Angelus Chronodato

Angelus Chronodato Mint Authentic Vintage Watch

As a collector, I have always found the Angelus Chronodato to be a very unique and desirable vintage watch. At 38mm diameter, it stands out among many of its smaller contemporaries. Most of the Valjoux/Venus/Landeron chronograph watches from the same period tend to be smaller, at approximately 33mm to 35mm. And then there is the dial layout. The upper month and lower day apertures are clearly different from the conventional configuration, where they are often seen side by side and above center. The reason for all of this is because Angelus designed and manufactured everything in house and was not limited by supplier designs. They made their own cases, their own movements, their own hands, their own pushers, etc. Everything was engineered from the ground up. Nothing was borrowed, nothing was outsourced. While certainly not a guarantee for success, this approach served Angelus well, and the Chronodato made Angelus one of the most popular Swiss watchmakers in the mid-twentieth century.

Circa 1940 Clinton Vintage Military Chronograph

Clinton Vintage Chronograph Watch

It is difficult for me to look at a vintage chronograph from the World War II era without imagining how it may have been used, and its relationship to the owner.  In the days before sophisticated, portable computing devices, soldiers and airman relied on mechanical chronograph watches and timers for targeting and navigation.  Most vintage chronograph watches have telemeter and tachymeter dials that aid in these tasks, and it is easy to take this for granted as a collector because we see them so often.  In combat, however, the owner would have relied on their watch in life or death situations, and would have developed a more meaningful relationship with their timepiece.  They would need to make quick calculations, and know that their watch was going to give them the correct result.  I’ve often wondered how they could have read the dial’s small print in limited sight situations.  Even with the best of vision this would have been difficult.  I believe the relationship between the watch and its owner was required to be so intimate that they would have made sure of a precise understanding of the dial, and the location of each marking, without having to read the very fine print in real time.  They would have known what number was in each spot even if their vision or the environment didn’t allow them to explicitly read the number.  In the same way we can look at a clock with no numbers and know what time it is, they would have known the individual locations of each telemeter or tachymeter marking and be able to instantly discern the distance or speed of an object.

With this in mind take a look at the dial of this stunning Clinton chronograph watch.  Notice the blue, center, snail type, spiral graduation of the tachymeter that uses imperial miles per hour numbering, instead of metric kilometers per hour.  This spiral tachymeter allows for an expanded range of speeds, as the center hand can rotate 3 times around the dial, instead of the single rotation allowed by the more typical perimeter tachymeter.  Note the beautifully aged lume on the dial and hands that would have glowed brightly when new.  Note the concentric circles that each sector uses to visually group 1/5 seconds, seconds and minutes, and give the dial a very scientific look.

In addition to the amazing sector dial with spiral tachymeter, I like the rotating 12 hour bezel that give the watch a beefy look while keeping track of multiple time zones. More importantly, the owner would have needed a reliable watch, and this Clinton chronograph uses the very dependable Venus 170 manual wind movement. You will also find the Venus 170 inside more recognized brand name chronographs like Heuer and Breitling from the same era. As collectors we often look at the name on the dial more than the specific movements inside. For the soldier or airman the name on the outside was probably less important, but knowing the reliability of the movement would have been a priority. As with all of our vintage watches this Clinton chronograph has been cleaned/serviced and is keeping accurate time. It comes with our 1 year mechanical warranty.

While it isn’t possible to know whether or not this Clinton chronograph was used during the war, I do enjoy imagining the history of every watch that I sell or service.  Each watch has a unique story to tell, but its most important history is yet to come.  This amazing wristwatch is ready to continue its great adventure with a new owner, and I am fortunate to play a small part.

Enicar 2303 Garnix

Enicar 2303 Garnix Valjoux Chronograph

The Enicar 2303 “Garnix” is a bit misunderstood.  Some say it’s a 1950’s pre-Sherpa based on the dial lume points and some say it’s 1960’s based on the dial logo style.  And who can tell me why it’s called Garnix anyway?  The translation of Garnix from German literally means nothing, as in: there is nothing to see here.  In this case Garnix may refer to the lack of a model name on the dial (Thanks to Rene for that explanation).  Most Enicar watches have names posted on their dials such as Sherpa Graph, Jet Graph, Sea Pearl, etc.  The 2303, well…Garnix.

What is easy to understand is that this is a well made large stainless steel chronograph that uses the best Valjoux movement available in it’s day. 

