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  1. #1
    Member suddha's Avatar
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    Sorna?

    I see a lot of older Sorna watches for sale at fairly low prices on the Web. I also noticed that there are new watches being sold under this name. I like the look of some of the older ones (though some have really horrible color schemes) and was wondering about the quality and history of this brand.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Sorna?

    Hi -

    Not much is known. I've seen both the old and the new on offer, and they are kind of intriguing. And you're right on the color schemes, sometimes bordering on the truly bizarre. And done by someone really in love with primary colors.

    But like I said, I wasn't able to find out too much. The original company went into liquidation on 17 October 1994, ending on 8 January 1996. The company had a number of various models registered: Sorna, Sornadat, Sorina and Sornana were all registered names.

    The new ones have no connection with the older company.

    I've added a copy of an advertisement for Sorna from 1953, as well as that wacky and wild World Traveller, a humongous watch at close to 50mm that was sort of the company's last gasp and proved to be too bizarre for anyone's taste at the time.

    Part of the problem is that the World Traveller chrono movement is a Roßkopf (I think it's safe to translate that as pin lever movement) movement that was really very, very strange indeed, with a tuning-fork like bridge attached only on side for the chrono wheels. Really strange.

    Someone evidently got quite a stock at whatever liquidation sale they had, since most of the ones I've seen are NOS and while sort of perversely interesting, are probably not some of the world's best examples of Swiss chronographs...

    Oh, and that particular model used an EB calibre inside...

    JohnF
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  3. #3
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    Re: Sorna?

    Hi out there,

    the Sorna chronographs are indeed pretty ugly, but still real collectibles.
    They all have one of the calibres EB 8420 or 8429 (only different diameter):
    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-...b&uswk&EB_8420

    And I think it is fascinating, how an assemly of some punched pieces of
    sheet material preform as real two register chronograph with quickset date
    feature. Maybe they represent more engineering intelligence than many
    chronograph calibres of highest reputation.

    So hit one, before the liqudation stock is sold out - they will never return.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
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  5. #4
    Member FrancoThai's Avatar
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    Question Re: Sorna?

    Hi,

    Is it worth to have this watch in the collection ?

    How much you estimate the value of this watch ?

    What about the movement reliability ?

    Weirdo design watch but unique.

    Thanks for replying.

    FrancoThai
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  6. #5
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    Re: Sorna?

    Hi Franco,

    who else than you shoud decide what is worth to be added to your collection?

    I sold a couple of n.o.s. samples four years ago for EUR 110,-- each.
    Here an example from my arcive:
    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-...sau&1093446087
    And today people are crazy to pay the double on ebay, but only if no
    pic of the movement is shown.

    Such prices are not rectified by the primitive pin lever movement in a
    cheap chrome case, and thus already signify that some people regard
    them as collectible.

    I think, a collection of chronograps should include some pin levers, and
    a collection of poor man's watches the more. If you want one, wait for
    an offer with movement picture - it will save you some bucks.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  7. #6
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Sorna?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    Part of the problem is that the World Traveller chrono movement is a Roßkopf (I think it's safe to translate that as pin lever movement) movement that was really very, very strange indeed, with a tuning-fork like bridge attached only on side for the chrono wheels. Really strange.
    Just to get pointlessly picky while the EB8420 certainly has a pin-lever escapement, it does not have a Roskopf train.

  8. #7
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Sorna?

    Weirdo - but not quite unique. Insiders in the world of chronograph movements will tell you about the TDB-K Cal. 1369 (TDB-K stands for the consortium of the developers: Tenor-Dorley, Brac & Kelek). The subdials were at 11:00, 2:30 and 6:00. Even more interesting, there was a digital version in which the "normal time" was shown by discs in small windows, leaving all the hands (except small second hand at 6:00) to do with the chronograph. This was a Swiss lever chronograph movement, the smallest automatic chrono when introduced, but strictly speaking modular, not integrated (despte the fact that the chrono mechanism is sandwiched between the main movement and the rotor).

    More info under:

    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-...2uswk&TDB_1369

    and

    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-...2uswk&TDB_1376

    Hartmut Richter

  9. #8
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Sorna?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Ranfft View Post
    Hi Franco,

    who else than you shoud decide what is worth to be added to your collection?

    I sold a couple of n.o.s. samples four years ago for EUR 110,-- each.
    Here an example from my arcive:
    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-...sau&1093446087
    And today people are crazy to pay the double on ebay, but only if no
    pic of the movement is shown.

    Such prices are not rectified by the primitive pin lever movement in a
    cheap chrome case, and thus already signify that some people regard
    them as collectible.

    I think, a collection of chronograps should include some pin levers, and
    a collection of poor man's watches the more. If you want one, wait for
    an offer with movement picture - it will save you some bucks.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft
    I think the high prices of such watches is due more to the combination of the words 'chronograph' and 'Swiss made'. Many buyers will bid without understanding the low quality of the item.

    Obviously some budget chronographs really are collectable items. The Sorna Jackie Ickx Bullhead is an obvious example, notwithstanding the disproportionate number that were returned under warranty it is still an exempliary example of the style of its era and has a connection to a famous racing driver.

    However there are many others with clearly inflated prices. Non-chrono Sicura and Sorna watches command a premium for being 'Swiss made' when compared to higher-quality Seikos of similar style and age, but the chrono versions are way higher again.

    I'd love to own a watch with an EB8420 or BFG590, but when even the humble EB8802 (60 minute counter with flyback but not stop function) can ask a high price as a 'vintage Swiss made chronograph', I realize my chances of buying one of these for what they're really worth is fairly remote. Even the Ruhla 24-35 can sometimes cost as much as Poljot 3133!

  10. #9
    Member Sir Harry Flashman's Avatar
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    Re: Sorna?

    I was unfamiliar with pin lever. Is below what the Sornas have?

    ***

    A cheaper, less accurate version of the lever escapement is used in alarm clocks, kitchen timers, mantel clocks and, until the late 1970s, cheap watches, called the Roskopf, pin-lever, or pin-pallet escapement after Georges Frederic Roskopf, who invented it in 1867. It functions similarly to the lever, except that the lever pallet jewels are replaced by vertical metal pins. In a lever escapement, the pallets have two angled faces, the locking face and the impulse face, which must be carefully adjusted to the correct angles. In the pin pallet escapement, these two faces are designed into the shape of the escape wheel teeth instead, eliminating complicated adjustments. The pins are located symmetrically on the lever, making beat adjustment simpler. Watches that used these escapements were called pin lever watches, and have been superseded by cheap quartz watches.

  11. #10
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Sorna?

    That is correct - they have pin lever movements.

    Hartmut Richter
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