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  1. #21
    Member Seele's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    I might just pick up that Daros next month then. The challenge, of course, is to track down the retailers who sold them!

  2. #22
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Chascomm View Post
    Alas I have yet to find a Dunklings or a Morley at the right price, condition or style that suits me.
    I saw this one on ebay. The movement is running, but clearly the case needs stripping back and rechroming, and the hands and dial need some restoration. I looked at it and thought 'if only...' Life is full of such moments.



    looks like a Rotary-signed movement


    I love the wording on the back


    "unbreakable against accidental dropping"
    Chascomm
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  3. #23
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    I think 'Felicia' may have been an Australian-owned brand. At one time they were assembled here too, at least some of them. Others were fully imported from Switzerland, and I've seen a couple of them with Swiss movements, but probably assembled in Hong Kong. I don't know of them ever being sold anywhere other than Australia.
    Chascomm
    Moderator, Russian Watches & Chinese Mechanical Watches Forums
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  5. #24
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Chascomm View Post
    I think 'Felicia' may have been an Australian-owned brand. At one time they were assembled here too, at least some of them. Others were fully imported from Switzerland, and I've seen a couple of them with Swiss movements, but probably assembled in Hong Kong. I don't know of them ever being sold anywhere other than Australia.
    At the collectors fairs here, Felicia brand watches are very common indeed, so it is quite plausible that the brand was Australian. I do not know how to distinguish between the Swiss-made, Australian-assembled, and HK-assembled ones though, and they seem to be women's watches rather than men's. As usual, it'd be interesting if we can track down information about who actually owned the brand.

  6. #25
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Seele View Post
    At the collectors fairs here, Felicia brand watches are very common indeed, so it is quite plausible that the brand was Australian. I do not know how to distinguish between the Swiss-made, Australian-assembled, and HK-assembled ones though, and they seem to be women's watches rather than men's. As usual, it'd be interesting if we can track down information about who actually owned the brand.
    I read a review online of a Felicia chronograph. I think it stated that Felicia was a Swiss brand. I should see if I can find it again.

    Contra to that, I recall my watchmaker telling me about the factory that used to assemble Felicia watches in Australia, along with other private label and international brands (including Rolex?). His understanding was that Felicia was their house brand. The watches were available wholesale to independent watchmakers so he'd sold quite a few, but that was many years ago. From his account of watch assembly in Australia, I surmised that in this country we may at one time have had a tariff system in place similar to in the USA which led to watches signed 'Swiss' being assembled locally.

    As for my comment about Hong Kong assembled watches; this arises from my own observation of a couple of boy-size 1970s Felicias with 17 jewel FHF/ST 96 movement (in the generic ripple finish) with the dial signed 'SWISS MOVT'. I'm not aware of this phrasing being used outside of east Asia. But I could be wrong.
    Chascomm
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  7. #26
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    I might have to look more closely at the Felicias next time I see them! I guess we are both not old enough to remember them first-hand (Actually while I am older my excuse was that I was not in Australia at the time!)

  8. #27
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    That review that I mentioned:
    Review: 1970s Felicia de luxe Chronographe by Les Zetlein
    written in 2000 about a 1970s chronograph watch

    "IN TRYING TO FIND OUT some more about Felicia my researches led me to a Mr Charles Springer. Mr Springer was the sole importer of Felicias into Australia from Switzerland from 1949 to 1985. He's still working in his office in Sydney, and that's where I phoned him with a request for information. He was extremely helpful and generous with his time. He told me that Felicia was originally a small independent maker in Switzerland, but was now part of the SMH conglomerate. (He seemed amused at the thought that SMH started out as "a bunch of Germans importing coffee into Europe".) To my suggestion that Felicia's products were perhaps "middle of the road" in terms of quality he emphatically responded no, they were "top quality", and that at one stage 65% of all mechanical watches sold in Australia were Felicias. Furthermore, nearly 100% of all nurses' watches (the 'upside-down' ones they pin on their uniforms) sold in Australia were Felicias too. Obviously they weren't in the top luxury bracket, but he believed they were sturdily made using quality materials, and very good value for money. Based on the one I had in front of me, I had to agree with him. Interestingly, he said he had plans to begin importing mechanical Felicias again, with either ETA or Ronda movements. I asked him what watch he had on at the moment. He seemed surprised at the question. "A Felicia, of course," he said. "All stainless steel, 200 metres water resistant. Came in handy when it was my grandchildren's bathtime!""

