Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?
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  1. #1
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
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    Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    I have been researching the history of the firm of François Borgel, which later became Taubert & Fils, for several years, and I am now writing my information up as an article for the NAWCC Bulletin.

    Borgel and then Taubert & Fils used the trademark of FB and a Geneva key, like this:



    I know that the firm supplied watch cases to Longines, Rolex, Mido, Movado, West End and Patek-Philippe. If you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back which is <u>not</u> one of these brands, then I would like to hear from you!

    Please either post some pictures here, or pm me. If you are prepared to let me use your pictures in my article, that would be even better. I always acknowledge contributions.

    Thanks for any help!

    Regards - David

  2. #2
    Member Tony C.'s Avatar
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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    I have several Alpina watches in (excellent) F B cases. here's one, an Alpina De Luxe





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  3. #3
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for the pics, lovely watch. Do you have any idea of the date? Someone recently told me that the Tauberts started using the "Vaccum" trademark in addition to the FB-key, as in the back of your watch, around 1957 - any ideas?

    You reminded me that I have an Alpina in an FB-key case too - duh! Mine is in a Taubert patent rectangular waterproof case that clips together - you hold all the bits together: movement, back, crystal and gaskets, and then slide the three clips into grooves in the sides of the case. I also have a Movado in the Taubert same rectangular clip together case.

    These seem to be pretty rare cases - they are easy to get apart, but then you need a press to reassemble them properly - to compress the gaskets while you slide in the clips, you can't press hard enough with just your fingers. Most jewellers wouldn't have the press, so wouldn't be able to reassemble the case properly. You can see that mine has only one gasket (the rectangular thing under the crystal) when there should be two - one for the crystal, one for the case back. With just the one gasket in place it is just possible to hold the case together with your fingers and slide in the clips, but then of course missing out a gasket means that it is no longer waterproof! I wonder how many got scrapped as a result of this?

    Regards - David




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    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    Quote Originally Posted by David.Boettcher View Post
    You reminded me that I have an Alpina in an FB-key case too - duh! Mine is in a Taubert patent rectangular waterproof case that clips together - you hold all the bits together: movement, back, crystal and gaskets, and then slide the three clips into grooves in the sides of the case. I also have a Movado in the Taubert same rectangular clip together case.

    These seem to be pretty rare cases - they are easy to get apart, but then you need a press to reassemble them properly - to compress the gaskets while you slide in the clips, you can't press hard enough with just your fingers. Most jewellers wouldn't have the press, so wouldn't be able to reassemble the case properly. You can see that mine has only one gasket (the rectangular thing under the crystal) when there should be two - one for the crystal, one for the case back. With just the one gasket in place it is just possible to hold the case together with your fingers and slide in the clips, but then of course missing out a gasket means that it is no longer waterproof! I wonder how many got scrapped as a result of this?

    Regards - David
    That's an interesting watch case type on this rectangular Alpina.

    If a watchmaker couldn't compress these two gaskets with his fingers then he'd simply rig a clamp
    using wood, shaped to fit to protect the crystal and case and squeezed in a vice or clamps. Believe me,
    watchmakers are practical men and women, used to solving problems and wouldn't sweat over something
    so simple as this, even if they didn't have the correct tool.
    It would be a poor watchmaker who scrapped a watch simply because he couldn't compress a gasket.

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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?


  7. #6
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Ranfft View Post
    Hi David,

    unfortunately I didn't always mention the case maker signature, but the keyword "fb" in the search function brings besides watches with Förster movement (also fb) some with Borgel case:

    Interesting is that almost all have a screw back with lead gasket, and I suspect that I only forgot to mention it for the only exception.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
    Hi Roland,

    Excellent, thank you very much, there are some beautiful watches amongst this collection.

    You are quite correct that they do all have screw backs with lead gaskets. They are all made to Taubert's patent CH 156807 priority date May 8th 1931 published August 31st 1932. This patent was also registered in the UK under N° GB 385509, which you have noted in the case back of the Gents Cyma manual wind, ca. 1935. This patent was for a case with polygonal flats on the screw back, designed to engage with a key for screwing and unscrewing. The distinctive decagonal (10 sided) embodiment of this case back was to become an instantly recognisable feature of cases that the Tauberts supplied to many watch manufacturers over many years, together with the cork seal for the winding stem defined in a separate Taubert patent.

    I believe that all of these cases will have the Taubert cork stem seal system. You mentioned the cork seal in the case of the Gents Movado Sport Manual Wind, Sub Second, ca. 1950 where you said "crown with sealing similar to Mido Aquadura". In fact "Aquadura" is a name Mido gave to the Taubert cork stem seal system. Taubert supplied cases with this cork stem seal to Movado, West End, Patek-Philippe etc. It was not a Mido invention.

