Extra flat Touchon

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by beta21, Dec 3, 2010.

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  1. beta21

    beta21 Registered User

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    #1 beta21, Dec 3, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
    Hi.
    I have a (extra) flat 19J Touchon (Wittnauer) PL watch in a platinum case . The movement is quite thin, 1,86 mm. I am curious about the case mark, does anyone recognize it? I have heard the thin Touchons came in three different thicknesses. 24, 20 and 17 12th's of a millimeter, is this correct?. Is my mvt the 24/12 variety. It sort of falls in between the 24 and 20 thicknesses. 77689.jpg 77690.jpg 77691.jpg 77692.jpg 77693.jpg 77694.jpg
     
  2. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    The monogram you see in the upper portion of the lid is the A.W. monogram for A. Wittnauer. Wittnauer was the U.S. agent for importing Touchon, Audemars, Longines and Agassiz at one time. Many of their brands are in cases bearing the A.W. logo and I am pretty certain that these were imported as movements and cased in the U.S. I do not know if Wittnauer had their own case factory or just contracted with others, but I suspect the latter. This particular case has some characteristics that remind me of the cases made for Illinois by Knapp, but I could not say that they were the maker of this case.
     
  3. beta21

    beta21 Registered User

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    Thanks a lot Jerry! This was very helpful
     
  4. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    I cannot add much to what Jerry said other than to show you the insides of three platinum Touchons, two signed Touchon, and one marked similarly to yours. The gold-rimmed Touchon has the same dial and hands as yours, except that it's a Tiffany PL. 77793.jpg 77794.jpg 77795.jpg
     
  5. beta21

    beta21 Registered User

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    Thanks Ethan! What do your three mvt's look like? I'm interested in the balances, where the differences between the different thicknesses is. The thinnest varieties have:
    ¤flat hirspring
    ¤Roller jewel in the balance arm instead of in a roller (Arm pointing towards pallets in rest!)
    ¤Balance placed out of the way of the centre wheel (No overlap)

    Are these features of your mvt's or are they different?
     
  6. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    These three platinum Touchons are the thinnest of my dozen Touchons, and among the thinnest of my pocket watches, but they do not appear to be the thinnest possible Touchons based on your description of their features, e.g., balance wheel not overlapping the center wheel. I have no watchmaking skills. Hence, I cannot measure the thickness of my three thin movements, nor comment of the hair springs or roller jewels. The pictures below should speak for themselves.

    As a collector of ultra thin pocket watches, let me mention my frustration with them. I have had to dispose of at least 3-4 very nice watches simply because of broken mainsprings which I could not replace: the ultra thin mainsprings they use are completely unavailable. Those watches included an extremely thin Audemars Piguet and two Touchos. Further, ultra thins are fragile and difficult to service. I have had to return a fair number of them to sellers because they had been damaged by prior watchmakers. I will post another message with photos of my ultra thin Touchon culls.

    My very good professional watchmaker hated overhauling my ultra thin Cartier pocket watch a month or so ago, reporting to me that "Getting it running was a nightmare because the watch is so delicate. I don't want to go near this one again. The plates are as thin as paper. I could crush the movement between my fingers." 77799.jpg 77800.jpg 77801.jpg
     
  7. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    Here are shots of extra thin Touchons I had to dispose of because of broken, unreplaceable main springs (one of which is a Gubelin PL) or return to seller because the watches had been abused in the past. The first shot is of an extra thin Audemars Piguet that I had to sell because of a broken, unreplaceable main spring. The second is a very similar Touchon I had to return to the seller for all sorts of problems. 77802.jpg 77803.jpg 77804.jpg 77805.jpg 77806.jpg 77807.jpg
     
  8. Luca

    Luca Registered User

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    Wow! Maybe time to concentrate on old English Verges. They do look beautiful though - thanks for sharing.

    L
     
  9. beta21

    beta21 Registered User

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    Ethan, many thanks for the pictures!

    It seems my movement doesn't perfectly match any of the ones you have showed. They are all very similar, but if you look closely, you'll notice that the balance is positioned more to the periphery on my watch. It isn't just a matter of smaller balance. The jewel holes for the balance and pallets are placed outwards so the balance and second wheel can move in the same plane. Your #45013 is the most similar, but even on this the balance and centre wheel overlap.

    Which one has the similar Tiffany dial?

    Could you please measure the overall thickness of the thinnest watch?
     
  10. Ethan Lipsig

    Ethan Lipsig Registered User
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    The third movement (43,814) in my first movement posting is from the watch with a dial like yours. See below for a dial photo.

    I'd measure the watches for you, but they are all in the Citibank vault. The watch with a dial like yours, according to my notes, is 7mm thick, including case and crystal. I don't have thickness information in my notes about any of the other watches about which you are asking.

    I do have one Touchon parts movement here at home. As best I can measure without calipers, it is 3mm thick.

    3mm is not extremely thin. I also collect C.H. Meylan. I had my watchmaker measure the movement thickness of each Meylan in my collection. I have nine thinner than 3mm not counting the case or crystal, the thinnest being 2.0 mm.

    Even that isn't very thin. According to my notes, my extremely thin Cartier is only 3mm thick, including case and crystal, as were the very thin Audemars Piguet and the look-alike Touchon I once had. I don't have any extremely thin V&Cs, but I believe that the Cartier, Audemars, and Touchon all were based on V&C's Caliber 439 movement. 77852.jpg
     
  11. beta21

    beta21 Registered User

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    Thanks for this valuable info.
    My mvt is 1,86 mm thick and the total thickness of the watch is 4,8 mm, but I suspect the crystal isn't original so here a couple of 10th's could be gained, I reckon.
     
  12. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    #12 artbissell, Dec 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2018
    Perhaps some one participating here would have an opinion as to who the maker was for the 1920+&- thin Dietrich Gruens. I have accused Meylan because I have seen a couple that look very similar, but there must be 6 or more other watch makers with very similar looking movements. Maybe only one ebauche maker? The Gruens I think did not finish their's like they did with the Veri-thins and later U-V. Shown here the early D. Gruen U-V. Not mine. Stolen listing.
    72679.jpg 77806.jpg 77973.jpg
     
  13. tick talk

    tick talk Registered User

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    #13 tick talk, Dec 6, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2018
    I believe the record for ultra-thin pocket watches belongs to Vacheron & Constantin from 1931 where this 0.9mm movement was issued in three examples in a platinum case. Even the plating was left off the movement!
    53.jpg
    Photo courtesy VC

    This discussion on the difficulty of servicing thin movements is enlightening as I'm waiting for this 1937 VC to return from a cleaning and its two weeks late...guess I can give the fellow a few more weeks.
    54.jpg
    Author's photo
     

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