A Grail has arrived..., after some, 4 decades! Better grab a cup of coffee (or other favorite beverage) before getting into this one...
The Juvenia Architect or Protractor Watch:
First, your going to have to suffer through a little history lesson... Since the early 70's I have been trying to track one
down. I was starting in an engineering position then and I ran across mention of this and saw a picture of it. I was hooked
from the moment I first laid eyes on it. I remember trying to track one down at the time and it was nearly impossible. The
one I found was outrageously priced and things are a lot different now than they were then. Now some 40 years later, we have
this magic thing called the internet. The internet changed the whole world of collectors for all things. Now it is possible
to "shop" for things across the state, into other states, other nations, and half way around the world! The whole collecting
world would be forever - turned upside down... us oldies remember a world without the internet and trying to hunt down
things, "the old fashioned way"..., anyways, I digress.
The Architect or Protractor Watch was made from 1960 - 1961 (as far as I can tell) by the manufacturing company of Juvenia.
Stainless Steel case of ~33mm in diameter. The movement is a Juvenia Swiss Caliber 612. Original hands, dial, crown, signed
movement, etc. Very unusual and very hard to find. Like I say, I was a young and foolish lad who saw something that sparked
something deep down inside of me. I never gave up the search and later in my life the "want" turned into a "need". I was
constantly on the lookout for one. The few times I could ever find one (I can count the times on one hand) either they were
trashed or completely out of my range. Then one day in December 2007 (it is actually the Jan. 2008 issue), I was cruising
the magazine rack at the local newsstand (remember those?) and I ran across a copy of "Esquire" (was a great mag, by the
way). To my amazement... there was a picture of Johnny Depp on the cover - WEARING MY WATCH ! ! I stopped and did a
double-take. Like they weren't hard enough or expensive enough before he decided to parade it across America..., that's
GREAT! Seriously? It set the watch world on it's ear and created quite a buzz. Not the best of pictures and no one could
identify the watch..., I knew immediately what it was - it was: MY GRAIL!! People were asking what it was, where they could
find one, etc. I knew and now I had to have one even more than before. Now it was being called, "The Johnny Depp Watch"...
awesome... now I'll never be able to get one!! Turn to 2014 and I find one for sale. It is not in pristine condition, it
has some issues. It was cleaned and runs great but the guy is asking what I believe to be an exorbitant amount for the
watch. I email him and of course, point out all of the flaws (you all know what I'm talking about and know how to play the
game). I make, what I feel is a fair offer considering everything. I am sure he will probably think it's a low-ball offer.
I explain everything and my passion for watch collecting..., how I have wanted one of these for years, etc., etc. To my
amazement... he accepts my offer!! I probably had no business even making an offer as the timing is extremely bad, but you
know how we are? I get the dough off to him and a few days later, it's sitting on my wrist. Like I said, it is not pristine
or anything and shows a few signs of wear with some nice patina. I figure I will, hopefully someday, be able to upgrade it
to a more Mint example, but until then, I am pretty excited and honored to be able to wear it on my wrist. I even like the
"patina" it has acquired over all of these years - sorta like me! I feel Juvenia's are a rather misunderstood brand.
Juvenia is a luxury Swiss watch manufacturer currently located in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. It is one of the few Swiss
watch companies to have manufactured watches without interruption since its creation in 1860 (150+ years of history - pretty
amazing!). One of the first watch manufacturers in 1914, to make a ladies wristwatch, when they came out with a movement
that measured 9.5mm x 2.5mm thick (in 1914)! The watches now sell anywhere from a few bucks (on the used market) to tens of
thousands of dollars (they currently make a nice tourbillion, as well). I can't see this one coming off or leaving my wrists
for any long period of time. I feel this one put Juvenia in the history books and on the horological map (okay..., along
with several other horological achievements in their rich 150 year history).
The only regret is the size - ~33mm, oh well, the price we 'vintage people' pay to love, understand and want to wear vintage
pieces. Referred to as the Architect or Protractor watch because of the reference to the protractor shaped hour hand (which
has amazing detail on it's 180° dial with all the markings), the golden arrow minute hand (split at the tip), often referred
to as a ruler and the second hand that resembles a pointer in a vintage magnetic compass.
Whew... Okay, I know, without further ado (I will apologize ahead of time for the crummy cell phone pix), It gives me great
pleasure to introduce you to the Juvenia Architect or Protractor watch (aka, alias - "The Johnny Depp Watch" - arghh)...:
The one Johnny Depp is wearing for the magazine article is a gold filled version which was the most common. Mine is the
stainless steel version and the more sought after, especially with the current trends. I ran across one in a high end
auction house in about 2005 and I believe that is the one Depp is wearing on his wrist. A few extra shots of him in the
article as well...:
I will try and attach a video of just how this thing looks while it's being set... This piece is just too cool and I hope
you feel the same!! Any Engineer's, Architect's, Metrologist's (what I am), Machinist's, etc., wet dream come true. My son,
who has followed in my footsteps and became a machinist - saw it and fell in love with it. He couldn't keep his eyes off of
it and even said, "That ones going to me, right...??" (like... he's not getting them all?!). There have been a few watches of
mine he has liked but none hold the fascination for him that this one does. If I ever run across another, I may have to pick
it up for him.
And, the little video, if you are interested to see how it looks in fast motion (click on the image)...:
I have owned this watch for a couple of months now, as I wanted to bond with it. It has been extremely hard to hold off
posting on a, "What are you wearing today" thread. I have put it's, "Coming Out Party" together whenever I had a few moments
to sit down at the computer and type a few sentences and get everything down. Perhaps only a real watch enthusiast can
really appreciate it. I mean, if all you want to do is glance down at your watch to tell the time - then this is not for
you. What I really like is; you have to make a conscious effort to literally look at the watch and decipher what time it is.
It is definitely not intuitive and it forces you to stop what you are doing, clear your mind and determine what time it is.
That's exactly what I like about it, other than it's obvious..., "You've never seen another watch like this", "In your face -
good looks!", etc. After a couple of months wearing it, it has become a lot easier to read, I just can't go back to my other
watches (my Carlo Ferrara is a similar situation). What can I say...? I am in love with this watch! Sorry to get so
'windy' on you guys... I hope you have enjoyed it and possibly now, this is on your radar as well (or at least the brand
name)... good luck and I hope it doesn't take you 40 years to find your grail, whether it be a Juvenia Architect or something
Note: Juvenia had a showing at Basel in 2013 and presented a re-make of this model and they called it the Sextant. Different movement, larger size and date function, etc... cool but expensive!