I remember when at the break of years 2017/18 we were showing off our best 2017 catches and making some 'New Year's resolutions'.
Among my list - Lepine caliber 1 watch and this is among the very few New Year's resolutions of mine, that actually came to life.
Recently I found this beauty on eBay. Interestingly, this truly adorable watch passed unnoticed and I was the only bidder.
Maybe it's because of the 'for parts or repair' style of description, pointing out the flaws, instead of showing off how wonderful this watch is.
Or maybe it's because this was on American eBay (not German, for instance) and maybe the very title 'Aiguilles pocket watch to restore' was not interesting enough to check this listing out.
For those who are new here - aiguilles is French for hands, not a watch brand ;)
Anyway, I got this for a fair price of $100. Not a true bargain, but not a lot for a good watch as well - recently I saw a bare, uncased Lepine caliber 1 sold for not much less.
The watch has a silver case with nice patina.
The caseback has considerable wear, but you can still see much of the original decorations.
In fact, described as badly worn, this watch is much better than many 'good' of 19th Century watches I've seen.
It's a Lepine, so it's slim. Of course, these were not yet the slimmest Lepine watches made, as these were yet to come, but compared to the verge watches made at the time, it's super slim anyway.
Let's get back to the dial:
It has a wonderful metal dial with guilloche on the center and guilloched rim of the bezel.
It's very much Lepine/Breguet style and - in my opinion - best design you can get on these.
This comes with gilded Breguet style hands.
Opening the watch, you'll notice the standard Lepine markings, but no Lepine brand itself.
You'll also notice the inside of the case is gold plated, unlike the outside. Weird, bot good looking.
The caseback has some damage, as someone filed it (from the inside) to make room for the barrel.
There. A six jewel Lepine caliber one in very good condition.
Described as non-working, it's in perfect shape.
With just a minor push on the train it starts off like crazy.
I don't know if the mainspring is fine, as I've not wound it up, but even if it's not - no big deal.
Otherwise it's OK, with no much dial, and yet a lot of original gloss.
The main feature of Lepine's caliber one is the lack of barrel bridge, as you see.
The ratchet wheel and click are under the dial, which makes mainspring replacement more difficult.
In caliber two the design was reversed, by adding a barrel bridge and moving the click on top, allowing to remove the barrel without removing the dial.
The modification was made early and Caliber 1 is somewhat scarcer than the rest of them.
All in all - a wonderful Lepine caliber 1 watch in decent condition for a fair price - I have to call myself lucky.
It's also quite large, larger than I thought. I think about 16 size.
Adorable, simply adorable piece.