We are AVAILABLE! Please Read NOTICE below. Effective NOW, until Further Notice, we are Offering an Unprecedented $300 Off Discount off of each and every watch! Use Discount Code STAWC300 at Checkout.
Vintage Watch Guide





[Back to Top]


I. Getting to Know Your Watch — Watch “Anatomy”

 vintage watch anatomy guide image


II. How Your Timepiece is Powered

Is Your Watch Quartz?

quartz watch movement

A battery powered Quartz watch movement.

If your watch is powered by a ‘Quartz’ or battery powered movement, then it will continue to operate until the battery is completely drained (presuming all other internal pats and connectors are in good working order). Battery-powered watches should not be left unused for extended periods of time — a battery should be replaced or removed before they burst or leak acid, which can cause serious damage to the watch movement. A battery will generally last at least 1.5 - 2 years.


Is Your Watch Manual Wind?

mechanical manual wind watch movement image

A manual-wind watch movement.

If your watch is powered by a manual-winding movement, then it is solely powered by winding the crown of the watch in a clockwise or forward direction until resistance is felt and the crown cannot be wound any further. Instructions for winding will be detailed in the next section. A full wind is required before wearing the watch and should typically last between 24-36 hours. Most people generally wind their watch completely each morning before putting it on their wrist.


Is Your Watch Automatic / Self-Winding?

A rotor-powered automatic watch movement.

A watch with an automatic or self-winding movement does not require winding, but it can also be wound manually if desired (instructions for how to wind an automatic watch will be detailed in the next section). These automatic or self-winding watches possess a rotor or bumper mechanism that will move and automatically wind the watch based upon ypur wrist movement as you wear the watch over the course of the day. If you and your wrist are sufficiently active while wearing the watch throughout the day (for at least an 8-hour period), the watch should maintain a power reserve for between 24-36 hours.


III. How to Wind a Mechanical Timepiece

A. Manual-Wind Timepieces

Place the crown (winder) between your thumb and forefinger. Turn the crown forward (clockwise) with a long stroke. The crown will turn in in both directions, but will only wind in one direction: clockwise (or forward). To fully wind a watch requires 15 to 25 full 360-degree turns (this will vary depending on the watch). Wind/Turn the crown clockwise until it stops abruptly and cannot be wound any further. A manual-wind watch should be wound until resistance is felt and the crown will no longer turn clockwise, whereas an automatic watch can be wound forever without risk of damage. Your fully wound watch should maintain a power reserve and will run for at least 24-36 hours. 

If the watch is worn daily, it should be wound, fully and completely until the crown comes to a stop, each day at the same time for peak performance. It is not necessary to wind the watch if you are not wearing it that day. These watches are rugged; do not be afraid of “overwinding”.

B. Automatic (Self-winding, Perpetual) Watches

Automatic or self-winding watches have a small rotating weight inside the movement which spins around when you move your arm and winds the spring which runs the watch. If you wear an automatic watch every day for 6-10 hours and your wrist is reasonably active within that period of time, the watch will still be running when you put it on in the morning, because the movement of your wrist will build up an 8-10 hour winding reserve. If you do not wear it for a day or more, the watch will stop as the reserve will be depleated. 

You can start your automatic watch by winding it 5-8 complete 360-degree turns manually before you put it on your wrist. Then set the time and wear it normally. An automatic timepiece can be wound indefinitely with no damage to the watch, however, 30 complete 360-degree turns should give the watch a full wind and any further winding would be unnecessary. 

watch winding guide 1how to wind a watchwatch winding guide 3

Wind Clockwise, Until Complete Resistance is Felt. Do not fear "overwinding", your watch is fully wound when it is no longer possible to turn the crown clockwise.


IV. How to Set Your Watch

Set the time on the watch by gently pulling out the crown as far as it can be gently pulled out to the final notch/click and turning the crown clockwise or counter-clockwise to set the hands. You can set the hands. You can set the hands forward or backward.

Many Rolex ‘Oyster’ models feature a patented screw-down crown. With these watches you will first need to unscrew the crown, rotating the crown counterclockwise until it is removed from the tube threads. You will then be able to gently pull out the crown to the final notch and set the time as with any other watch. After setting the time, screw the crown back on by pushing the crown in toward the case while simultaneously rotating the crown clockwise. 

standard crowncrown setting out

This is a standard crown. At left, the crown is fully in and ready to wind. At right, the crown is out and ready to set the time. Date or calendar watches may have additional notches between the winding and setting positions for the purpose of setting the date, day, and/or month functions.


oysterlock crown inoystlock crown out unlocked

 This is a patented Rolex ‘Oyster’ screw-down crown. At left, the crown is fully threaded in and locked to the case, it will not wind or set. At right, the crown is un-threaded and pulled to the farthest notch. The hands may then be manipulated to set the time.


V. Caring For Your Mechanical Watch

Dropping and/or Banging

Be mindful when wearing your vintage watch to not to drop or bang it! When new, many of these watches were designed to withstand a fall of no more than three feet on to a raised wood surface. Now that these timepieces are much older, their parts may be rare, costly, or not readily available to replace. Though a watch may appear completely intact after a drop or bang, damage may be much more extensive internally. Even a slight bang can cause serious damage if impact occurs at the right angle. 

Water or Other Fluids 

Do not expose your vintage watch to water or other fluids. Many vintage watches were not equipped with gaskets to prevent exposure to moisture. Exposure to steam is potentailly more damaging than water exposure. If water enters the mechanism or dial/crystal of your vintage watch, pull out the crown as far as it will go, immediately place the watch in the crystal-down position in a resealable bag of rice, and seal/close the bag. Bring the watch in to us for service AS SOON AS POSSIBLE: any delay could cause further damage and corrosion to the watch movement.

We also recommend not wearing excessive perfume or cologne on the same wrist you wear your watch. These oils and alcohol can potentially react with the metal of your watch or enter the interior of the watch and interfere with the delicate balance of oils within your watch.


