Identifying a Helvetia auto

Thread: Identifying a Helvetia auto

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  1. #1
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    Identifying a Helvetia auto

    I was recently given what was left of my grandfather's watch collection and this one stumped me. Decided to stop lurking and make my first post. I searched this forum and Google but can't find anything too close to this watch except for some bizzare mentions about the movement on a Romanian site.

    My grandfather was from Romania, and I'm guessing the movement was specific to the area because the date calendar is in French/Romanian.

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    It's a Helvetia automatic, and there's not many clues to wether is authentic or its period. It has to be relatively recent as it has an ETA 2878. What the 0004.50 means on the caseback is beyond me. The caseback was loose...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The watch itself doesn't currently work. It winds and holds power, but doesn't run. I'm looking to get it repaired, but I'd like to know what I'm looking at first.

    Sorry if the pictures are upside down. For whatever reason the orientation when I upped them to the post isn't the same as what they are on my computer.

    So, any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Re: Identifying a Helvetia auto

    Hi there,

    no surprise that it doesn't run with that mangled hairspring. Likely an easy fix for a watchmaker, but as newbie you would surely make it worse.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  3. #3
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    Re: Identifying a Helvetia auto

    Oh yeah, I know better than to touch it myself. I just took the back off as it was loose and cross-threaded. Decided to reseat it and while I was there, took a picture.
    American: Westclox Bulls-Eye Pocketwatch
    Chinese: Sea-Gull M172s, Sea-Gull M182s, Rodina homage, Tisell "Marine"
    Japanese: Bulova 96A120, Orient Mako Orange, Orient Bambino V2, Seiko 5, Zelos Chroma
    Swiss: Atlantic Worldmaster Deluxe (inherited), Hamilton Khaki King II, Helvetia Auto (inherited), Longines 13ZN Monopusher (inherited)


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  5. #4
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Identifying a Helvetia auto

    Welcome to the Vintage forum. You assessment of ETA 2878 is probably correct:

    bidfun-db Archiv: Uhrwerke: ETA 2878

    The movement was widespread and not just used in your country. Helvetia may have got a specialist to make day-of-the-week wheels in Romanian or it is even possible that ETA provided them with the movement in that language. But it doesn't indicate that the entire movement was only used in that locality.

    The "0004.50" is probably the watch reference number (a sort of model code).

    Hartmut Richter

  6. #5
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    Re: Identifying a Helvetia auto

    Thanks for the welcome!

    So I did a little Google search and managed to find only three references to this watch on a Romanian version of eBay. From the info they posted:

    The watch seems to be from the 1960s and it is indeed a genuine ETA movement. Seems like it was an extremely popular brand in eastern European countries. Seems the brand itself fell off the face of the earth after the war and then folded due to the quartz revolution.
    American: Westclox Bulls-Eye Pocketwatch
    Chinese: Sea-Gull M172s, Sea-Gull M182s, Rodina homage, Tisell "Marine"
    Japanese: Bulova 96A120, Orient Mako Orange, Orient Bambino V2, Seiko 5, Zelos Chroma
    Swiss: Atlantic Worldmaster Deluxe (inherited), Hamilton Khaki King II, Helvetia Auto (inherited), Longines 13ZN Monopusher (inherited)


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