Watches at Auction - Marlon Brando's Rolex

The highlights of the upcoming Christie’s auction in Geneva (‘Passion for Time’, 6 November) include the Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 worn by Marlon Brando when playing Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 classic “Apocalypse Now”. Marlon Brando ‘customised’ this piece by hand-engraving his name on the caseback.  In addition, as Petra Brando Fischer recalls: “....he wore the watch on the set of Apocalypse Now in the Philippines, being asked  to take it off during filming as it would stand out too much.” She said her father argued that ‘If they’re looking at my watch, then I’m not doing my job as an actor,’ and the powers that be on set eventually relented.


Brando went a step further, by removing the bezel as well as the steel bracelet, which he replaced with a sober black strap, and pared down to essentials, allegorically mirrored the character of Kurtz.
Estimate: CHF 1,000,000-2,000,000


Vintage ad - A. Michel

"Our company supplies all kinds of raw movements, anchor and cylinder, 5 to 20 lignes - We do not manufacture complete watches". This 1923 ad reminded industry players that A. Michel only made and supplied raw movements. In 1926, the company was among the founding members of the Ebauches S.A. group along with A.S. (A. Schild) and FHF (Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Fontainemelon).
Do you like vintage watch ads? Visit the page about Watch Ads, the one and only two-volume pictorial history of communication and design in 20th Century watchmaking. Do you wish to know more? Watch the video clip about the publication and download the preview of Volume 1.

"La nostra compagnia fornisce movimenti di ogni tipo, ad ancora o a cilindro, da 5 a 20 linee - Non produciamo orologi completi". Questo annuncio del 1923 ricordava ai professionisti del settore che A. Michel si limitava alla produzione e fornitura di movimenti grezzi. Nel 1926, la compagnia fu tra i membri fondatori del gruppo Ebauches S.A. insieme con A.S. (A. Schild) e FHF (Fabrique d'Horlogerie de Fontainemelon).
Ti piacciono le pubblicità d'epoca? Visita la pagina su Watch Ads, l'unica storia illustrata in due volumi della comunicazione e del design nell'orologeria del Novecento. Vuoi saperne di più? Guarda il video sull'opera e scarica l'anteprima del Volume 1.



Upcoming Auctions – Only Watch 2023

The one-off timepieces being auctioned at the Only Watch sale on 5 November in Geneva are on display in a promotional tour traveling from America to Europe, via Asia and the Middle East. Held by Christie’s, the event’s tenth edition will benefit research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other genetic diseases. A total of 73 brands are participating, including 16 collaborations and 16 first-time entries. In addition to contributions by prestigious manufacturers, the 62 timepieces feature emerging watchmaking talents; reflecting the charity's approach, funding research undertaken by doctoral and post-doctoral students. The pictures below feature just a small selection from the Only Watch catalog.

Frederique Constant Tourbillon Planetarium

Furlan Marri Secular Perpetual Calendar


Krayon Anywhere


Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer


Maurice Lacroix


Reservoir x Télôs




New Releases – Ocean Moon V RAAF Limited Edition 2023

For this limited edition Royal Australian Air Force release, Bausele utilizes the Sellita SW200 Swiss automatic movement. The timepiece features a Faraday cage shock system and two screw-down crowns, the second of which controls an inner bi-directional count-up bezel for diving. The large hands, indices, and digits outfitted with Super-Luminova contrast with the blue sunray-style sandwich dial. Both the dial and the case back are adorned with the RAAF name and kangaroo logo. The 42 mm case is in 316L brushed surgical grade stainless steel.


Watches of Italy

La quarta edizione di W.O.I. - Watches Of Italy, mostra dedicata alla produzione orologiera italiana, si terrà sabato 14 e domenica 15 ottobre 2023 (ingresso gratuito, dalle 10:00 alle 19:00) presso il Museo delle Macchine Agricole "Orsi" a Tortona, in via Emilia 446. L’evento permette di vedere e toccare con mano i nuovi prodotti, incontrarne i fabbricanti, acquistare in loco orologi ed accessori. La lista completa degli espositori è disponibile qui. Domenica 15 i visitatori potranno assistere a una tavola rotonda dal titolo “La professione dell’orologiaio in Italia”, animata da addetti ai lavori. Fabrizio Dallachà, ideatore e organizzatore della manifestazione, annuncerà inoltre la nascita dell’Associazione “Filiera Orologiera Italiana”, progetto parallelo a WOI.



‘Arabic Dials’ at auction

The catalog of the Dubai Edit online auction held by Christie’s from 5 to 19 October includes an ensemble of ‘Arabic Dial’ Day Date Rolexes. Their dial features the ‘Qaboos’ signature, i.e. the signature of the late Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, the ruler of Oman from 1970 to 2020 - or Khanjar logo - the national emblem of the Sultanate of Oman. Circa 1974. Estimate: US$35,000-55,000.

Another remarkable timepiece is a platinum Patek Philippe Ref. 5077P-091 presenting an enamel dial with a miniature painting of two Arab huntsmen engaged in the art of falconry. Circa 2007. Estimate: US$ 150’000-250’000.



