Old Lanco Chronograph?

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  1. #1
    Member Russ Cook's Avatar
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    Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Hello,

    I have been posting a few watches recently on different watchuseek forums,[i normally post on the Russian forum]trying to find out some information on my small number of non Russian watches.

    Nearly all of my collection comes fom eastern europe,where in the past i have found some very good Russian watches,but now and again i am tempted by non Russian watches,so far they have turned out all right.

    I bought this Lanco?, very cheaply some months ago,i have allways wondered about its authenticity,its a bit battered and bruised but time keeping and functions are perfect.

    I tend to find i am wearing it more and more,its a bit of an old character,so i would be greatful for any information you can give[i fully expect it to be a complete dogs dinner ]

    Many Thanks,
    Russ Cook.
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  2. #2
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Hi -

    I wouldn't doubt its authenticity: it certainly looks vintage.

    I can't ID the movement with the picture given, but looks like a Landeron to me (but I may be wildly off here).

    Lanco is a brand name of the Uhrenfabrik Langendorf SA, located in Langendorf, Switzerland, right in the middle of the Solothurn Canton. A certain family Kottmann from Solothurn (Langendorf isn't far) set up industrial production in 1842 there, and in 1873 a chicory factory was rebuilt to make ebauche for other companies, using between 70 and 80 workers. However, the company did not do well and almost collapsed in 1880. The number of workers had been drastically reduced and there were severe problems with alcoholism and absenteeism, such that the Kottmann family started putting up housing and training of their workers. In the middle of 1880, just before the company would have been liquidated, Kottmann was able to import specialists from western Switzerland, who were able to turn the company around. Orders flowed in, and production was expanded strongly. The company was considered to be a very socially oriented company, building schools, a hydrant system and financing the installation of electric lights in Langendorf, as well as putting up significant amounts of low-cost housing. He also founded the local "Verein" or club, which is still operating today. From 1887 onwards production was deepened and the company became largely independent of suppliers. Towards the end of the 1880s it was considered to be the largest clock factory in the world.

    Karl Kottmann died in 1890 and the technical director, Lucien Tieche, took over the company. From this point on the company sold its products also under its own name (not Lanco, but Langendorf). In 1902 one of the Kottmann family took over the company once again.

    The company started using the name Lanco (for Langendorf Company) sometime in the 1960s.

    The company remained in family hands until 1964. A group of employees took over the company under the guidance of Guido Kottmann, and the company joined a conglomerate of watch makers (Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Uhrenindustrie AG) in the face of weakening business in 1965.

    In 1971 Lanco was merged into the Omega-Tissot Group, and production ended in 1973.

    The above is my quick-and-speedy translation from the German Wikipedia entry on Langendorf.

    I think yours is certainly legitimate and should actually be a solid example of Swiss watch manufacturing. My guess - and this is really just a guess - is that you have a watch from the late 1940s.

    I'd consider having it properly cleaned and checked: if you don't know the history, it's a good idea. And bruised and battered it is indeed! The case took a pretty heavy hit at one time (lower left hand side of the second picture), and you won't get much sealing of the movement in that case, which makes a maintenance run to your local qualified watchmaker a real necessity.

    Not sure how much to do on the face of the dial: I wouldn't do much besides letting the watchmaker do a gentle cleaning to remove dust. A new crystal would probably brighten things up significantly...

    Nice catch!

    JohnF
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  3. #3
    Member Russ Cook's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Many thanks John,for taking the time to give me that extensive information,it was very interesting,thats great news about originality.

    I have already got two watches at the watch repairers,when funds allow i think i will take your advice and send this one,the movement is very dirty,in fact i still dont know how it works so well.

    By the way,i should have said earlier,the movement has "Phygied extra" written on it which,i have never heard or seen before.

    Best Regards,
    Russ Cook.

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  5. #4
    stuffler,mike
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    I can't ID the movement with the picture given, but looks like a Landeron to me (but I may be wildly off here).
    That´s what I first thought too but then I found none with the typical bridge with the "unknown" inscription. The way the bridge looks led me to Angelus 215/217 movements. But as most of the Landeron movements Angelus movements also have 17 jewels. The dial cleary says: 15 jewels. So regarding the movement I have no clue by whom it was made ?

  6. #5
    Member Russ Cook's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Thanks for the information Mike,as a say its a bit of an old character,i have had another look at the movement with an old magnifying glass and the only marks other than Phigied extra,wich is also on the case back, is the number 52 whithin a circle, under the balance near the dent in the case.

    Best Regards,
    Russ.

  7. #6
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Hi -

    My problem exactly! That swing in the bridge there for the chrono central seconds isn't something I've been able to reconcile. The name inscribed really doesn't help much, as the only connection I've been able to identify is with a type of air current that helps albatrosses (albatrossi?) fly the long distances that they do without becoming exhausted.

    JohnF
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  8. #7
    Member Russ Cook's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Many Thanks John,could it be based on an old valjoux column wheel movement or venus,i have only said this because its the only two i know .

    Regards,
    Russ.

  9. #8
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Hi -

    The mystery deepens. I went to Ranfft and he lists no hand-wind chronographs with 15 jewels (doesn't mean there aren't any, but rather that there aren't any in his rather extensive database!).

    I think you may be right in thinking that is is based on an old Valjoux, but that would mean earlier than the Valjoux 22, which is 17 jewels.

    Hmmm. Either the face of the watch doesn't match the calibre, or the calibre is a 15-jewel chronograph that at least I haven't been able to ID. But I think it's a Valjoux.

    Any Valjoux experts out there to help here?

    JohnF
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  10. #9
    Member Russ Cook's Avatar
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Thanks John,yes its a mystery!You could be right,i bought it very cheaply of a seller from eastern Europe who i use quite regularly,he made no claims for the watch,he described it as "unknown" and i bought it out of interest.

    I do think the case goes with the movement,they both look very old,the pushers and crown i think are original,the face again is very old,it certainly has not been redialled recently,and the dial is a good fit but i dont supose that means anything.

    I would love to know what the movement is,but i will still enjoy the watch as a curiosity,it does look quite good on the wrist.

    Many Thanks once again for your help.

    Regards,
    Russ.

  11. #10
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    Re: Old Lanco Chronograph?

    Mike is right !

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