In the modern world, there are many external “dangers” to the optimal functioning of your mechanical vintage watch. Most frequently, magnetism is the cause behind a watch running abnormally or often excessively fast, slow, or stopping altogether. When most vintage watches were manufactured, people lived in a world with fewer sources of magnetism and electricity — no laptops (huge battery beneath the keyboard), mobile phones (large battery behind the screen), metal detectors at airports or court houses, or even purses with magnetic clasps (many purses today have magnets on the fastener, which your watch will pass by every time your hand reaches in).  (Note: Quartz watches are immune to magnetism.) 

When many of these vintage wristwatches were first produced, the greatest electrical / magnetic source in day-to-day life was probably a television set. After a long day at work, a person might come home at night and then place their watch on top of the TV set.  In today’s world, you might accidentally leave your watch on top of a closed laptop or notepad or have it scanned by X-Eays in aorport security.  Try to wear your watch when passing through metal detectors (ask to wear it during a body scan) and avoid putting your watch in direct and prolonged contact with batteries, electrical equipment, and magnets. 

Magnetism is in most cases easily reversible, and can be tested for with a common, analog compass. When passing a wristwatch very close and slowly over an analog compass, the directional compass indicator should remain completely still. A magnetized watch will cause the indicator on a compass to move or spin. Magnetism can most often be quickly removed using a “Demagnetizer” which can be purchased online. In certain rare occasions, a watch can become so magnetized that magnetism can only be removed by disassembling the watch and demagnetizing individual components. 

Though magnetism is in our experience, the most common cause of malfunction, there are a number of other possible causes or explanations, and it is important to remember we are discussing items which are mechanical: everything can be fixed. Remember, we didn’t make these watches, ultimately we are just attempting to make them work as well as (or better than) they worked when they were first manufactured.

simple compass for magnetism1930s demagnetizer vintage

(At left:) A simple and inexpensive small compass can be used to test for magnetism. Just gently and slowly pass your watch over the compass, keeping your watch very close to, but not touching, the compass. If the compass hand moves, your watch has some magnetism in it, which magnetism should ideally be removed. (At right:) Our favorite demagnetizer, a vintage piece from the 1930s. More modern examples can be purchased inexpensively online.

Long Term Storage

If you plan to store your watch for an extended period of time, make sure it is stored in a dry place (ideally high above ground level, as moisture tends to collect at lower levels). When keeping your watch in a safety deposit box (hopefully you have chosen a Safe deposit box located on a higher-level), it is best to wrap the watch in paper towels and place the watch in a resealable plastic bag. Ideally, one should place moisture absorbing silica gel packs with the watches. Do not store a Quartz watch for long periods of time with a  battery installed in it, otherwise the battery may leak, corrode, and severely damage the movement.

To prolong the life of your leather watch strap, keep it dry as much as possible.


VI. Periodic Service of Your Watch

Your watch purchased from Second Time Around Watch Company comes with a two-year warranty.  We strongly recommend you continue to bring us your watch for periodic service or repair. Watches, like cars, have oils which over time, dry up, coagulate, or get dirty. Certain parts of a watch are maintenance wear items that require periodic replacement, similar to a car’s oil filter, and therefore these parts should be replaced every so often, particularly the mainspring and the gasket rings. A mechanical manual wind or automatic self-winding watch typically should be serviced every 3-5 years.


VII. Malfunction and Troubleshooting


Note: The most common cause of a watch operating incorrectly is magnetism, followed by the failure to wind a watch for a sufficient period of time (manual movements), or to wear the a watch for a sufficient period of time automatic movements, or due to the watch suffering trauma casuded by banging or dropping of the watch.


Quartz watches should work flawlessly with a fresh battery for an average of 1.5 - 2 years until the battery needs to be replaced. If the quartz watch is malfunctioning, it could be a circuit issue — either the problem will be serious and parts will need to be replaced, or it may just be that the circuits need to be cleaned and the watch's internal parts re-oiled. In either case, the best way to troubleshoot the watch is to have a new battery installed and to wait for the issue to recur. If a battery dies within 1-2 months, it typically is indicative of a circuitry issue.


Please remember that your non-Quartz vintage watch is mechanical and will not be as accurate as a modern Quartz wristwatch. Small errors in accuracy can occur by the positioning of your watch, even when it is not being worn (I.E. a watch set upside-down or on its side will run differently than when the watch is left dial-up).

If your watch is inaccurate to the point of inconvenience (greater than +/- 30 seconds per/day, which are the specifications of a chronometer), please bring the watch to us for adjustment.

My Automatic Wristwatch is Not Holding a Power Reserve

If you are wearing an automatic wind wristwatch for eight to ten hours consecutively and moving normally (I.E. you are not inactive or at rest), the watch should keep time when removed in the evening and still be running and accurate when put on again the next morning. If the watch watch is not keeping time and is not accurate there may be a power reserve issue which should be addressed by our watchmaker. Sometimes it can be wise to give an automatic watch a little “jump start” by winding it manually eight to ten full 360 degaree winds before wearing the watch, especially if you have not worn the watch for a number of days.

My Watch is Stopped or Not Running

Make certain your watch is fully wound until it cannot be wound further (manual movements). Try passing it over a compass to determine if it has been affected by magnetism. If you reset your watch and it runs for a while but then stops repeatedly at specific times, a number of issues are possible. Bring the watch in for inspection as soon as possible, as any number of issues could be the cause.

My Watch is Running Fast 

Generally this issue is caused by magnetism or that the hairspring may have jumped from its correct position due to the watch being banged or dropped, though any number of issues could be the cause. Bring the watch in for service as soon as possible.

My Watch is Running Slow

Generally this issue is caused by magnetism. The watch may have a broken balance wheel due to the watch being banged or dropped, though any number of issues could be the cause. Bring it in for service as soon as possible. 

My Manual-Wind Watch Winds Forever Without Coming to a Stop

Unlike an automatic self-winding watch, when wound, the crown of a manual-wind watch should eventually come to a stop and not allow any further winding. If your manual-wind watch can be wound “forever”, without ever coming to a stop, this is almost always indicative of a broken mainspring. Mainsprings are a wear-item in a watch and should be replaced periodically. Even a new mainspring can sometimes become faulty. If your manual-wind wristwatch has this problem, bring the watch in for service.