    Clearly Mr Springer is talking up the quality of the brand, but the clear reference to the Felicia being a Swiss brand is intriguing given that virtually all of the world's surviving Felicias seem to be located in Australia. Notice also no reference to local assembly although my watchmaker was quite specific about this. I accept that he may have been mistaken about the brand being owned by the assembler.

    The only reference to Felicia beyond Australia that I have been able to dig up was in this thread over on the Vintage forum:
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f295/tr...ps-364475.html

    specifically this line:
    FELICIA - BOURQUIN, SAUTER & Cie Bienne

    So perhaps this is not an Australian brand after all, however it does seem to be specific to the Australian market in much the same way that Invicta and a few other Swiss brands have been sold only in particular South American countries.
    Chascomm
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  9. #28
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    Chascomm, it is also possible that Felicia was a very small operation that the company was content with having just one export outlet fronted by Charles Springer, but of course we would never know unless sales outlets in other countries have been identified.

  10. #29
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    Re: Calling all Australian Brand Watches

    Hi guys my first post.

    Very interesting subject, I had no idea that there were any current "Australian" watches until the last couple of days.
    I use "" as they seem to be assembled from imported bits.
    That OWC looks very nice, and some of the Classiques as well.

    Where do the "shop brands" fall? things like Elite etc that either Prouds or A&C sell???

    Re the assembly due to import tarifs question, I believe that it is the case - according to the founder of Classique.

    Classique Sam - Jewellery World

    “Like every other watchmaker in Australia, I was kept very busy assembling
    watches as everyone was importing watch movements to save on the Federal
    Government’s extremely high import duty on assembled watches,” he explains.


    EDIT: Perhaps Bausele should now be added to the list. Refer News section of the forum.
    Last edited by RedVee; December 25th, 2011 at 06:29. Reason: New Aussie watch company?

  11. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedVee
    Hi guys my first post.

    Very interesting subject, I had no idea that there were any current "Australian" watches until the last couple of days.
    I use "" as they seem to be assembled from imported bits.
    That OWC looks very nice, and some of the Classiques as well.

    Where do the "shop brands" fall? things like Elite etc that either Prouds or A&C sell???

    Re the assembly due to import tarifs question, I believe that it is the case - according to the founder of Classique.

    Classique Sam - Jewellery World

    “Like every other watchmaker in Australia, I was kept very busy assembling
    watches as everyone was importing watch movements to save on the Federal
    Government’s extremely high import duty on assembled watches,” he explains.


    EDIT: Perhaps Bausele should now be added to the list. Refer News section of the forum.
    Edit: just noticed a brand called 'Maxum' in Myer, the in store advertising states they are Australian. Anyone know them?
    Also, it strikes me that there could (should?) be a sticky listing all the Australian watch brands past and present, possibly with a notation on where they source from?
    My Watches
    c1901 American Waltham Pocket Watch Hunting Case
    c1986 Seiko Quartz 6530-5770 Gold face - Dead.
    Dec2011 Tissot PR100 Quartz Stainless Steel w'Blue face
    c???? Novice manual wind watch Black face
    C1992 St George Leagues Club unknown manufacturer Quartz - White face
    c1972 Tissot SeaStar Automatic DayDate Gold plated Gold face - Dead
    2013 WUS CMW Manual wind - Silver face LE172 China
    4StringsGood

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