it really needs an overhaul I suppose, but so often with these old watches, you sometimes feel leaving well alone is the better option. The sensible thing seeing as there is nothing broken on it, would be to have gentle overhaul/clean/lubrication – it will then probably go on for another 80 odd years – timeless almost. . . . . .
2nd March 2013
Having a trawl through my Wife’s watches and found this little item in 9ct solid gold case and manual wind. If you know your watches the face whilst perhaps a little anonymous has some clues there. There is a sunburst dial under the applied central inscribed decoration, two tone dial and black steel hands plus the style of the whole tends to make one think Rolex. A fact which is confirmed if you peek in the back as there hides within an original Rolex movement.
I remember we picked this up at a general auction at a very good price and certainly not one you would associate when talking Rolex, so we were lucky indeed. Date wise probably around 1915 maybe and as far as I can tell all original. Whatever, the watch looks pretty well perfect on my Wife’s wrist and is often worn – so a well worth purchase and possible investment too.
27th May 2012
From my ladies collection this is a nice Quartz Stainless “diamond watch”, silvered dial with quarterly applied and well matched lively diamond markers. Super rectangular case shows it’s not the current trend for this model which seems to be round shaped, though it is still set with diamonds to the front. At 21mm across and 27mm lug to lug this is a really nice size for today’s ladies, not the macho look oversize and not the old traditional “hard to read” tiny affair of olden days.
Original Omega signed buckle fine leather 19mm strap set off this nice signed 1376 calibre Omega powered timepiece. One of the nicest versions of this watch in my opinion and one which my wife loves to wear with that little black cocktail dress and perfect for any occasion. Purchased this one at a watch auction and whilst there are a few scratches to the case, as seen here in close up, they are really not noticeable in normal wear at all.
So a class act and very stylish watch, good size and without the silly “over-bling” look which many ladies watches that combine jewellery and time seem to have. Anyway I know my wife likes it – so end of story!
Update – This was one of the first watches I decided to try my hand at sorting out the many scratches on the case. I had got myself a Dremel hand tool (battery driven) with a polishing burr head and some polishing compound. A bit of trial and error using a mid speed the result can be as much or as little as you want. This is the first stage result –
6th March 2011
From my ladies box – another earlier vintage Omega 9ct Gold manual wind strap watch with lovely green cabochon crown and stylish six sided case.
Bought this one at auction recently and with a bit of research found the model number and when it was on sale here in the UK. From sometime around 1981 to perhaps the mid 1980’s it featured in Omega retailer catalogs and priced at £289.50 in the 1981 Prestons Timer Division catalog – which in today’s money is approximately £950. Prestons of Bolton was apparently a major Omega Dealer of the day.
Swiss made with a manual hand wound Swiss movement it still keeps very good time and condition wise this one is excellent. The gold colored dial is virtually as new with only the slightest blemishes here and there too small to be noticed. The interesting green cabochon crown is certainly original and in it’s day was quite an unusual feature in this model range. I replaced the rather worn strap, unfortunately not original and missing the Omega signed buckle, which is a pity, but I’ve now fitted a quality 12mm vintage style leather strap with a matching gold buckle which suits it very well.
Dimensions – 21mm across (ex crown) and 28mm lug to lug – just about 7mm height means it’s a good ladies size, not too small and not large either.
So what’s it worth now? I would guess somewhere over £400 and based on the auction price I managed to get it for – it has to be a good investment.
This one was originally supplied by Rattray & Co. (Jewellers) Ltd. of Nethergate, Dundee, Scotland and still has the original Retailer plush box.
22nd August 2010 – (updated 19th April 2015)
Another from my vintage collection – this one very recently acquired – just for the Ladies – a 1928 Bulova 14k White Gold filigree decorated Art Deco watch. Also known as the “Roberta” model which was ascertained from a 1928 advertisement courtesy of the members of mybulova.com forum.
Not bad from a general antique auction and a good price considering the condition of this watch. For a mechanical watch over 80 years old, hand wound – it is nothing short of amazing (I have done a spot of light cleaning – no more).
A nice Swiss 15 jewel movement in this particular model is also fully protected with a secondary glass* dust cover *(this cover actually predates glass as it was made from nitro cellulose and yellows with age) – which is original to the watch. The wonderful filigree work of the case and the matching expandable bracelet, also original. The oval case is 14k White Gold filled. The movement is the Bulova 5AP and the Bulova made case Patent date is 10th June 1924. I consider myself fortunate that it is in such good original condition.
Is it any wonder that I love vintage watches!
Next up – depends what arrives or what auctions I’m at this next few weeks!! Sad isn’t it….
Note 1 – I obtained additional information from the good folks at mybulova.com forum, who were very helpful in the proper identification of this model. Many thanks.
Note 2 – 1928 Advertisement featuring this very model – HERE