My Watch Cannot Be Wound

If your watch cannot physically be wound, or feels abnormal when wound, any number of issues could be the cause, but most likely, your vintage wristwatch was excessively exposed to the elements, or is dirty insode, or was banged or dropped. Rust or dirt are typical causes. Alternatively, the oils in the watch may be completely dry or dirty. Whatever the case, bring the watch in for inspection.

My Watch Hand Broke or Fell Off 

When a watch is dropped, banged, or receives some kind of impact, the hands of a watch can break or fall off. Our watchmaker should be able to fix this issue relatively quickly, and in a worst case scenario, new correct replacement hands can usually be obtained for the watch. Because this is generally an indication of impact, there may be further complications or damage to the mechanism of a watch. Be very careful not to excessively shake a watch in this condition, as the loose hands could scratch the dial of your watch.

Broken or Scratched Crystal

Pressure cracks almost always occur within a very short period of time following installation, but the vast majority of cracks occur due to impact, and may appear beneath the bezel of a timepiece where they are not visible. A cracked crystal should be immediately replaced to prevent moisture and to insure the integrity of the watch. Natural “crazing” often occurs on an old crystal and should not be an issue — it is best thought of as the crystal’s natural “patina”. Light scratches on a plastic or acrylic crystal can be very easily buffed out via a polishing machine, but deep scratches may be permanent and require replacement of the crystal.   Scratches on Glass and Sapphire crystal cannot be polished out.


REMEMBER: These are vintage mechanical watches, and everything mechanical can be fixed — it is simply a matter of time, energy, and sourcing the correct parts. A watch should be cared for and looked after, but most importantly, all of the watches we sell are made to be worn and enjoyed. Do not panic if you are experiencing issues with your vintage wristwatch: we have never encountered a problem which could not be fixed or reversed given sufficient time.  



[Back to Top]

I. Guide to Vintage Timepiece Case Shapes

There are truly limitless specific variations of watch case shapes, but below are the following most typical shape types.


    ROUND                   OVAL / ELLIPTICAL                    SQUARE              RECTANGLE


   TRIANGLE                 TONNEAU / BARREL          CUSHION / TELEVISION           OCTAGON


        “TANK”               DIAMOND / LOZENGE                 PENTAGON               HEXAGON


     DECAGON                DODECAGON                   TRAPEZOID                     PEAR





II. Comprehensive Guide to Vintage Watch Hand Styles

As with case shapes, there are limitless variations in hand styles, but the vast majority will fall under one of the following categories:



 alpha lance watch handsalpha lance watch hands


 index watch handsindex watch hands


 leaf handsleaf watch hands    leaf watch hands

CATHEDRAL (or “Steeple”)

 cathedral steeple watch hands  


 louis xv watch hands


 diamond watch hands


 cube watch hands


 pyramid watch hands


 breguet watch handsbreguet moon watch hands


baton watch handsbaton watch hands  


  pointed baton watch handspointed baton watch hands  baton pointed watch hands  


cartier sword watch handscartier sword watch hands 


 dauphine watch handsdauphine watch hands 


spade watch handsskeletal spade watch hands  spade watch hands

SKELETAL, SPADE (Sometimes also called "Cathedral")

skeletal spade handsmercedeslollipophands


 modern moderne style watch handsmodern moderne style watch hands  modern moderne style watch hands  modern moderne style watch hands


sword watch hands  sword watch hands

STICK (Rounded or Pointed)

 stick watch handsstick watch hands  stick watch hands


 mercedes rolex lollipop handsmercedes rolex hands  mercedes rolex hands


III. Vintage Watch Definitions, Terminology, and Explanations

What is the difference between sapphire or glass and plastic/acrylic crystals?

Sapphire crystals are typically found on newer watches (for Rolex, post-c.1987) and feature greater scratch resistance than plastic/acrylic crystals. These crystals can be identified because they are typically flatter and more flush with the case than the more bulbous or curved plastic crystals. Additionally, some people can tell the difference by feel: a sapphire or glass crystal will be cold to the touch, whereas a plastic/acrylic crystal is typically closer to room temperature. Though more scratch resistant, there are several drawbacks to sapphire crystals: 1) When a sapphire crystal is scratched, the scratch cannot be buffed out, and the crystal must be replaced. 2) If dropped, a sapphire or glass crystal is more prone to shattering than a plastic crystal, which will more typically just crack. If a crystal shatters, shards can scratch a dial, or potentially enter a movement and cause havoc in the gears. 

The vast majority of wristwatches produced before the 1990’s will have a plastic or acrylic crystal, although some will have glass, which is similar to sapphire, though without its scratch resistant properties. In any case, some people prefer the vintage aesthetics of a more curved, plastic crystal, to the more flat sapphire material.

How do I remove scratches from plastic/acrylic crystals?

Unlike a sapphire crystal, a plastic/acrylic crystal can be polished many times before it needs to be replaced. If brought in to Second Time Around Watch Company, we can quickly polish a plastic/acrylic crystal with our polishing machine while you wait.

How do I remove scratches from the case of my watch? 

To remove scratches from the case of a watch, it must be polished, which will typically remove metal. A hand detail/polish with a cloth will typically remove less metal than a polishing machine, but because some metal will always be removed, it is typically advisable to wait as long as possible before polishing your wristwatch. That said, if requested, a polish is complimentary with any full service from Second Time Around Watch Company.

What is a ‘movement’?

A movement is the mechanical workings of a watch, excluding the case and dial. Typically in the case of vintage wrist and pocket watches, the movement will not be visible.

What is a complication?

A complication is an additional function, added to a wristwatch, beyond the standard time keeping of hours, minutes, and seconds. Some examples of complications include a calendar function, a chronograph function, or a moonphase complication.

What is a chronometer?

A chronometer is defined by the non-profit Swiss foundation Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) as “a high-precision watch capable of displaying the seconds and housing a movement that has been tested over several days, in different positions and at different temperatures, by an official neutral body (COSC).” To the average consumer, the most important thing this means is that when tested, a mechanical wristwatch was accurate to within the specified + or - seconds per day applicable at the time of the watch's production.

What is a chronograph?