New Releases – Gérald Charles Maestro 8.0 GC Sport Squelette


The Maison’s first automatic skeleton watch with the screw-down crown on the left features the Maestro case and Royal Blue vulcanized rubber strap, both Mr. Gérald Charles Genta’s original drawings. It is designed by the Maison's Creative Director Octavio Garcia and manufactured in collaboration with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. Its shape is the result of a square and an octagon, with an overall fit of 40mm and a thickness of just 8.35mm thanks to the open-worked movement of just 2.6 mm. The sandblasting finish of the Grade 5 Titanium case results in a special and dark shade of grey. The thinnest timepiece in the Core Collection is also light, with a total weight of only 59.5 grams.



Watches & Cars - IWC Ingenieur / Lancia B24

ENGLISH (il testo italiano è in fondo alla pagina)

This 1:18 diecast model reproduces the Lancia B24 Spider, the open sports variant of the Aurelia introduced in 1955. Designed by Pinin Farina, it was an icon of Italian motoring since its inception.

Its revised version – launched in 1956 – was fitted with a conventional windscreen with quarter windows rather than the wrap-around windscreen seen here. It famously featured in the classic 1962 road movie The Easy Life (above, a screen capture) by Dino Risi, ensuring its place in cinematic as well as automotive history.
Which watch would the owner of this vehicle have worn in the early 1960s? We do not necessarily think about someone like Bruno Cortona, the brash, loud and risk-taking co-protagonist of the film. This looks more like the car for a scientific-minded driver who could appreciate the 2,451 cc V6 engine and its acceleration. Why not a 40-ish engineer who was equally demanding when it came to the tech specs of his watch?

As the magnetic fields in his workplace affected timekeeping accuracy, the Ingenieur by IWC was the perfect choice. Its in-house self-winding movement enjoyed the 80,000 A/m protection guaranteed by the soft iron inner case, as well as the 100 m waterproofness offered by the stainless steel outer case. It goes without saying that such a timepiece was well prepared to be worn in the wind, while strapped on the wrist of a B24 driver.

Questo modellino metallico in scala 1:18 riproduce la Lancia B24, variante sportiva dell’Aurelia presentata nel 1955. Disegnata da Pinin Farina, fu un’icona dell’automobilismo italiano fin dal debutto.

La versione successiva – lanciata nel 1956 – presentava un parabrezza di tipo convenzionale al posto di quello ricurvo che osserviamo qui. Fu protagonista del film di culto Il Sorpasso del 1962, diretto da Dino Risi, assicurandosi un posto nella storia del cinema.
Quale orologio avrebbe indossato il proprietario di questo veicolo nei primi Anni 60? Non ci riferiamo necessariamente a uno come Bruno Cortona, lo spavaldo, chiassoso e imprudente coprotagonista del lungometraggio. La vettura in questione sembra più adatta a un amante della tecnologia, in grado di apprezzare il motore da 2.451 cc e 6 cilindri a V, e la sua accelerazione. Perché non un ingegnere sulla quarantina, altrettanto esigente in fatto di segnatempo?

Visto che i campi magnetici nel suo luogo di lavoro alteravano la regolarità di marcia di un orologio convenzionale, l’Ingenieur di IWC rappresentava la soluzione ideale. Il suo movimento automatico di manifattura godeva della protezione fino a 80.000 A/m garantita dalla cassa interna di ferro dolce e dell’impermeabilità a 100 m offerta dalla cassa esterna d’acciaio. Ovviamente un orologio del genere sopportava senza alcun problema il vento, mentre si trovava al polso di un automobilista alla guida di una B24.


New Releases – Doxa Sub 300T Clive Cussler

The model is inspired by author and maritime explorer Clive Cussler, whose fictional hero Dirk Pitt wears a Doxa divers watch. Its handmade dial evokes a vintage compass, while the weathered look of the aged steel case, bracelet, clasp and pin buckle is meant to reflect a nautical artifact’s journey and the conditions it endured during its time submerged in the depth. The dates 7, 15 and 31 displayed in red on the dial commemorate Cussler’s birthday (July 15th, 1931). Each timepiece is engraved with its own number on the side of the bezel.




Vintage tools - The hairspring counter

This 1950s ad by Vacheron & Constantin features a hairspring counter as an icon of their "beautiful precision". This tool enables the expert watchmaker to adjust an hairspring by visually comparing it with a master balance vibrating at a set frequency. The set of jaws is designed to hold a hairspring that is fitted to a balance wheel. A lever under the base rotates the tool in order to get the master balance and attached balance oscillating. The aim is to get both balances oscillating in sync for at least 20 seconds, which in turn shows they are both vibrating at the same frequency. 

Pubblicato negli Anni 50, questo annuncio di Vacheron & Constantin (foto in alto) sceglie un contatore di oscillazioni come icona della sua "Bella precisione". Lo strumento permette all'orologiaio esperto di regolare una spirale confrontandola visivamente con un bilanciere campione che oscilla a una frequenza definita. La pinza che sporge dal braccio dello strumento trattiene una spirale collegata a un bilanciere. Premendo la leva visibile si mettono in movimento il bilanciere campione e quello da regolare. Lo scopo è farli oscillare entrambi per almeno 20 secondi, in modo da verificare se la frequenza è la stessa.



