Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

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  1. #1
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    Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    I am posting here in the hope that someone will be able and willing to help me find some information regarding this watch (and another, but I'll post that later).

    Getting the macro shots for this was quite difficult - I only have a cheap point-and-shoot. Despite the macro being fairly useless, I managed to get some shots which I hope are acceptable. I managed to interpose a lens from a binocular between the camera, and that seemed to do the trick.

    To summarise the information:

    The dial is marked 'DuBois' in an italic script, with 'INCASSABLE' also present (which translates as 'unbreakable' and although it runs, 'unbreakable' might be optimistic ).

    The movement is marked 'PH.DUBOIS & FILS' and 'LOCLE' and 'C.30'. These are all in a small, uniform, sans serif typeface. However the markings on the plate holding the regulator arm are in a copperplate typeface. It has a Côtes de Genève decoration, and there is anglage consistently applied to the plates. 'Unbreakable' probably refers to the jewelled bearing holding the balance staff - there appears to be a rudimentary shock protection system... although it might simply be holding the jewel in place - excuse my ignorance.

    The case back is marked 'METAL CHROME', 'FOND ACIER', 'INOXYDABLE' and '55380'. There is also a diagram/emblem/maker's mark which shows three pine trees and the letters 'D.B F' (I thinks it's an F - it fits with Du Bois & Fils - although it does look more like a capital gamma). A perlage decoration is applied to the inside of the caseback. This watch is tiny - I know that contemporary watches are very large, so this opinion is perhaps malformed - but across the case between ten and four, it only measures 26.5mm (Vernier calipers). Nevertheless, it is very legible.

    I have tried to do my due dilligence so I do not waste anyone's time, but I can find very little information about Du Bois & Fils. Currently it appears to be a resurrected brand, with all the puffery and suchlike that is associated with these companies. Of the original brand I have found very little. I would be most grateful if anyone could provide me with information about the movement, Du Bois & Fils and the watch in general - especially the movement (for my interest) and its likely age (for my Mother's interest).

    Have a good weekend!

    R_T_H
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  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    I was under the impression they were the DuBois of Dubois-Depraz, the chronograph module maker. But I am wrong on a regular basis, especially when pulling associations out of the memory database... retrieval sometimes gets the wrong rows
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  3. #3
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    There is this page about Philippe Du Bois & Fils of Le Locle:

    http://www.luxurywatchswap.com/duboisfils.php

    But you have probably found this alrewady.

    Mikrolisk has an entry

    http://www.mikrolisk.de/show.php/280/letter_D

    showing the 3 trees logo - but otherwise not a lot to be found.
    Last edited by Marrick; April 18th, 2010 at 10:53.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

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    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    Thank you for your responses .

    I don't think it's related to Dubois-Depraz - looking at the history of Dubois-Depraz, the founders are some members of the Depraz family and Reynold Dubois: http://www.dubois-depraz.ch/histo-horloeng.swf

    I had found the first link, Marrick, but not the second - it's really helpful, as it includes some marks I've been looking for (Dreadnought)

    If anyone's still got any information, I'd be very glad to hear it.

    I also have another question - is servicing this feasible? It is in running order (though I only checked this very briefly - as I don't want to damage the pivots through lack of lubricant etc). The corrosion on the movement is very curious in that it doesn't seem to have bitten deep into the metal - it's more a surface layer.

    Thanks for your time

    R_T_H

  6. #5
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    Service is easy (for a watchmaker) ... parts may be a problem if needed... but they probably are not since it is a runner.
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  7. #6
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Service is easy (for a watchmaker) ... parts may be a problem if needed... but they probably are not since it is a runner.
    Thanks - I was concerned that the corrosion, however benign, would necessitate new parts. Now, being a student, I just neeed to worry about the cost of doing so

  8. #7
    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    Your watch looks to me to be from the forties. The corrosion may be cosmetic only,
    if there is corrosion on the balance spring or pivots it can be a big problem.

  9. #8
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    The movement itself was made by Fontainemelon , which is also known as Font or FHF.
    It is a Font caliber 30 and has the added durability of shock-protected balance jewels. It's much easier to break the balance staffs in watches without such shock-protection.
    I agree that it was likely made in the 1940s.
    BTW, the markers and the hands most likely had radium paint applied to them. From what I've read, it's typically not a problem for the wearer, as the crystal and caseback offer protection, but not good to breathe, ingest, etc. the paint dust.

  10. #9
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchloon View Post
    The movement itself was made by Fontainemelon , which is also known as Font or FHF.
    It is a Font caliber 30 and has the added durability of shock-protected balance jewels. It's much easier to break the balance staffs in watches without such shock-protection.
    I agree that it was likely made in the 1940s.
    BTW, the markers and the hands most likely had radium paint applied to them. From what I've read, it's typically not a problem for the wearer, as the crystal and caseback offer protection, but not good to breathe, ingest, etc. the paint dust.
    Radium: delicious but deadly . Yes, that is a slight problem as the crystal has shruck over the years and is no longer held in - as a consequence the radium is out and about, free to wreak merry hell with my health. Oh well

    Thanks for the movement information - it's really appreciated! What was the movement like when it was new? Low-grade or middling?

  11. #10
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    Re: Vintage wrist watch question - Du Bois & Fils

    You're quite welcome.
    The movement was in the middle, quality-wise.

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