A chronograph is a wristwatch with an additional complication which allows for the timing of events. This is typically accomplished with several “pushers”, or buttons on the case which start, stop, or reset the separate timing mechanism. Time is typically recorded through a center-sweep seconds hand and one or more subdials that maesures minutes and hours. Typically these watches were only meant to time events of short duration, and leaving them running can cause unnecessary wear to the mechanism.

What is a Perpetual Calendar?

A perpetual calendar complication is a very advanced version of the typical date window display on a standard wristwatch. These watches account even for leap years.

What is a Triple Date?

A watch with a triple date complication tracks the date (numeral), day of the week (Monday-Sunday), and the month of the year. Unlike a perpetual calendar, these watches will need to be manually adjusted at the end of every month with fewer than 31 days.

What is a Moonphase? 

A moonphase is a watch with an additional complication which displays the daily phases of the moon as it waxes and wanes over the period of its monthly cycle. 

What is a Tourbillion?

A tourbillion was initially developed for pocket watches to balance out the effects of gravity. It involves placing the escape wheel, escape lever, and balance wheel in a cage which rotates as part of the escapement process. Under these circumstances, the escapement of the watch movement never spends a significant amount of time in any one position.

What is a repeater?

A repeater is a watch which chimes a specific number of times to aidibily tell the time when activated typically by sliding a lever or pushing a button. There are several varieties of repeater, named by the smallest unit of time which their chimes indicate: quarter (of an hour), half-quarter (of an hour), five-minute, or minute.

What does gold filled mean?

If a watch is “gold-filled”, it means that gold was heated and applied to the case of the watch via a heating process. This technique predates electroplating, and results in a thicker layer of gold than most other plating methods. It is not typically used with watches today.

What is electroplating?

Electroplating is a method of applying metal to the exterior of a watch via electric currents to evenly cohere a metal coating to a surface. It is a thinner coating than via gold-filled.

 What metals are watch cases made of?

Some common case metal types: Chrome, Base Metal, Gold / Rose Gold / White Gold / Yellow Gold, Nickel, Platinum, Stainless Steel, Silver / Sterling Silver, Titanium

What does the “K” in “14K” mean?

Because pure gold (24K) is extremely soft, it is mixed with other metals to increase hardiness, durability, and resistance to everyday wear. It is therefore made in various “karats” (K), which are proportions of gold. In wristwatches, these are typically 9K, 14K, or 18K gold.

What is a hack feature?

A hack feature is one which stops the running seconds hand of a watch so that, when setting the watch, you will be able to precisely sync your wristwatch to another timekeeping device.

What are jewels in a mechanical watch? Are more jewels better?

Watch jewels are simply bearings, which are used to decrease friction and wear in the movement of a watch. Though “jewels” were originally created by a process of piercing precious gems, since the early 1900s, most jewels are synthetically-created rubies or sapphires, which have very little inherent value.

A higher jewel count does not necessarily make one watch better than another. Typically most modern mechanical wristwatches will have at least 17 jewels, but more or fewer jewel counts are not uncommon. A watch with a higher jewel count will usually have more complications and more working parts. A higher jewel count watch may in general be more accurate (although probably not terribly noticeably), but it is also similar to a sports car: because there is more going on internally, it should generally be serviced more often.

What is a watch winder? Do I need one?

Watch winders were created to mimic the movement of your wrist, by gradually rotating an automatic wristwatch in a stationary position, in order to keep the watch fully wound. If an automatic wristwatch is on a watch winder, its power reserve will not run down and it will not have to be reset. A Quartz or manual-wind movement will not benefit from a watch winder.

At Second Time Around Watch Company, we recommend against the use of watch winders unless they rotate your watch FULLY 360-degrees. The reason for this is that there is oil in a watch, and if your watch winder only spins in one or two directions, the movement will not be evenly lubricated, and certain parts of the watch will wear faster than others. For this reason, we do not sell watch winders, and recommend winding your automatic timepiece through normal wrist-wear.

What is shock resistance? Do older watches have it?

In mechanical watches, shock resistance technology was not common until the 1950s. When dropping an older timepiece, it was not uncommon for the balance staff, which holds the balance wheel, to break. Originally, most vintage watches were built to withstand an approximately three foot fall on a raised wooden surface. Now that these timepieces are much older, their parts may be rare, costly, or not readily available to replace. Though a watch may appear completely intact after a drop or bang, damage may be much more extensive internally. Even a slight bang can cause serious damage if impact occurs at the right angle. Shock resistance technologies, which typically hold the balance wheel via spring suspension, have only gotten better with time.

What does the term "triple signed" mean?

When we mention in our descriptions that a watch is "Triple Signed", we are describing a watch that has been "signed" (i.e., stamped with the name or trademark of its manufacturer) on its movement, case, and dial.  As a general rule, most watches that we sell are "Triple Signed".

"Double signed" or "single signed" refers to a watch that is signed only on the case and movement, or dial, movement, or case alone. During the first half of the 20th Century, it was not uncommon for watch manufacturers to import encased watch dials and movements into the United States and case them in American "contract" cases in order to avoid high tariffs on gold and platinum watch cases made in Switzerland. Although watches with unsigned cases may be original, they typically are not as desirable as factory-cased and factory case signed watches.



[Back to Top]

[Unless otherwise stated, all information has been gleaned from: Kathleen Pritchard’s excellent 2-volume set, Swiss Timepiece Makers 1775-1975, individual brand websites, and of course our own experience in over 40+ years of handling vintage and antique timepieces.]




Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Although not a watchmaker, the sporting goods retailer produced and sold high-quality gear for outdoor pursuits, such as hunting and fishing. As a part of their offering of essential accessories for the sporting man, Abercrombie & Fitch began selling its own collection of wristwatches, manufactured by respected Swiss firms, such as Heuer and Venus.


Agassiz [AG-AH-SEES]

Founded in St. Imier Switzerland in 1876 by Georges Agassiz, who had worked for Longines, but left during its first decade (one filled with financial troubles). Within a few years, the company was winning awards and making complete high quality watches. Its trademark was a fish in an oval. They were imported to the United States by Wittnauer in New York and became a brand of that company.


