Movado Chronometer (1950s)


This is a very rare manual wound Movado Chronometer from the 1950s. The movement used in this watch, calibre 126, was made in a run of less than 1,000 pieces with each watch numbered.

Movado made very few manually wound and independently tested chronometers. They did self-certify a fairly high number of watches as "chronometer", but those movements were standard calibres which were regulated to a high standard, whereas the calibre 125 has a host of adjustments all aimed at improving the precision of the time keeping:

The movement has 21 jewels, as opposed to 17 for the base caliber; Movado fitted a balance made from Glucydur which is an alloy with very limited thermal expansion and contraction. The balance has a self-compensating Breguet overcoil hairspring for better consistency across different positions and a swan-neck regulator for very precise adjustment of the rate of the watch. The train runs in jewels which are set in gold chatons. Calibre 125 watches were adjusted to five positions and this was inscribed onto the bridges. They were serialised with six digits, the first three of which were always “125”, followed by three digits denoting the production number, which leads us to understand they were produced in a run of less than 1,000 pieces (I've never seen an example with more than three digits)

The movement has been serviced and adjusted and the watch is keeping superb time, perhaps not quite to the same precision as when it underwent chronometer tests, but certainly it is still a very precise instrument.

The 14 carat gold case is an excellent wearable size at a fraction under 35mm, it has wonderfully evocative teardrop shaped lugs which were very fashionable during the 1950s. The original dial is in super condition, it has a two tone finish, with a brushed centre and a silvered ring around the edge. There are gold applied numerals and markers on the dial and a gold handset to match. One detail I rather like is that the sub-seconds disc has been printed with every second, something that emphasises the precision of the time keeping (i.e. that you can read this watch to the actual second).

The case back has the original owners name engraved on it, I always take the view that it is better to preserve this aspect of the watch's history rather than filling and polishing. Fitted with a hand made Italian strap the watch is ready to be worn and enjoyed. Please bear in mind that this watch, even when brand new, was not especially water resistant, so the new owner should take care not to expose it to moisture or damp.

Case diameter: 34.75mm
Case material: 14 carat yellow gold
Strap width: 18mm
time keeping: grade A+

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