unsigned movement

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  1. #1
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    unsigned movement

    Hi,

    Sorry for the newbie question!
    but I was just wondering what an unsigned movement meant in a vintage watch?
    Were all movements signed? eg. GP with a valjoux 22 always signed girard perragaux? or not necessarily?
    If they weren't signed, how do you know if it is the original movement and not one that was put in later?

    Thank you!

    Tai

  2. #2
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: unsigned movement

    Depends on the company and the market. A lot of "small" watch companies operated in very specific niche markets, and sold otherwise generic, unsigned movements with their own dials. In the lowest-tier, even the dials were generic, and you could find the exact same looking watch where the only difference was the name on the dial.

    However, there were import considerations. The U.S., for example, required that any watch movement being imported had to have the name of either the manufacturer or the importer engraved on the movement. This is why you'll often find the movement with a different name then is on the dial; the retailer/watch company would work through a generic importer. The dial would reflect the end purchaser, but the movement would reflect the importer or manufacturer. Other countries (Canada, for example) didn't have that requirement, so a lot of the Canadian retailed watches have no company indication.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  3. #3
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: unsigned movement

    Quote Originally Posted by taipeitai View Post
    Hi,

    Sorry for the newbie question!
    but I was just wondering what an unsigned movement meant in a vintage watch?
    Were all movements signed? eg. GP with a valjoux 22 always signed girard perragaux? or not necessarily?
    If they weren't signed, how do you know if it is the original movement and not one that was put in later?

    Thank you!

    Tai
    Hi and welcome.
    What does it mean? Nothing at all, the Swiss made thousands of unsigned movements.
    That said to the initiated/knowledgeable every movement is signed, maybe not by name (signature) BUT by style

    Regards
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

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  5. #4
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    Re: unsigned movement

    The movement in my vintage Ebel is unsigned.

    Name:  EBEL_vintage_m2.jpg
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    Name:  EBEL_vintage_m1.jpg
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    This movement doesn't say Ebel anywhere. But there are clues. One is that the caliber number (top of the first picture, at the edge of the plate to the left of the stem) is a "214" in a box. That is Ebel's standard caliber number marking (and also for a lot of other companies), but it is also the number they used for the AS1687 ebauche, which this movement is based on. Another clue is that the rotor says "24 jewels", which is an odd number for these movements. Other watch companies that used these movements fitted them with either 17, 21, 25, or 39 jewels, with anything over 17 being part of the autowinder. The dial also states "24 Jewels" which ties the movement to the watch. Ebel also had a different level of finissage than most of the companies that used this movement--higher than all but Girard-Perregaux.

    Ebel often only signed their movements in the way many did in those days, by stamping "Ebel Fab. Suisse" on the winding gear. But not always. Post-quartz crisis, of course, they engraved the rotors at least.

    The moral to the story us: You can't really conclude anything about the brand name not appearing, but if you do your research, you can usually discover the ways in which the company did things and look for those clues.

    Rick "amazed by how much information is available even on the Internet" Denney
    Zenith: Captain Chronograph 03.2110.400*; Cartier: Santos 100 XL Concord: Mariner, C1 Big-Date, C1 v.2 Chronograph; Ebel: Chronosport 1134901, Tekton 9137L83*, Type E 9137C41* (*=COSC)
    Ebel: 1911 BTR 9137L73* and 9139L71*, 1911 1120L41*, 1911 Senior 9080241, Brasilias 9120M41 (2), Aquatica 500 9120K61, Classic Hexagon GMT 9301F61, Classic 100 LE 9120R41; Baume & Mercier: Capeland World-Timer
    Heuer: Carrera 1964 Re-Edition CS3110; Maurice Lacroix: Masterpiece MP6439; "Seagull": 1963 Reissue cal. ST19; Seiko: Black Monster SRP307; Poljot: Sturmanskie cal. 3133; Tissot: T-Touch Lew and Huey: Acciona
    Vintage: JLC: ref. 2953, ca. 1946; Longines: Flagship cal 285; Zodiac: SST cal. 86, Aerospace GMT cal. 72; Favre-Leuba: cal. 253; Tianjin: Dong Feng cal. ST5; Elgin: Gr. 152 (1898), Gr. 384 (1919); Ebel: ca. 1962 ref. 9214955
    WUS: ST5 Project Watches (Black and Blue), F72.2014.DG3804 (Gray and Cream); Swatch: Sistem 51 Blue; TNT: Rattrapante cal. Rochat 7750+RAT-1

  6. #5
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    Re: unsigned movement

    Ah!
    Thank you for all the replies!
    I guess there's a lot of homework that i must do if I am to get into vintage watches!
    I was just thinking if a vintage watch had a more generic movement like a valjoux and was unsigned, if there was a way to figure out if it was the original movement.
    But i guess i'll have to look into the particular watch model and history of the brand.

    Thanks for the answers! I'll have a more specific question next time!

    Tai

  7. #6
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    Re: unsigned movement

    Quote Originally Posted by taipeitai View Post
    Ah!
    Thank you for all the replies!
    I guess there's a lot of homework that i must do if I am to get into vintage watches!
    I was just thinking if a vintage watch had a more generic movement like a valjoux and was unsigned, if there was a way to figure out if it was the original movement.
    But i guess i'll have to look into the particular watch model and history of the brand.

    Thanks for the answers! I'll have a more specific question next time!

    Tai
    Found an example for my question!
    Found this GP chronograph with a valjoux 22 movement on ebay:
    Name:  gp valjoux 22.jpg
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    It is unsigned. All i can figure out from research so far is that it is a one pusher valjoux,
    which means it was made somewhere between 1914-1936, but i can't seem to find any
    info on whether GP used this movement or anything prove that this is the original movement.

    Any help with this particular example would be greatly appreciated!

    Thx!

    Tai

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