Alpina [AL-PEE-NA] 

Founded in 1883 by a group of watch and clock makers to collectively align their interests in the purchase and distribution of parts. They soon began to produce high quality movements for export abroad. Production then expanded to Germany in the early 20th century, and watches began to receive the ‘Alpina’ stamp. Within a few decades, Alpina watches were being sold at thousands of retailers worldwide. The company continued to operate successfully until it became a victim of the Swiss “Quartz Crisis” of the 1970’s, however, the brand was relaunched in the early 2000’s.


Angelus [AN-GEE-LUSS] 

Founded in Switzerland in 1891 as “Angelus, Stolz Freres” by Gustave Stolz and his brother Albert Stolz. By the end of the century, they were represented by Wittnauer in New York. They became known for high-grade repeaters, clocks, and chronographs. By the late 1970’s the company had gone out of business, another victim of the Swiss “Quartz Crisis”. The name has since passed through several hands and has been recently revived by a new company. One of their more popular vintage models was the “Angelus Chronodato” which combined a triple-date calendar function which a precision chronograph.


Audemars Piguet [ODD-EH-MAR-PEE-GAY]

Founded in 1875 in Le Brassus by Jules Audemars, who was joined by Edward Piguet six years later. They began by making watches and selling them to other international companies, but were not legally established until 1889. That same year, they began a tradition of annually creating a “grand complication”, which was submitted to the Paris Universal Exhibition. The original founders passed away following the conclusion of World War I, and the company was left to their sons, who continued their tradition of fine watchmaking. Despite difficulties due to the Great Depression and stock market crash of 1929, the firm continued to grow again thanks to a focus on the production of chronograph wristwatches. Following the challenges of WWII, the company began to focus on ultra-thin wristwatches for men and women, while still producing traditionally-styled complicated and high-grade models. By the 1970’s the “Quartz Crisis” had hit the Swiss Watch industry, and the company took a gamble and employed famed watch-designer, Gerald Genta, to create a new kind of steel timepiece. Genta provided the company with an unprecedented, very slim octagonal-shaped wristwatch with an integrated bracelet, and a case made entirely of steel. Though sales were slow at first, the “Royal Oak” soon became Audemars Piguet’s most popular model. Today, the company continues to be a major producer of Swiss luxury timepieces and is considered to be among the upper-echelon of manufacturers.


Benrus [BEN-RUSS]

Founded in 1921 in New York by brothers Oscar, Benjamin, and Ralph Lazarus. “Benrus” combined the first three letters of Benjamin’s first name with the terminal-three letters of his last name. The company typically imported Swiss movements and assembled them in Manhattan, New York and Waterbury, Connecticut. They made many watches in a variety of styles and shapes, and watches were typically priced lower than other competitors. They made many watches for WWII service men and again supplied soldiers in Korea and Vietnam, creating many iconic and rugged tool watches. Ultimately, the company went the way of many other watch companies and filed for bankruptcy during the “Quartz Crisis” of the 1970’s.


Bradley Time Divison

Bradley Time Corp. was a New York based importer of watches to the United States. They focused primarily on novelty watches and watches for children. Typically their watches were low-jeweled or non-jeweled Swiss movements.


Breguet [BREH-GAY]

Founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet in Paris, France. Abraham-Louis Breguet may be the world’s most famous watchmaker to ever live. He made many major horological advancements, and many of the most important heads-of-state were among his clients, including Queen Marie-Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte. Born in Neuchatel in Switzerland in 1747, Breguet moved to Paris and became a watchmaker. Among other inventions, he developed the self-winding movement, the “Breguet” overcoil hairspring, and the tourbillion escapement system. The business continued successfully and remained under family ownership until the late 19th century. It operated continuously, changing owners several times in the 1970’s and 80’s, until it was acquired by its current owner, Swatch Group, in 1999.


Breitling [BRIGHT-LING]

Founded in 1884 in St. Imier by Leon Breitling, the factory focused on complicated watches and chronographs. In the 20th century, they continued to create sporting timers, chronographs, and complex measuring instruments for a variety of functions — but their name did not appear on dials until the late 1920’s. The company then focused production on chronographs, creating a variety of models, including the first two-button chronograph in 1934. In the early 1940s, the company developed the Chronomat model, which featured a tachymeter, pulsometer, and telemeter, which allowed the user to mulltiply and divide with the bezel-calculator. In 1947, the Breitling Watch Corporation of America was created, which combined Breitling with American manufacturer, Wakmann, who distributed Breitling into the 1970s. Together, the newly formed corporation vigorously marketed their products, advertising widely in a range of popular publications. In 1952, the Navitimer was created, a watch which was capable of assisting in many in-flight cockpit calculations for pilots. In the late 1950s, Breitling movements were being manufactured by Valjoux, Venus, and Landeron and then finished/assembled in-house. In the 1960’s Breitling created a new series of wristwatches to appeal to a younger generation, including the models Top Time and the Co-Pilot. In 1969, Breitling, in collaboration with several parters to create the Chronomatic, which housed the newly-developed caliber 11 movement, among the first automatic chronograph movements ever created. However, within another decade, as another victim of the pervasive “Quartz Crisis”, the Breitling facility was forced to close, and the name was sold. In the early 1980’s the name was revived and it successfully continues to this day under private ownership. They continue to be known for their highly popular chronometer and chronograph models inspired by the spirit of aviation.


Bulova [BULL-OH-VAH] 

Originally founded in 1875 as a jewelry store in New York by Joseph Bulova. For the greater part of its history, it operated as a United States importer of Swiss movements and parts, casing them in the United States. It soon became one of the largest producers of watches in the country, manufacturing watches by the millions. In the 1930s, parts production began to shift to the United States, and during WWII, Bulova received defense contracts to produce millions of watches for United States servicemen and women.  In 1960, Bulova released the Accutron, the first “electronic watch”, powered by an electronic circuit, wherein a tuning fork replaced the standard wristwatch balance wheel. The Accutron was accurate to within roughly two seconds per day, far more accurate than other timepieces of the era. Unfortunately for Bulova, by the end of the decade, Seiko was able to mass-produce an inexpensive and more accurate quart movement. In 1967 Bulova purchased and held the esteemed watch company Universal Geneve, which it kept operational for a decade, until it was forced to sell it to a group of investors. Bulova began to experience major financial setbacks in the mid-to-late 1970’s and eventually became a subsidiary of the Loews corporation. It was ultimately purchased by Citizen in 2008.


