ONSA watch - movement identification
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  1. #1
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    ONSA watch - movement identification

    This is my latest acquisition, a beautiful, well running Onsa from the 1950ies, 21 jewels, shockproof, antimagnetic.

    I have cleaned the case and attached a new wrist band. Now I am now trying to find out what type of movement is in there. I have absolutely no clue.
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  2. #2
    Member Shum's Avatar
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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    I'd say a HB 120 (Hermann Becker).

  3. #3
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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    I'd say you're correct!
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    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    @ Shum, @ Vintage1982: I'd say I am totally flabbergasted! Thanks for the Info.

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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    I'v never had one of these movements but now I'm going to keep an eye out for Onsa watches.

  7. #6
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    Quote Originally Posted by Shum View Post
    I'v never had one of these movements but now I'm going to keep an eye out for Onsa watches.
    ONSA is a Swiss brand, founded 1923 by Hans Gilomen, in Lengnau. His son Hans-Joerg joined the company after his successful watchmaker exam.

    When the Mayflower II made its legendary Atlantic crossing, there had been two ONSA watches on the ship, type Automatic-Waterproof, to be tested. Believe it or not, one of them hung on the top of the mast, withstanding the forces of nature, wind and weather. But the other one really went through the test. It was UNDER WATER, attached to the rudder of the sailing ship.

    There was enough movement to keep the automatic watches running, and of course the were not harmed by water and humidity. But that was not enough for the ONSA-guys. When Hannes Keller, an extreme athlete, was diving down into the Lago Maggiore (the great/maggiore lake) in the year 1960, to a new world record depth, he had a ONSA watch on his wrist, the ‘Scaphandrier’ (French word for diver). He and the watch came up again from 155 meters depth and both, diver and watch, were unharmed.

    Hans Gilomen died in 1970. Under the leadership of his son Hans-Joerg, the company had some successful years, but later went into difficulties along with the ‘quartz-crisis’, and was at first concentrating the business to Europa and then only to Switzerland.

    In the year 1989, Hans-Joerg sold the company to Domenico Granito. He, his family and the employees of ONSA, came back to success again on the international markets. Since 2007, the Montres ONSA AG is a modern, clearly structured enterprise.

    The production, since foundation, comprised of watches in expensive gold cases, chronographs, watches showing the bio-rhythm, wrist watches with alarm function and pocket watches.

    (Source: translated from Watch Wiki)

    The watch I have (shown on the images) is of course not a water-tight model, but extremely accurate, although reading on the time-scale show a longer use over many years, despite the 21 jewels, but still acceptable.

    Before everyone here is now running after ONSA watches: Hold back a while, I want to suck a couple more from the market first, at least from the days, when Hans Gilomen was still around, and preferably before 1960.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; June 28th, 2015 at 10:50.
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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    These are the kind of stories that make horology so much fun and interesting for me. Awesome read!

  9. #8
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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    And now I want a Onsa even more...

  10. #9
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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    Hey, I cycled to Delft today (nice weather and a huge fleamarket) and guess what? Picked up this nice Onsa with a FHF 72 movement!
    Will have to replace the crystal and service it because the amplitude is somewhat low at 215 but otherwise it's running great.

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    Last edited by Vintage1982; June 27th, 2015 at 15:13.
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  11. #10
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: ONSA watch - movement identification

    Interesting to see that they "mixed" their movements. It is common to see makers get their movements from more than one ebaucherie, but less usual to see them getting movements from more than one country.....

    Hartmut Richter

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