Mestis watch mistery
A couple of months ago some Mestis branded watches with apparently Poljot 2414 movements appeared on the local auctions. Some of them have similar cases as Velma-branded watches and I posted them in an earlier thread started by watch22 and dedicated to Velma. Then more Mestis watches appeared - I even bought one - with different casing style but always with 2414. Then yet another Mestis watch emerged with 2409 movement.
I posted some questions at the main Russian-language watch forum and received several informative - but not definitive answers/opinions. If I may summarize them:
- Velma and some Mestis watches seem to be cased at the same factory
- other Mestis watches seem to be cased at different factories or at different time
- Velma were not produced for Lithianian market - this would go against 1MWF policy at the time, there are no precedents. There were several postings in that sense, including one from Vilnius
- none of the movements is signed by 1 MWF, which could mean they were produced elsewhere or ebauches.
My first intuition was to look for answers in former Yugoslavia - since the moderator Rastafar80, owner of one of the largest collections, suggested that 1 MWF exported tooling and movements there, and I haven't seen any Yugo watch with 1 MWF movement - so, I thought, maybe we managed to identify them. This would explain also why there are so many Mestis and Welma watches in neighboring Bulgaria. Nope. My friends (admittedly - not watch enthusiasts) in former Yugoslavia don't know anything. So I give up.
The yellow Mestis is mine, the rest of the photos are from local auctions.
Re: Mestis watch mistery
Just a random thought:
Poljot sold complete movements (and perhaps ebauches) to watch distributors and assemblers internationally, and a fair number of them have been documented. A fair proportion of them ended up in Hong Kong and powered various watch brands, from off-brand ones to well-known ones (Cornavin for instance, such as the infamous "Jessica"). These movements are not always signed. So there might just be a possibility that Mestis was a brand used by a distributor who built watches using Poljot movements/ebauches, and they have no need to acquire tooling from Poljot at all.
Certainly, Poljot built watches at their own facilities bearing major distributors' names, such as Sekonda, Cornavin, Cardinal, etc. But the rarity of Mestis, and its concentration in one particular area, suggests that they were built by relatively small scale assemblers, who are not likely to want to get into movement manufacture.
It was quite some weeks ago that a "Galant" watch turned up on eBay, with a Slava movement; bidding went way beyond my budget, but it does suggest that not only Poljot, but Slava (and perhaps others) were quite willing to sell unsigned movements to international assemblers for casing up, and put whatever name they wanted on the dials.
Re: Mestis watch mistery
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