C. H. Meylan [C-H-MAY-LAAN]

Founded in 1880 by Charles Henri Meylan at Le Brassus in the Vallee de Joux. Charles Henri Meylan was a horological inventor and received many patents in the United States, collaborating with Waltham. He made many very high-grade wristwatches, comparable to those produced by the finest Swiss watch companies, and won the 1894 First Prize at the Geneva Observatory for timing. They continued producing a variety of high-grade wristwatches for many decades, creating everything from simple time-only watches to complicated chronographs and repeaters. In 1966, C.H. Meylan became a brand name of Baume & Mercier.


Cartier [CAR-TEE-EH]

Founded in 1847 in Paris by Louis-François Cartier as a jewelry store, they designed watches and clocks which were then made for them by other manufacturers. As a son of the original founder, Louis Cartier created several designs for wristwatches which did much to establish the brand’s fame. The Santos and the Tank models, the former created in 1904 and the latter in 1917, were among the first and most iconic wristwatch designs ever produced. These were largely manufactured by the European Watch and Clock Co. (an early formation of Jaeger-LeCoultre). Later, Cartier watches would be made by Tavannes, Wittnauer, Longines, Universal, Patek Philippe, Movado, and ETA. The company remained under family control until 1964, and is currently owned by the Richemont Group.


Certina [SER-TEE-NA]

Founded in 1888 by Adolf and Alfred Kurth in Grenchen, Switzerland. The brothers won several gold metals for their timepieces in the first decades of the 20th century. They produced wristwatches and movements for other watch companies. It wasn’t until the middle of the century that the name Certina began to be associated with Kurth-produced wristwatches, which they began to export internationally. For a couple of decades, Certina began to expand dramatically, until the “Quartz Crisis” crippled the Swiss watch industry, and Certina with it. Starting in the 1970’s, Certina merged with other manufacturers, ultimately joining with Swatch Group in 1983.


Concord [CON-CORD]

Founded in 1908, the company specialized in innovative designs, its first watch was an ultra-thin pocket watch. In WWIm the Swiss Army wore Concord wristwatches. These were notable for a steel case, an unusual metal for wristwatches. Simultaneously, Concord began importing and wholesaling watches in the United States, including renowned brands such as Eterna and Ulysse Nardin. In 1972, Concord was purchased by the North American Watch Corporation, which imported the brand into the United States. Concord watches continued to be extremely popular, with models retailed by high-end jewelers like Tiffany & Co.. In 1979, Concord introduced the thinnest watch in the world at a thickness of .98mm. In 1996, Concord’s owner, the North American Watch Corporation, changed its name to Movado Group, and it remains a luxury brand in its parent company’s stable.


Consul [CON-SUL]

Founded in the year 1900 as F. Huguenin, the firm was later acquired by the company Charles Virchaux. Charles Virchaux exhibited a watch called the “Consul de luxe” at Basel in 1949, and the brand became associated with the name Consul. The brand had close ties with Girard-Perregaux, and was later acquired by that company, but the name has since changed hands numerous times.


Cyma [SEE-MAH] 

Founded in 1862 as Schwob Freres, the company went through many transitions and eventually became associated with a conglomeration of watch companies, started by watchmaker Henri Sandoz, called Tavannes, in 1891. Tavannes became an extremely large and important factory within the watch industry, and by the 1910’s, Cyma was listed as one of Tavannes’ brands. The Schwob brothers chose the name “Cyma” for their watches, deriving it from the French word for “summit” and the latin word for “a shoot”. Eventually Cyma and Tavannes became separate but affiliated brands. Cyma is currently owned by a Hong Kong-based holding firm, and still produces watches in Switzerland under their own name.



Founded in 1889 by Deorges Ducommun. Within the first two decades of operation, the company had won several prizes in Europe and a patent in the United States. Doxa is derived from the ancient greek word for “glory”. Doxa advertised frequently and with great creativity in the first decades of the 20th Century, exhibiting a concern for keeping with avant-garde artistic trends. Although Doxa produce men’s and women’s wristwatches in a variety of styles, they eventually came to be associated with quality dive watches, used by various military forces and even the Jacques Cousteau dive team. Like many other brands, Doxa was unable to survive the Swiss Quartz Crisis, and was forced to shut its doors in 1978. Doxa was revitalized in the early 2000’s and currently makes a range of wristwatches in Switzerland, many are throwbacks to their most storied models.


Eberhard [EB-ERR-HARD]

Founded in 1887 by Georges Eberhard in La Chau-de-Fonds. The company soon became known for its complicated men’s wristwatches, particularly chronographs, and were responsible for a number of innovations. Still, the company did not advertise as frequently as its competitors, and struggled financially in several periods. Eberhard continues to make wristwatches in Switzerland to this day.


Ebel [E-BELL]

Founded in 1911 by Eugene Blum, “Ebel” was an abbreviation of “Eugene Blum et Levy”, or his first and last name, joined with his wife’s maiden name, Levy. The factory began as an assembly plant, where contracted cases and movements would be finished and cased. The company became very successful in its efforts and was soon winning prizes and exporting timepieces internationally. In the 1990’s the original family sold its stake in Ebel, and ownership of the company has since passed between several luxury houses. It is currently owned by the Movado Group.


Elgin [ELL-JIN]

Founded in 1864 in Chicago, Illinois by a group of individuals, including the then-mayor of the city. A factory was erected in Elgin, Illinois, but for its first decade the company was actually known as the National Watch Company. The company quickly became a major American watch manufacturer. Starting in the 1950’s, the company began to import Swiss movements for some of their wristwatches, and by the late 60’s, all United States production had ceased. The Elgin name was sold several times and is no longer associated with the original company.


