A military Cortebert?
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  1. #1
    Moderator soviet's Avatar
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    A military Cortebert?

    Hello guys,

    For some reason , I like military watches such as those Russian divers, and early Pobedas, so I bought this one. It looks very much like an early Pobeda, and the price is also about the same. I think the movement could be more reliable. I also like the classic slim hands.

    So is this a militray trench watch? Is Cortebert a good brand?

    Cheers,

    Zhang
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  2. #2
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    According to the Ranfft archive, Cortebert calibre 677S was used in watches around 1950 so unless the trench was in Korea, I don't think it's a trench watch as commonly understood.
    Here is a webpage on Cortebert. Perhaps one of our Euro-experts would like to comment further about Cortebert's quality and whether it might be a military model.
    http://www.perseo-watches.com/englis...rt_history.htm

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  3. #3
    Moderator soviet's Avatar
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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    Thanks for link. It looks like a well known brand. It was listed on my old Chinese list together with Zenith, Gruen, Wittnauer.. as 2nd category, 2nd class watches.

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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    Hi -

    The link is pretty good: it does give you the position of the company as your Chinese list points to.

    I wouldn't call it a military watch, though: it is a fine example of a watch probably in the upper quantile of their product line. There are no fixed bars for the strap and there is no lume whatsoever, both of which were more usually the case with a military watch.

    I place it towards the upper end of their product line for two reasons: the face and the hands. The face is a lovely example of some of the art-deco/military inspired watch faces of the era, with the master for the face having been done by a professional draftsman by hand (you'd be surprised how much was done by hand in the past...), as can be seen by the very small imprecisions in line width and the like as you would see from a typical blueprint from that era. The face is marvelously aged, with a lovely patina, despite the bad crystal and battered case.

    The hands are also exquisite and perfectly balanced for the face and case: are they blued, or are they flat black with a light satin finishing?

    The movement is 16 jewels, based on a 15-jewel movement with the extra jewel as bearing for the central seconds hand.

    Interestingly there's no incabloc shock protection, which points more towards the middle/late 1940s rather than solidly in the 1950s; the model shown at Ranfft shows with incabloc.

    Cortebert did some rather fine pocket-watch movements, such as the 516 and similar calibers, with some lovely damascening to the movement, but later went the matte gold finish that dominates European pocket-watch finishing, which I find a tad boring, especially in comparison to what the US was producing in its higher-end models.

    JohnF

    PS: Cortebert are very good quality, but replacement parts are not trivial...but any good qualified competent watchmaker should enjoy working on them, as their quality was above average, and that always makes a watchmaker happy...
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  6. #5
    Moderator soviet's Avatar
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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    Hi JohnF,

    Many thanks for the detailed explanation. I think I have learned quite a bit about this company. You asked about the hands. They are blue steel hands, and the second hand looks like red when new, but the paint is rusted off.

    I usually service old watches myself, but if this is a valuable watch, I may send it to a professional watch maker. It has been running since I bought it, so I think the movement is well made and tough. It should be a very beautiful watch when new. I like its elegant style. It is similar to a vintage Pobeda, but even more elegant.

    Cheers,

    Zhang

  7. #6
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    Hi -

    Blued hands are always good, the second hand can be repainted to recreate the red, should be very nice when cleaned up. As you say, very elegant style...

    Nice watch.

    JohnF
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    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    One of the old Cortebert PW calibres - I think it is one of the 590 series or the 620 series - was the basis of the russian Molnija 3602/3603 calibre. The one you have (Calibre 677S - the S stands for centre second hand) is also similar but it is the savonnette version - the Molnija is a lepine movement. No wonder it resembles your Pobeda.....

    Hartmut Richter

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    Moderator soviet's Avatar
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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    One of the old Cortebert PW calibres - I think it is one of the 590 series or the 620 series - was the basis of the russian Molnija 3602/3603 calibre. The one you have (Calibre 677S - the S stands for centre second hand) is also similar but it is the savonnette version - the Molnija is a lepine movement. No wonder it resembles your Pobeda.....

    Hartmut Richter
    Thanks. I have limited knowledge about Swiss made movements. I did not find the words savonnette or lepine so that I have no idea what they mean. But it just occurred to me that some old Rolex movements look very similar to this one. Did Cortebert supply movements to Rolex in the past?

  10. #9
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    "Lepine" and "savonnette" refer to pocket watches and their movements. A standard PW will have the small second hand at 6:00. The "Lepine" movement is that named after a M. Lepine and is for open face PWs with the crown at 12:00. The savonnette (lit. "small snuff box") which the English call a "hunter" (or with a hole in the lid, the "half hunter"), PW has a lid which is usually opened by pressing a button in the crown. You therefore hold it with the crown at 3:00. In order to have the small second hand at 6:00, the lepine movement has it opposite the crown (if you make a wrist watch out of it, the small second goes to 9:00 - compare the Zenith "Elite") and the savonnette at right angles to it. Compare the almost identical Unitas 6497 and the 6498.

    Never heard of Cortebert supplying movements to Rolex - Rolex got their simple movements off Aegler (who also supplied Gruen in the inter-war period) before they bought and amalgamated that company in the Wilsdorf Trust.

    Hartmut Richter

  11. #10
    Moderator soviet's Avatar
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    Re: A military Cortebert?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    "Lepine" and "savonnette" refer to pocket watches and their movements. A standard PW will have the small second hand at 6:00. The "Lepine" movement is that named after a M. Lepine and is for open face PWs with the crown at 12:00. The savonnette (lit. "small snuff box") which the English call a "hunter" (or with a hole in the lid, the "half hunter"), PW has a lid which is usually opened by pressing a button in the crown. You therefore hold it with the crown at 3:00. In order to have the small second hand at 6:00, the lepine movement has it opposite the crown (if you make a wrist watch out of it, the small second goes to 9:00 - compare the Zenith "Elite") and the savonnette at right angles to it. Compare the almost identical Unitas 6497 and the 6498.

    Never heard of Cortebert supplying movements to Rolex - Rolex got their simple movements off Aegler (who also supplied Gruen in the inter-war period) before they bought and amalgamated that company in the Wilsdorf Trust.

    Hartmut Richter
    Many thanks! I also have a Gruen with a 6-6012 movement. I wonder who supplied movements to Rolex? Marvin, Zenith?

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