Few days ago I bought an almost NOS Borel Cocktail mistery watch. But what is that?
A mystery watch is a term used in horology to describe watches whose working is not easily deducible, because it seems to have no movement at all, or the hands don't seem to be connected to any movement.
Dial of my watch:
The Cocktail Watch, which defines Ernest Borel more than any other, was patented in 1952 and introduced in 1953.
It was introduced first as a ladies’ watch only and as manual wind. The constantly moving kaleidoscope dial can be quite mesmerizing, though its secret is quite simple. Two clear plastic discs with the same geometric pattern are mounted underneath the crystal. One is fixed. The other is mounted on a center pinion that normally functions to turn the movement’s sweep second hand. When the free-mounted disc turns and its pattern juxtaposes itself against the stationary disc, it creates a moving kaleidoscope effect.
The original pattern on the wheels was marquis-shaped, creating a continuous “sunburst” pattern. Other shapes were introduced over the years and include flower, arrows, and stars. Each pattern creates a different kaleidoscope effect.
The cocktail watch occupied a relatively small market niche for Ernest Borel for the first few years. Then came the 1960s, and the Cocktail Watch became a favorite of hippies and flower children. Suddenly, it was no longer a “kaleidoscope” dial, but a “psychedelic” watch, man! Men wanted their
own version, and the company was only too happy to oblige. Soon the “Cocktail Watch” became Borel’s best seller, eclipsing every other model the company made.
My watch is 10K golden filled men’s model with automatic movement and around 1960:
Here with his new fellows:
And finally a video with the dynamic movement: