Thread: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

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  1. #1
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    Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the WUS community and am hoping to find more information about this watch.

    It was in my great uncle's possession until he died (sadly that's all the history I have about it). Other than that it says 17 Jewels & Swiss.

    Here's a few links to the pictures I took of it. I might upload more if I get a better camera:

    Watch
    Face
    FLEX-LET Band


    If anyone knows much about this watch or what markings I should look for, please PM me or reply to the thread.


    Thanks!
    - Josh

  2. #2
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    Hi and welcome!

    I know little about Helbros - it was actually a New York based company (now owned by Jules Jurgensen) and is little known in the UK. Mostly, they imported movements from Europe for US sale. Apparently you can find vintage Helbros watches with French, German or Swiss movements - probably mostly Swiss.

    Someone with more knowledge will, no doubt, respond in due course.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

    Many of my pictures were posted via Webshots which has now closed - and so have disappeared from WUS. Sorry.

    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  3. #3
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information


  4. #4
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    Quote Originally Posted by joshdietrich View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the WUS community and am hoping to find more information about this watch.

    It was in my great uncle's possession until he died (sadly that's all the history I have about it). Other than that it says 17 Jewels & Swiss.

    Here's a few links to the pictures I took of it. I might upload more if I get a better camera:

    Watch
    Face
    FLEX-LET Band


    If anyone knows much about this watch or what markings I should look for, please PM me or reply to the thread.


    Thanks!
    - Josh
    This watch is likely from the 1950s. More could be said if you had the watch opened and took photos of the movement.

    Your watch appears to be gold-filled. There is some wear to the gold on the back of the lugs.

    Helbros is not a brand sought after by collectors so your watch has mainly sentimental value.

  5. #5
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    Yep, it says "gold-filled" on the inside of the backplate.

    Here's a picture I grabbed of the inside. Though it's pretty illegible, it says the following:
    "SWISS"
    "17 SEVENTEEN JEWELS"
    "UNADJUSTED"
    "HXW" or "MXH"
    "84" or "64"
    Inside

    Thanks for the replies so far. They've been quite insightful!

  6. #6
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    Quote Originally Posted by joshdietrich View Post
    Yep, it says "gold-filled" on the inside of the backplate.

    Here's a picture I grabbed of the inside. Though it's pretty illegible, it says the following:
    "SWISS"
    "17 SEVENTEEN JEWELS"
    "UNADJUSTED"
    "HXW" or "MXH"
    "84" or "64"
    Inside

    Thanks for the replies so far. They've been quite insightful!
    Helbros 84 = Font 186 (and that's what it is)
    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-...&2uswk&FHF_186

  7. #7
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    And the HXW is the code that was put on movements imported to the USA by Helbros -

    http://www.ranfft.de/uhr/info-uscode-e.html

    American bureaucracy can be useful to collectors now and then.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

    Many of my pictures were posted via Webshots which has now closed - and so have disappeared from WUS. Sorry.

    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  8. #8
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    I don't want to contradict anyone based on hear say, but Sam Wein, who at the time owned Benrus, once told me that Helbros was Chicago based, just like Benrus. Also, George Lewis (my gosh, am I name dropping here) once told me that "Helbros" stood for " Helvetic Brothers" . Helbros is one of those under estimated brands. No, it isn't collectable, but back when good movements were widely available even to smaller companies, they sometimes used quite good movements in their watches. I've seen some good Valjoux column wheel movements in Helbros watches. Although the brand itself doesn't have any special luster, those looking to find some watches with good movements might want to keep an eye on brands like Helbros, Clinton and Santa Fe, because very nice things have a way of popping up now and then.

  9. #9
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    Well, I have no such contacts! I'm impressed.

    But my friend Google has told me -

    Definitely Helbein brothers, not, Helvetic:

    http://www.electric-watches.co.uk/ma...os/helbros.php

    http://www.jjwatch.com/about.asp

    This says 'The Helbros Watch company of New York' (bottom page 295)

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=W...elbros&f=false

    as does this:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7...T4_oHWCQ&cd=10

    And this ad gives a New York address:

    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=g...0watch&f=false

    as does the text of this FTC report

    http://www.ftc.gov/os/decisions/docs...S1357-1452.pdf

    which states:

    'with its office and principal place of business at 6 West 48th Street, New York, New York'.

    So - I still think its New York.
    Last edited by Marrick; January 22nd, 2010 at 13:52. Reason: More links
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

    Many of my pictures were posted via Webshots which has now closed - and so have disappeared from WUS. Sorry.

    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  10. #10
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Helbros wind-up 17 Jewel: Seeking more information

    I'm curious as to when that conversation took place; Benrus was under the ownership of the Lazrus' until they sold to Victor Kiam in the late 60's, and to Hampden in the 80's. Hampden had operations in Chicago, which (if the timeline matches) might be the source of your quote. Helbros might have moved their offices by then (New York wasn't the place to be for a while).
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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