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Montandon Pocket Watches

Montandon

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Aug 28, 2009
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Hello,
My family is from Neuchatel, Switzerland. I've recently acquired two Montandon Swiss made pocket watches and I know almost nothing about them because there's evidently very little information available.

Of the Montandon watches I've seen, I've noted three basic similarities between 3 of the family watchmakers (A, H, and L. Montandon) as if they are common family name characteristics. These 3 distinctions are constant even through differing escapement mechanisms.

Similarities are:
1. The watchmaker signatures are all in same or very similar cursive script.
2. The face numerals are in identical, condensed Roman numeral style with second hand dial design and placement relatively consistent.
3. A scroll-like crest appears on the outside of the rear case and sometimes repeated very small on the inside of the dust cover.

The two watches I have are unique in they don't necessarily adhere to all of the above typical "Montandon" identifiers:
Louis Montandon of Cheaux de Fonds (est. 1880-1890) This watchcase bears a crest that looks only somewhat like the typical Montandon scroll-like crest. Although, I've seen other Louis watches with the identical scroll-like crest, adding to the confusion.

Montandon of Geneva (est. 1850-1875) I believe this Geneva watch might be either very early H.Montandon or A.Montandon because the signature and general lettering is very different from the typical Montandon characteristic script. It appears almost like a simplified 'Old English' style lettering. Oddly, there is no scroll-like crest on the case back or anywhere else for that matter. Also, the face of this watch bears a gilded floral adornment which I haven't seen repeated on any other Montandon watch.

I've consulted several watch experts and none even heard of the Montandon name as watchmakers. A few suggested it was made by someone else for Montandon. From what I've been able to find so far, I don't believe this to be the case.

I would appreciate any assistance anyone here can provide as to background information on the Montandon family of watchmakers and more specifically, to the two watches I have.

Detailed photos are available at this link so as not to waste forum bandwidth: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zycos/sets/
Note: Serial numbers have been photographically altered or removed for security reasons.

Thank you for any information!
CJ
 
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clockclub

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Aug 20, 2009
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In the Internet found quite a few samples of his pocket watch signed Montandon, but I have never met such a producer. Perhaps it was a big seller. Different producers manufactures watches under his order.
Many clock, watch were signed by the seller and not the manufacturer.

Igor.
 

Dr. Jon

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I have seen a few Montandon watches here in the US. The English on the covers of your watches also suggest that they specialized in the American Market. The ones I have seen a good but not outstanding quality watches.

The book Swiss Timepiece Makers 1775-1975 by Kathleen Pritchard has 15 Montandon entries each considered a separate firm.

August Montandon is listed as having won an honorable mention at the Nationaal Exhibition at La Chaux de Fonds in 1881.

She also listed an A Montandon as principle of Montandon-Bandelier which operated from 1898 to 1925 but may have gone longer.

For L Montandon she lists Locle as the origin and that they won a prize at the timing contest in Melbourne in 1881.

She also has a L Montandon_Lutz & Fils with an note on a win at Melbourne in 1881.

The Melbourne trial was an international contest which listed Waltham as first overall. The Swiss entry was a combined group from several makers who were not identified well by item in the official record. There were a lot of recriminations over that contest and a lot has been written on it. Evidently te two Montandon firsm had some kind of relationship.

The definition of a watch manufacture in late 19th century Switzerland was very loose. The industry had specialists in such things as frames (Ebauches) escapement parts, balances, springs, dials, cases. One could assemble a watch without ever making a single part.

I found U Montandon Robert who was a maker among the prize winners at the Geneva Chronometer Trials from 1897 to about 1900.

The Pritchard book is available from the NAWCC and on loan if you are an NAWCC member. Since you are in Switzerland, you should visit the International Museum of Horology in La Chaux de Finds. I believe they have a libraray (Check before you visit). You may be able to find a lot there. The Swiss Journals carried a lot of advertizing and you may find some ancestors in articles and ads.

You can find a lot in the Melbourne contest by a search in Google Books. You should also be able to find a lot of Montandons this way.
 
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Jerry Freedman

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I have seen only one Montandon watch. It was a small gold cased hunter with enamel decorations. The movement was high grade, and at the time that style of watch was bringing a nice price.

Jerry Freedman
 

Montandon

New User
Aug 28, 2009
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http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&&2uswk&A.Montandon_16

This one shows on Dr. Roland Ranfft's movement archive. Look like yours?
Yes. It is very similar to the Louis Montandon watch from Chaux de Fonds that I have. Photo attached. Some difference up around mainspring area but otherwise very close.

This is what I found on Abram Montandon: Pendulier with the Chaux-de-Fonds. Quoted of 1780 to 1797, works for Pr. - Antoine Borel in Couvet. with like apprentice Benjamin Hugenin and subjugated Jean-Sainuel Schalass. Abram Montandon, pendulier, city in Locle of 1815 to 1822. Thanks to http://www.worldtempus.com/ and http://babelfish.yahoo.com/translate_txt

As I said, there are watches from A. Montandon; H. Montandon; L. Montandon mainly located in Locle, Geneva and Chaux de Fonds including one Etienne Montandon of Geneva

And a notable (evidently) Leon Montandon who was with Daniel JeanRichard (1665-1741), regarded as the inventor of the watch (at least in Locle, Switzerland where JeanRichard is credited with a statue in his honor, erected in 1888.)

But I've also seen other Montandon's with a suffix name attached ie:
Montandon-Freres (fr."Brothers, Dealers and repairers Geneva. 1880-1890. Complicated watches." also from worldtempus.com/

Thanks Doug S. for the Ranfft link!

And btw, thanks to all who've replied, especially Dr. Jon. I keep getting a little closer with everyone's wonderful help.

@Dr. Jon: I'm in the U.S., not Switzerland. My family (grandfather/grandmother, et al) are from there.
 

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Montandon

New User
Aug 28, 2009
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Correction: ... And a notable (evidently) Leon Montandon who was with Daniel JeanRichard (1665-1741), regarded as the inventor of the watchmaking industry (at least in Locle, Switzerland where JeanRichard is credited with a statue in his honor, erected in 1888.)...

Sorry for any confusion.
 

Jerry Freedman

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Sep 16, 2000
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The watches shown here do not come close to the Montandon that I have seen. It used an ebauche much like we see in Jurgensen watches and was a high grade movement in an exquisite 18K case. I wonder how many makers used that name!
 
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