Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

Thread: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

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  1. #1
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    Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    Hello, I’m hoping to learn more about this Wittnauer I purchased some time ago. I bought on eBay it a little over a decade ago with intent of getting a simple mechanics watch - it was my first one.
    I haven’t been able to find another picture of a face like it on my cursory search’s. Additionally, there is no serial on the movement (that I can spot).
    The glowing paint job is fairly poor but works.
    Is this actually a Wittnauer or is it a frankenwatch?
    Any insights on the year?
    Or anything else?
    Thanks so much for looking and your thoughts!
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  2. #2
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    I think it is a Wittnauer, but it does have some issues. The "WITTNAUER" font on the dial looks uneven to me. Also, I noticed numbers stamped on the back of the lug, and I think they say "47". Normally, if there are numbers on the back of a lug, they match the final numbers of the case-back.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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  3. #3
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    Looks like someone lined the hands without taking them off.


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  5. #4
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    Re: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    Thanks for the replies.

    Totally agree, the luminous paint is not well done. It's one of my biggest frustrations looking at this watch. I really want to clean it with an xacto blade or something - but of course I'm afraid of ruining it. On the other hand, taking it in for restoration seems excessive seeing as I bought it for $30 and I'm not sure it's worth too much. If anyone has opinions on restoring it, I'm open to thoughts.

    As for the dial, I'm wonder about the double line that encircles/bounds the military time numerals. I haven't seen those lines on other examples of Longines/Wittnauer watches of this era.

    The 47 you spotted is there but it does not match the numbers on the case. Those are: 4562430. At least I think it's a 0 at the end, it's very lightly engraved/stamped.

    Is it abnormal for this watch to have no serial on the movement?

    I've tried to clean up and enhance my pictures a little bit, see attached.

    Thanks again!

    PS. Is there any way to link/repost this on the Military watch forum too? Just in an attempt to get the most expert eyes on this as possible.

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  6. #5
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    'AXA' = US import code for A. Wittnauer & Co. Only the movement was imported into the USA and the watch manufactured there under the Wittnauer name with a spacer to make the movement fit into a Witnauer case. It looks like a modified Swiss ETA from the 1080 family (and following numbers), earlier 1950s, perhaps even late 1940s (Wittnauer cal. 11 ES).

    This would make it a genuine Wittnauer USA. The design of the dial is typical for Wittnauer in the late 1940s. It has been messed up, like the hands, but I think that all in all, I cannot see any 'frankenizing' save a bad paint job, even the crown seems to be of the original type, perhaps replaced at a later stage as it looks too good compared the rest.

    As the regulator is moved so far towards 'S' = slower, see if the hairspring might be magnetized or sticky from oil or any gunk (which could be the case), unless you have a service done anyway.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; April 14th, 2018 at 14:06.

  7. #6
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    Re: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    From what i personally observed, i think its a Wittnauer

  8. #7
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    Re: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    When it was new this watch probably had radium loom. This tended to last only 3 to 5 years so was probably touched up by a watchmaker when serviced.
    In the military the wrong back went on the wrong watches all the time but you wouldn't expect your local watchmaker to make a mistake like that. I suppose you should be grateful that it is not a Longines WWW a mistake like that knocks about £1000 off The value of one of those.

    Regards Harvey.

  9. #8
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    Re: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    I am not sure, but the screws, material and where the jewels are, the whole work look with low quality. Something very strange for Wittnauer-Longines. At least from the pictures seen.

  10. #9
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    Re: Authentic? Wittnauer or Frankenwatch

    Thanks for the reply!

    I'm on the hunt for the technical documents for this movement - similar to the illustrated assembly, oiling, and parts guides manufacturers (ETA, etc) provide now. Can you offer any resources for obtaining said manuals or defined search words/phrase to help me find them? Any insights or information is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks again!

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