Help Identify Swiss Minute Repeater

rbarn64850

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Jun 18, 2010
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I recently purchased this Swiss gold Minute Repeater. Runs perfect. Can't quite figure out the maker. Looks a lot like some Patek, Audemar or Jurgensen parts and layouts. Best I can guess is that it may be by Zentler Freres of Geneva. No markings found, so it was likely a sample destined to be a private label…. probably for the American market based on "fast" and "slow" on the adjuster and not Avant and Retard. Any ideas out there? Many thanks.

P1070494.jpg P1070489.jpg
 

MartyR

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Dec 16, 2008
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Very high quality movement, I would say.

The wolf's tooth winding wheels, the micrometer-adjusted swan's neck regulator, the movement plate anglage, and the word "Extra" are all characteristics of Patek Philippe watches (although other makers also used the word). The shapes of the winding and main wheel bridges also have a PP look to me.
 

gmorse

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Hi Martin,

if you need to visit the optician, this wolf should see his dentist as well!

P1070494.jpg

Regards,

Graham
 

rbarn64850

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I agree that I don't see hound's tooth gear on the winder. To me, however, there are an awful lot of similarities to Patek. My sense is that all the "big guys" were in and around Geneva and that they purchased parts and pieces from local craftsmen. For example, the dial on this watch looks exactly like dials I found on Pateks, Vacheron, Audemar and others. So that's a clue that I think these guys were sharing parts…. maybe?
 

rbarn64850

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Enrico….. do you have a photo or other reference that makes you think le coultre? I've seen a couple of their repeaters and they don't look like what I have.
Many thanks,
Royal
 

MartyR

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Enrico….. do you have a photo or other reference that makes you think le coultre? I've seen a couple of their repeaters and they don't look like what I have.
Royal, LeCoultre were a prolific maker - it seems they made anything from an ebauche to a fully finished movement for just about every significant watchmaker in Switzerland and quite a few in the USA! They made such a wide range of products that it would be unsurprising to find two LeCoultre movements that looked entirely different from one another.

Look at the Roland Ranfft site and browse through his LeCoultre examples and you'll see what I mean. You need to enter "lecoultre" in the search box near the top right of the page and click "Search"...
 
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rbarn64850

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Hi Martin….. thanks for the input. The more repeaters of this era I look at the more similarities I see. Which brings me back to my original thought…. that the various "makers" around Geneva were buying parts and pieces from the same sub-contractors and necessarily ending up with very similar looking finished products. Will I ever know who put this one together? The new photo here is a Zentler Freres. Not quite as nice a finish as mine, but very close design.
 

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rbarn64850

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Thank you for this information Enrico. The watch I have looks virtually identical in design to the Patek, except that the adjuster is positioned in the opposite direction on the coq. There are so many of these repeaters of this era that look so much alike in parts and layouts. How could you ever tell who really put one of them all together?
 

shinytickythings

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Your suspicions are correct, Royal. The Swiss ebauche system of production is very different from American manufacturing. Ebauche is basically a term for a "blank" for lack of a better word.
The best description I've heard was from Paul Audemars, who said in a recent thread that "they were all doing each others laundry".
The truth is it was very complex and for many Swiss names the very minute difference in the finish work are all that distinguish them.
 

eri231

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hello Royal
the ebauchers were few and many (more than twenty) assemblers repeater. lecoultre and le phare were the most important (le phare had over 200 different models in production), but as I said this is a Le Coultre in origin.
regards enrico
 

Darnok

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Very important picture, Enrico!
Thanks for showing.
Gives us the idea what has to be done to finish a watch.

Regards , Thomas
 

eri231

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english ebauches.jpg english ebauches1.jpg
examples of english ebauches




There are "Ebauches", produced by large companies with hundreds of employees. There are lever "Assortiments", the flyer, the balance spring, various jewelry, the main spring: all these small parts to be produced by a multitude of micro-enterprises, sometimes a simple shop at the corner of a barn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horology
Chablon

French term for a watch movement (not including the dial and hands), of which all or part of the components are not assembled.

Ébauche

French term (but commonly used in English-speaking countries) for a movement blank, i.e. an incomplete watch movement which is sold as a set of loose parts, comprising the main plate, the bridges, the train, the winding and setting mechanism and the regulator. The timing system, the escapement and the mainspring, however, are not parts of the "ébauche"

Établissage

French term for the method of manufacturing watches and/or movements by assembling their various components. It generally includes the following operations: receipt, inspection and stocking of the "ébauche", the regulating elements and the other parts of the movement and of the make-up; assembling; springing and timing; fitting the dial and hands; casing; final inspection before packing and dispatching.

Établisseur

French term for a watch factory which is engaged only in assembling watches, without itself producing the components, which it buys from specialist suppliers.

Factory, works

In the Swiss watch industry, the term manufacture is used of a factory in which watches are manufactured almost completely, as distinct from an "atelier de terminage", which is concerned only with assembling, timing, fitting the hands and casing.

Manufacture d'horlogerie

French term for a watch factory which itself produces the components (particularly the "ébauche") needed for the manufacture of its products (watches, alarm and desk clocks, etc.).

Terminage

French term denoting the process of assembling watch parts for the account of a producer.

Termineur

French term for an independent watchmaker (or workshop) engaged in assembling watches, either wholly or in part, for the account of an "établisseur" or a "manufacture", who supply the necessary loose parts. See "atelier de terminage" above.

regards enrico
 

rbarn64850

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This is great information Enrico. Thank you so much. Now, if I could figure out which Établisseur put mine together, but I sense that I may never know. Is there a "secret" spot where a maker might place his or her mark to prove they made it?
 

eri231

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Perhaps the difference is that yours is an open face and the one pictured in the link is a full hunter pendant at 3.
other differences could be behind the dial
regards enrico
 

rbarn64850

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Hi Enrico,

After looking at a LOT of minute repeaters I've now seen many that are nearly identical to mine and three that are totally identical to mine. The three identical all share the same short winding click, which is clearly different than the the style of Patek, Touchon, Zentler and others. The three like mine were also unmarked except for an owner or retailer mark. A photo of my watch is attached to show what I mean.

Best wishes
Royal
 

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