Enicar [EN-E-CAR]

Founded in 1913/1914 by Ariste Racine, who with “Enicar” reversed the letters in his name in order to differentiate his company from an already registered “Racine” brand. They made men’s and women’s watches which were soon exported internationally. Particularly popular was a wristwatch with a compass embedded in the case; these did well with soldiers during WWI. The Enicar brand gradually came to focus on sports watches geared toward active persons. Following a Swiss expeditions in the Himalayas in 1956, wherein mountaineers were supplied with Enicar wristwatches, the company created a new line of “Sherpa” wristwatches, marketed toward would-be explorers and adventurers. The following year, an Enicar wristwatch was attached to the rudder of a seafaring vessel which crossed the Atlantic, the Mayflower II. It’s superb performance under these conditions led to the release of a new line of dive-watches. Such marketing techniques were helpful, and Enicar found success particularly in the Asian market.


Ernest Borel [EARN-EST BORE-ELL]

Founded in 1859 by Jules Borel with his sister’s husband, Paul Courvoisier. The two started a workshop where they began to assemble and complete watches with parts from an array of manufacturers. They soon moved to a factory where they focused on creating wristwatches with Observatory-quality precision to meet the requirements of an increasingly demanding market. Before long, the company began to win many Observatory prizes and medals at various international exhibitions. They expanded export successfully to multiple international markets, including South America and the Far East. By the end of the 19th Century, Paul Courvoisier was forced to retire due to ill health, and Jules Borel brought his son Ernest into the company. In 1899, following the death of Jules Borel, the company was renamed Ernest Borel & Cie. Ernest Borel then managed the company successfully until 1936, when he was succeeded by his son, Jean Louis Borel. The firm focused on chronometers, cocktail watches, and a variety of complications including calendars and chronographs. By the 1970s, the company attempted to compete with the new wave of Quartz timepieces and introduced its own battery-powered wristwatches. In 1975, Ernest Borel joined the CYMA group, and in 1978, it was acquired by Aubry Freres SA. The brand has since been relaunched and caters especially to the Chinese luxury watch market.


Esef Watch Co. [ESS-EFF]

Founded in the late 1880’s as Steiner Freres, they began manufacturing watches under the name Esef in the 1920’s, and focused on men’s and ladies jeweled wristwatches.


Eterna [EE-TER-NA] (and ETA)

 Founded by Urs Schild-Rust and Dr. Joseph Girard as Girard & Schild in Gretchen in 1856. The factory focused on producing ébauches (unassembled movements) for other watch manufacturers. Dr. Girard retired in 1866 and Urs Schild took full control. The company grew with the Industrial Revolution, and steam and hydraulic power technologies were added to the facility as it expanded to incorporate a larger workforce. By the late 1870’s, the firm of Girard & Schild were producing complete watches (including cases), and Mr. Schild had become an important Swiss citizen and a member of parliament. In 1888, Urs Schild died and the company was inherited by his sons. They continued to receive many Swiss patents and in 1905 they registered the name Eterna, and the name of the company was officially changed to Eterna SA in 1906. Within a few years, Eterna received a Swiss patent for an alarm wristwatch. The business greatly expanded under the leadership of Urs Schild’s son, Theodore Schild. In the 1910’s, Eterna watches were imported to the United States by several distributors, but by 1924, Eterna was importing watches themselves. The company advertised through several channels and was very successful. In 1929 the Great Depression occurred and the Swiss watch industry was of course impacted. A group of Swiss ébauche manufacturers was forming a new organization called Ébauches SA to protect industry interests. Because Eterna supplied ébauches to the industry and also assembled its own complete watches, Theodore made the decision in 1932 to split the company into two separate organizations: Eterna, the watch assembler, and ETA, the ébauche manufacturer. That same year, Theodore retired and passed ownership on to his nephew, Rudolph Schild, though he would remain a board member of Eterna until his death in 1950. Rudolph immediately began his mission of internationally expanding Eterna’s market share and finding new importers for his watches. They also continued to grow and expand their production facilities. In 1948, Eterna introduced the “Eterna-matic” automatic wristwatch movement, which used five ballbearings to power the automatic rotor and to reduce internal wear and friction. These watches were so popular that these five ball bearings, symbolized as a formation of stars, was adopted as Eterna’s new corporate logo. The company operated successfully into the 60’s, but like the rest of the industry, faced hardship during the “Quartz Crisis” of the 1970’s. The company was sold several times. In the 1990’s they made watches with Porsche Design and they continue to make wristwatches in Gretchen today. Meanwhile, ETA, the movement-making firm spawned from Eterna in 1932, went on to dominate the Swiss watchmaking industry through a series of mergers and acquisitions. ETA is now the largest Swiss movement manufacturer and is a subsidiary of Swatch Group.


Gallet [GAL-LAY]

Though the company currently dates its origin to family patriarch and clockmaker Humbertus Gallet’s becoming a Genevan citizen in 1466, the modern company was officially founded when the name “Gallet & Cie” was registered in 1826 by Julien Gallet. The company was later taken over by his two sons. By the middle of the 19th Century, a relationship was established with the Jules Racine import firm in the United States, which continued well into the latter half of the 20th Century. By the end of the 19th Century, the Gallet men had become large social figures in the community of La Chaux de Fonds, and the company began to win a number of exhibition and observatory prizes for their chronometers. They gradually became known for their innovative and superlative chronographs. The Gallet Clamshell series were the first water resistant chronographs, produced between 1936 and 1951, incorporating new design features, such as rubber gaskets in the chronograph pushers and a screw-down case back. This technology was important in popularizing the wrist chronograph. In response to shifting societal changes and the outbreak of World War II, in 1939 Gallet introduced a ladies chronograph wristwatch, which was the smallest to date. Through defense contracts, Gallet survived the turbulence of the middle of the 20th century, manufacturing tool watches and chronographs for various militaries. Following the war era, Gallet designs also proved popular with the civilian market. However, with the Swiss “Quartz Crisis” of the 1970s, as consumer tastes moved toward less expensive digital timepieces, Gallet again survived by relying upon defense contracts and supplying tool watches.