The 2nd edition of Watch Ads 1960-2000 is now available at bookshops and online platforms. Here are the links to the basic infos, book video trailer, PDF preview file and online order page. Enjoy!

La seconda edizione di Watch Ads 1960-2000 è disponibile in libreria e negli shop online. Ecco i link alle informazioni essenziali, al video, al PDF di anteprima e alla pagina per l'acquisto online. Buona lettura!


Curiosities - The EBE watches

The latest mini-documentary from the 10e10.ch by Marco Strazzi YouTube channel
It looks like a Rolex but it isn't ... It looks like a fake but it isn't ...

Curiosità - Gli orologi EBE

L'ultimo mini-documentario dal Canale You Tube 10e10.ch by Marco Strazzi.
Sembra un Rolex ma non lo è ... Sembra un falso ma non lo è ...
Buona visione!


New Releases - France Ebauches

Owned by the Festina Group since 2017, the French manufacturer of mechanical movements resumes production after an almost 30-year absence. The new self-winding calibers beat at the frequency of 28,000 vibrations per hour and feature a cross-through balance bridge for improved solidity and resistance, hollowed out to provide an unobstructed view of the regulating organ. As for the finishing, the rhodium-plated honeycomb motif symbolising France replaces the traditional Swiss “côtes de Genève” pattern.


Vintage Ads - Hercules (1939)

ENGLISH (il testo italiano è sotto l'immagine)
Founded in 1908, the Reconvilier Watch Company registered several brand names, among which Hercules for its sturdiest products.
Do you like vintage watch ads? Visit the page about Watch Ads, the one and only two-volume pictorial history of communication and design in 20th Century watchmaking. Do you wish to know more? Watch the video clip about the publication and download the preview of Volume 1.
The vintage ads presented in this website are not featured in the Watch Ads books.
Fondata nel 1908, la Société Horlogère de Reconvilier registrò numerosi marchi, fra i quali Hercules per i suoi modelli più robusti.
Ti piacciono le pubblicità d'epoca? Visita la pagina su Watch Ads, l'unica storia illustrata in due volumi della comunicazione e del design nell'orologeria del Novecento. Vuoi saperne di più? Guarda il video sull'opera e scarica l'anteprima del Volume 1.
Gli annunci pubblicitari d'epoca presentati in questo sito non sono tra quelli scelti per i volumi Watch Ads.


New Releases - B.R.M. Chronographes

Founded by Bernard Richards in 2003, the French brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with a limited series of chronographs available in 20 pieces per color – yellow, orange, red and green. The self-winding movement is visible through the Makrolon® transparent case. The tachymeter scale is printed on the sapphire crystal. The serial number is engraved and hand-lacquered on the winding crown.



Vintage boxes - Longines (1950s)

ENGLISH (il testo italiano è in fondo alla pagina)
Longines presentation boxes were among the richest in information. The English text printed inside the lid suggests that the relevant timepiece was meant for the leading market of the time, that of the United States - “The world’s most honored watch – 10 Worlds Fair Great Prizes – 28 Gold Medals Awards – Classified “first” by the Great Government Observatories – Official watch for Championship Sports the world over – The premier watch of Aviation, Exploration, & Science”. Both sides of the lid feature some of the medals mentioned in the text. A color catalog of the time is shown above the box.  
Do you like vintage boxes? Then The Museum Collection is a must-read for you. My book about 100 milestones of 20th Century watchmaking features a wide selection of presentation boxes in the Appendixes. Watch the video clip about the publication and download the 15-page preview.
The vintage boxes presented in this Blog are not featured in The Museum Collection.

Le scatole Longines erano tra le più ricche d’informazioni. Il testo inglese all’interno del coperchio indica che questo esemplare era destinato al mercato più importante dell’epoca, quello americano. “L’orologio più premiato del mondo – 10 Gran Premi nelle Fiere Mondiali – 28 Medaglie d’Oro – Classificato “primo” dai Grandi Osservatori Governativi – Orologio ufficiale dei grandi eventi sportivi in tutto il mondo – L’orologio preferito dall’Aviazione, dall’Esplorazione e dalla Scienza”. Su entrambi i lati del coperchio sono riprodotte alcune delle medaglie citate nel testo. Sopra la scatola appare un catalogo a colori dello stesso periodo.


New releases – Tiffany & Co. Union Square

The 27 mm case draws its square shape from an archival Tiffany & Co. model. The watch features iconic New York City design elements such as the skyscraper hands and a “7–2–7” in place of “7–6–5” on the dial, a reference to the Tiffany & Co. Landmark store, located at 727 Fifth Avenue. Moreover, an interpretation of the newly transformed store is featured under the sapphire crystal caseback, There are 100 units of each limited-edition timepiece available, totaling 200 watches. The 18k rose gold all-metal version is fitted with a brown alligator strap with a turquoise composite Tiffany Blue crown.