Solunar Watches


Heuer produced a very unique set of watches that told both Solar and Lunar time.  The Solunar watch and Seafaarer Chronograph were developed by Heuer to not only tell normal time (solar) but had the additional feature of telling the lunar time or the orbit of the moon around the earth.  This would be important for fisherman, yachtsman and anyone who needed to know high and low tide periods.  In addition, lunar time is central to the Solunar Theory developed in 1926 by John Alden Knight to predict feeding patterns of fish and game.

Other companies contracted with Heuer to private label these watches including Abercrombie & Fitch, Orvis and Lyceum.

Contact us if you have one to sell or if you require Solunar, Seafarer, Solunagraph or Mareographe watch repair service.

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Benrus Sky Chief Models

Benrus Sky Chief Watches

There is little doubt that the Benrus Sky Chief has garnered considerable attention among collectors over the years.  Advertised as the “Official Watch of Famous Airlines”, the Benrus Sky Chief was specially made for pilots and offered minute markers different than on any other chronograph from that era.  Most minute recorder chronograph watches have longer or accentuated markers at the 3, 6, 9 and sometimes 12 minute marks which aided in keeping track of long distance calls because the phone company charged by 3 minute intervals.  The Sky Chief was different.  According to John Opie, the Pilot/Military forum moderator at WatchUSeek, the unique markings at 4, 8 and 12 were used by pilots to aid in navigation prior to GPS technology.  Pilots would make 90 degree maneuvers at 4 minute intervals in order to better understand how wind was affecting the flight pattern.

The Sky Chief was offered in 3 basic models including the larger Valjoux 71 in steel with silver dial and rotating index bezel.  The black or brown dial version came in steel with either a Valjoux 72 or Venus 178 mechanism.  The triple date case in solid 14k gold or steel and was powered by the famous Valjoux 72c.

Contact us if you have one to sell or if you require Benrus Sky Chief watch repair service.

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Gruen Airflight

Gruen Airflight Watches

The Gruen Airflight watch has a unique dial with open apertures at each hour that show an inner disk which automatically changes at noon to 12-24 hour markers and at midnight to 1-12 hour markers. Favored by pilots, the Gruen Airflight is often seen with a logo for the Airforce Association (AFA) which is a civilian education organization dedicated to public understanding of aerospace power.

Over the years we’ve bought, sold and serviced dozens Airflight watches.  Most were chrome plated but the were also made with solid gold and gold plated cases.

Contact us if you have one to sell or if you require Gruen watch repair service.

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BUSHIPS Canteen Frogman Watches

Buships Canteen Frogman Watches

Elgin and Hamilton had some of the most unique designs for early waterproof dive watches. These watches were used by the Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) during World War II.  Also known as Frogman or Canteen watches, these watches had a screw-on cap that prevented the winding crown area from water penetration.

Contact us if you have one to sell or if you require cleaning service for your canteen watch.

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Breitling Chronomat 217012

Breitling Chronomat Watches 808 769

Shown here are the reference 769 and 808 models.  These came with various combinations of case material including solid gold, stainless steel, chrome plated tops and gold plated tops.

The dials can be used for various mathematical calculations which made them very useful for military, engineering, medial and production applications.  Calculations Include :

  • Elapsed Time from 1/5 Second to 45 Minutes
  • The Speed of an Object (Tachymeter)
  • The Distance Between Two Points (Telemeter)
  • Percentages
  • Prime Costs
  • Fuel Consumption
  • Interest Exchange Rates
  • Pulse Rate,
  • Metronome (Pulsimeter)
  • Production Rate
  • Multiplication and Division

Contact us if you have one to sell or if you require Breitling Chronomat watch repair service.

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Tissot Navigator

1550's Tissot Navigator

Since 1853 Tissot has been well known for creative timepiece design and skilled craftsmanship.  One of our favorites is the Tissot Navigator in it’s original design dating back to 1951.  These came in different cases including 14K gold, 18K gold, stainless steel, gold filled and gold filled with a stainless back.

A must have for world travelers, the Tissot Navigator stands out due to it’s large 36mm case and wide numbered bezel.  Quickly glance at the watch and know the time across the country or around the globe.  The robust 17 jewel, automatic winding world time movement keeps the watch running without winding and can tell the time anywhere, day or night.  When you combine it’s early horological advances and stunning design you end up with a 60 year old vintage masterpiece of sophistication and elegance!

Note the top left version which is solid gold and has much thinner non-luminous hands. It also has a larger pusher instead of the smaller pin pusher that you’ll find on the stainless steel models.  Another difference is that the solid gold watches have a snap on back while the steel versions have a screw on back.

It’s interesting to note that the watch at bottom left has red cities for the USA time zones indicating it was made for the United States market.

Contact us if you have one to sell or if you require Tissot Navigator watch repair service.


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