    You have not shown any Mido examples. This is because Mido watches *never* have the FB-key trademark, so a search for FB in your archives does not return any hits. However, searching your archive for the Taubert British patent reference "Brit. Pat. 385509" returns 10 Mido watches with the Taubert decagonal case, stamped with this, the Taubert patent number. In the description of one of these you say "High Tech: Mido was known in the 40ies for progress in technologie: Steel case, Incabloc, and Aquadura - until today the only sealing even reliable with pulled crown." The Tauberts were not responsible for the Incabloc of course, but the steel case and Aquadura were pure Taubert technology.

    In the case of the Gents Alpina Tropic-Proof Manual Wind, ca. 1955 you have noted the Taubert trademark "Vacuum" underneath the FB-key trademark. Pritchard records this as a Taubert trademark, but I have been able to find out nothing more about its meaning or use, apart from observing it in a number of watch cases, sometimes with the FB-key mark, sometimes alone. A correspondent Mido collector has told me that he thinks Taubert started using the Vacuum trademark around 1957. Searching your archive for Vacuum reveals the Alpina which you have listed, and 13 Mido watches dating from 1955 to 1972. This was a late production Taubert case. What a long relationship between Taubert and Mido, from 1934 until at least 1972!

    The Taubert company went into liquidation in 1974. The Swiss register of collective responsibility marks shows that the firm's registration was cancelled on 16 May 1974. I think this was as a result of the death of the last Taubert brother remaining with the firm, Bernard Taubert, but I have not been able to substantiate this conjecture.

    Thank you very much for this information, it is extremely useful.

    Regards - David

  8. #7
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    Quote Originally Posted by radger View Post
    That's an interesting watch case type on this rectangular Alpina.

    If a watchmaker couldn't compress these two gaskets with his fingers then he'd simply rig a clamp using wood, shaped to fit to protect the crystal and case and squeezed in a vice or clamps. Believe me, watchmakers are practical men and women, used to solving problems and wouldn't sweat over something so simple as this, even if they didn't have the correct tool. It would be a poor watchmaker who scrapped a watch simply because he couldn't compress a gasket.
    Hi Radger,

    I may be being cynical, but my experience is that watchmakers are not interested in maintaining a watch waterproof, being more interested in doing whatever it takes to get it ticking, get the cash in the till, and tell the customer that it can no longer be guaranteed waterproof because of its age. I don't think there are many watchmakers with the inclination, and replacement seals, gaskets, testing equipment etc. to bother much about waterproofing, especially of older watches, they just think it is too much trouble, and risk if it goes wrong, for too little payback.

    I imagine the situation would have been much worse in the 40s and 50s when communications weren't so good, aftersales support wasn't as good, and consumers had few rights and were much less assertive. I don't say that watchmakers will have scrapped these watches, I am just saying that they will not bother to take the extra time to make a jig to press the case together like you suggest, preferring to just leave out a gasket, reassemble the watch and tell the customer it can't be guaranteed waterproof. The customer then leaves the watch in a draw because it isn't waterproof, and it eventually gets junked by the relatives.

    There may be watchmakers prepared to go that extra mile and make sure the job is done thoroughly and properly, but if there are I haven't found one yet. If you know of one, would you pm me their details please.

    Regards - David

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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    Hi David,

    Quote Originally Posted by David.Boettcher View Post
    .....this information, it is extremely useful.
    I'm actually not interested in all aspects of watchmaking, and the habit to write down signatures instead of making photos of both sids of the back, has two reasons:
    1) Easier than making photos with readable signatures.
    2) The chance to find a signature with the search function.
    And this case is actually one of the few, where it was useful.

    I never expected my site to become a business object. It was born from the idea to combine my watch collecting hobby with a demo example for a web data base for my software lab. And it turned out as a tiny success for watches and a reasonable for software business. No need to explain to customers why a simulation simulates reality.

    May be your Borgel/Taubert research is the first, where my archive helps more than just retrieving informations about a particular watch, and I can't wait to read your articele.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  10. #9
    Member David.Boettcher's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    Dear Roland,

    I have visited your web site many times to look up information on specific watches, but I hadn't tried any of these wider queries before. When I did I was really amazed by the mass of correlated information that resulted. You have created a database of valuable information, but the ability to do these wider queries means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    On behalf of watch collectors everywhere, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for creating and maintaining your web site, and making it available to us all.

    Regards - David

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    Re: Do you have a branded watch with the FB-key trademark in the case back?

    My past timepiece in collection with FB case..........

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