As some of you who frequent the vintage forum are aware, I am a big fan of vintage pieces that are from orphaned, unknown or otherwise obscure names, but contain decent movements. Often while browsing various sales sites I come across one that looks interesting but has no real information in the listing besides the usual "clean" "runs well", etc.
Last week I came across such a listing and was immediately attracted to the simple dressy, mid-century design, and just how clean this watched appeared in the pictures. Of course there was little to no information, but I just had to take a chance. I submitted an offer 50% less than the asking price, and was nearly instantly rejected with a note indicating the strap, a brown leather "NOS" Hirsch, was worth more than the watch. I countered with a somewhat passive-aggressive (in true Minnesota style) offer one penny higher than my initial with a note stating "Remove the band. I have plenty in my collection I can use." Surprisingly, it was accepted.
Well, the watch came in, admittedly I am easy to please, but I am gobsmacked. It is in far better condition than the pictures indicate, and for a vintage piece, is a very wearable size at roughly 38mm, including crown. Having a thin bezel helps with the wrist presence as well. Looking it over I found that it is a one piece case marked 20 microns gold electroplate.
I broke out my crystal remover and got to work. The crystal popped out easily, and I was able to remove the split stem with no issue. The movement dropped out and I was very happy to discover it is an ETA 2391 marked "Jewel Box Stores Corp". I love how big the balance in these, nearly reaching the center post.
After doing some reaserch I've discovered that Jewel Box Stores and "Le Marc" were both owned by Carlyle & Co. Jewelers, a national chain that went defunct not long after the death of it's founder and chairman, Lawrence M. Cohen of Greensboro, NC. According to Mikrolisk, Mr. Cohen had registered the "Le Marc" name on January 6, 1959.
Anyway, to make a long story short, I'm happy to add another "oddball" to my collection.
Thanks for reading!