Girard-Perregaux [GIRR-ARD PEAR-EH-GO]

The firm today dates itself to Jean-Francois Bautte’s workshop, a watchmaker who began signing his creations in 1791, however this firm was only purchased by Girard-Perregaux in 1906. In 1845, Constant Girard with his partner C. Robert, founded Girard & Robert in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. In 1850 Girard continued without Robert, and the firm became known as Constant Girard. When Girard married in 1854, he followed the swiss custom of taking his wife’s surname, hyphenated with his own, also renaming his firm as Girard-Perregaux. He was passionate about precision watchmaking, and developed a tourbillon movement which won a gold medal in 1867 at the Paris Exhibition. Concurrent to the development of this watch, he also served in local government. The business was also expanding, and watches were internationally exported in large numbers, as far as Buenos Aires. In 1879, German Kaiser Wilhelm I visited the Berlin Trade Fair and noticed innovative wristwatches produced by Girard-Perregaux. The German navy, headed by Otto von Bismarck, awarded a contract to Girard-Perregaux to produce wristwatches for their naval officers, which at the time was a supremely novel decision — this was the first time soldiers had ever worn such timepieces. The company continued to thrive and win many patents and awards at exhibition in the final decades of the 19th Century. In 1903, Constant Girard-Perregaux died, and was succeeded by his son, Maurice Girard-Gallet. In 1965, Girard-Perregaux founded a research laboratory for quartz technology. In 1966, Girard-Perregaux introduced a high frequency wristwatch to the general public, beating at 36,000 oscillations each hour. In 1971, Girard Perregaux produced a quartz wristwatch which operated at a much higher frequency than other quartz watches on the market, and this became the industry standard for decades. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the company produced a series of high-grade Tourbillion and transitioned into the realm of “haute horology”.


Glycine [GLY-SEEN]

Founded by Eugene Meylan in 1914 in Bienne, Switzerland. Glycine focused on the production of high grade ladies watches before reconcentrating efforts on the production of high grade sporting and military chronographs.


Gruen [GROO-EN]

[History Coming Soon]



Swiss jeweler. 

[History Coming Soon]


H. Moser & Cie

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



 [History Coming Soon]


International Watch Company (IWC)

Founded as the only manufacture in north-east Switzerland by an American, Florentine Ariosto Jones, IWC was in many ways an anomaly. Jones was a watchmaker who enlisted to fight for the Union in America’s Civil War, and returned home to resume his duties on the watchmaker’s bench. Engaged with the idea of using automatic machinery to assist in the Swiss watchmaking process to sell in the United States, Jones went to Switzerland in 1868 in an attempt to gain investment and open a factory. His ideas were generally poorly received by a Swiss watchmaking community who preferred the typical individually-owned shop system. Henri Moser, a Swiss watchmaker from Schaffhausen opened several workshops to make silver watch cases on contract. Over a ten year period, he managed to convince the local authorities to build a dam in Schaffhausen in order to harness the power of the Rhine river. This idea proved very successful, and his workshops had more power than they knew what to do with. Moser then met with Jones, who within one year had secured both Swiss citizenship and the rights to open a watch business in Schaffhausen. Jones met with many difficulties due to the remoteness of this city from the rest of watchmaking Switzerland. There was no easy supply of labor, parts took a long time to travel across country, and he had to fabricate machinery himself. It took several years and much searching for adequate financing before Jones’ factory began producing watches. Through automation, Jones could soon outproduce the very limited single-owner workshop system, and investors came flocking. Though Jones promised them an initial output of ten thousand pieces, the factory could produce only half of this amount, and his investors grew angered. To cap this off, even though the American Civil War was long over, the import taxes on foreign watches entering the United States was still twenty-five percent, a number which everyone thought would drop much sooner. Jones’ watches could not compete on price in the American market. Now that he had spent all of the investors money, he found he had no profits to reimburse them with. In 1876, he disappeared from Switzerland and returned to the United States where he lived out the remainder of his life. The company had produced several thousand fewer watches than promised to shareholders. Nonetheless, the watches produced were of good quality and represented a mix of American and Swiss watchmaking practices. The company was liquidated and the chief creditor, the Rauschenbach family, came to acquire it. They came to find that the name “International Watch Company”, due to the quality of the product, was so well regarded among consumers that there was value in keeping it. A watchmaking school was soon established within the factory to train workers, and this program became highly successful in providing a pool of highly trained craftsmen. In 1905 the company was inherited by five persons (one of them was the wife of the famed psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung), and Ernest Jakob Homberger took over direction of the company. Homberger carried the company through the first World War, and had to face the realities of losing the Russian market following the Bolshevik revolution, but the hardest challenges were following the Great Depression and ensuing international economic devastation. It was at this time that Homberger received sole ownership of the company, and under his direction, IWC pulled through the challenges of a Europe again at war. IWC began the first production of its famous pilots watches, featuring anti-magnetic technologies, in the rearming climate of 1936. In 1939, two Portuguese businessmen placed an order for wristwatches with the accuracy of a marine chronometer — then only achievable by converting a more accurate pocket watch movement and re-casing it into a wristwatch. These large wristwatches were the launch of the “Portugeiser” series of wristwatches, which would much later go on to become one of the company’s best-selling models. In 1946, IWC developed the soon-to-be-renowned caliber 89 movement, a caliber which would go into some of its most famous models, and continued to be used (due to its reliability and durability) for multiple decades. In 1955, Ernest Jakob Homberger died, and control of the company went to his son, Hans Ernst Homberger. The same year, IWC’s series of anti-magnetic watches designed for those engaged in scientific pursuits, the “Ingenieur”, was launched with an automatic movement. As with the rest of the industry, IWC was forced to deal with the upheavals of the Swiss “Quartz” crisis, but survived to be a strong brand into the present day, though it has been sold and traded between several holding groups.


J.W. Benson

[History Coming Soon]


Jaeger LeCoultre

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]


L Leroy

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



 [History Coming Soon]


Lucien Piccard 

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]


Patek Philippe

[History Coming Soon]


Paul Breguette

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]


Pierre Cardin

[History Coming Soon]


Record Watch Co.

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]


Shreve & Co.

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]


T.W. Long & Co.

[History Coming Soon]


Tag Heuer

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]


Tiffany & Co. 

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]


Ulysses Nardin

[History Coming Soon]


Universal Geneve

[History Coming Soon]


Vacheron Constantin

[History Coming Soon]


Van Clef & Arpels 

[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]



[History Coming Soon]

Second Time Around Watch Company | main ::310-271.6615 | toll free ::800-977.7615 | fax ::310-271.1473