The Legendary UNITAS 6497

The Legendary UNITAS 6497

Monday, November 23, 2009

ETA 2390

There is no brand name here. I suppose it is a prototype. Taken away out of factory once it was finished ?. Some facts : Manual winding, 21 jewels, ETA 2390 Swiss made signed movement, waterprotected, stainless steel and antimagnetic. Case width inclusive crown is 35 mm and 40mm from lug to lug. For sale RM 220.


The Slava 2428 Movement Caliber an interesting feature: two mainsprings instead of only one. It's interesting to note that this is also a mechanical feature of the Lange & Sohne watches; Quick date change calendar. Double Day & Date calendar. This watch made in USSR. Nice pearl dial with gold tone hands. On the dial inscriptions: 'SLAVA', '26 Jewels', 'MADE IN USSR'. The case is chrome plated.

Date prodced : 1970s
2428 Movement Caliber
26 Ruby Jewels
Mechanical, Manual winding-up
Central trotting seconds hand
Double Day & Date calendar
Diameter Movement: 24 mm;
Heights of mechanism - 4,85 mm
Periods of balance fluctuations 0,4 sec
Case size (without crown): 38 mm x 44 mm. Thickness 10 mm
Diameter Dial: 33 mm
Shockproof balance
Stainless steel back
Wristband size: 18 mm

Friday, November 20, 2009


I like the dial. It is simple and classic look. Some facts about this watch : produced somewhere in the 50's. Using ZIM 2602 caliber, mechanical, manual winding,15 Rubies, sub seconds, chrome case, size 33 x 40 and wristband size is 18 mm. For sale RM 220.

Sold to Mr Shah.

Pobeda Movement - by Andrew Babanin

The history of watchmaking in Russia is not very long. Before the October revolution Russia had to assemble watches from ready parts, imported from Switzerland. It was more profitable to assemble watches in Russia because of tax barriers. For example you pay 4,5 roubles for ready watch or even 6 roubles for the same watch in gold case. And you pay about 0,75 rouble for enormous qty of spare parts. Most famous brands of that period were Henry Mozer, Pavel Bure, Victor Gabu, Freimuth, Kiseleff, Telefon. Some local workshops produced wallclocks and alarm clocks. Nobody even thought about watchmaking formation in tzar Russia.

After the 1917 revolution, the whole watch industry became a part of the ‘Trust of Precision Mechanics’. They were watch enterprises, work shops, warehouses of watch parts and half-finished products which belonged to famous manufacturers, mentioned before. The first time the Soviets assembled watches from the spare parts, left in Russia after the revolution - there were Longines, Zenit, Omega, HM etc.

But to 1926 all warehouses were out of spare parts. Only in 1927th there was a decision to start watch producing in Russia. First Soviet watch had been manufactured in 1930. Primarily Russia used foreign bimetallic balance wheels, bouchons, screws. Then the Soviets began producing their own jewels and balances. I won't say it was a perfect quality - but it was fully made in Russia! This movement (pocket one) came up to WW2.

To start production, the four types of watches were chosen: a man's pocket watch with 15 jewels for the enterprises of the Narkomat (Ministry) of Means of Communications, a man's wrist-watch with 7 jewels for the Red Army; a man's pocket watch with 7 jewels and a ladies' wrist-watch with 15 jewels to sell in a market. For the prototype there had been chosen a French "Lip" movement R43 (43 mm in diameter).

In December, 1941 the most part of equipment and personnel was displaced to Zlatoust in Chelyabinsk region. Until nowadays it produces some stopwatches and AChS-11(AChS (aviation clock) - a chronograph with a second timer and with the movement of a flight time meter. Run duration by one wind up of the spring is 120 hours. Operative temperature range –60oC to +50oC. Produced in different variations from 1933), the modernized 1st MWF pre-war production. Then in 1942 another factory was evacuated in Chistopol. It was incipience of "Vostok" factory. Most of this equipment had left after the war in Chistopol. During the World War Two evacuated the plant stopped producing watches and worked for military aims. After the WW2 there were enough machinery and (more important) many watch specialists to found Chistopol watch plant with "Vostok" trade mark.

According to the agreement (reparations) after the WW2 Russia had got from Germany some equipment, tools, etc. Glashutte factories had lost almost all machinery. It was quite new equipment, so the Russians were able to produce modern movements of that time, using high class of finishing. The 1st Moscow Watch Factory (now Poljot) started producing K-26 ("Pobeda") in 1946. The "Pobeda" movement is based on the well known for us "Lip" R26. It's a VERY reliable movement. Many of them work for 40-50 years! Recently there was a joke among Russian watchmakers: You shouldn't clean "Pobeda" not to spoil a structure of dirt.

The first time "Pobeda" had been manufactured only at the 1st Moscow Watch Factory (1947-1953). Then it started producing more modern watches and displaced "Pobeda" to other factories. There were "Vostok", the 2nd Moscow Watch Factory, ZIM (Zavod Imeni Maslenikova - a watch factory in Samara) and "Raketa". Every manufacture had some changes with the movement. Vostok added calendar and two cap jewels to escape wheel, besides it began producing movements with Incabloc protection. "Raketa" started later, I'd never met "Raketas" with a calendar, but they added to the original movement a central jewel. ZIM produced the cheapest variant of base movement.

It can be funny, but nowadays "Pobeda" is still under production. I do not have any info what plant makes it (Maybe ZIM). The Chinese look like finishing and original design (15 jewels, no central jewel, no shock absorbing device) won't make any pleasure.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Short Risalah 4 - The Famous Unitas 6497

In 1898, Auguste Reymond established his watch company, Manufacture Auguste Reymond in the small town of Tramelan in the center of the Jura Mountain region of Switzerland. He also began to manufacture movement blanks, or ebauches, in 1906. Reymond later gave the name of these ebauches UNITAS, after the UNITAS Watch Company he acquired in 1926. The Depression precipitated by the American Stock Market crash of the late 1920s and early 1930s was felt throughout Europe. The Depression had a profound effect on the Swiss watch industry and August Reymond S.A. did not go unscathed. Sales of his watches plumeted and Reymond was forced to sell his company to a group of investors who managed to keep the company financially viable.

Fortunately, Ebauches SA had been formed in 1926 in Neuchatel as a holding company that brought together Switzerland's largest ebauche firms, which included Valjoux S.A., ETA S.A., Felsa S.A., Venus S.A. and others. Fabrique d'Ebauches Unitas S.A. joined this confederation in 1932. Ebauches SA proved vital to the survival of the ebauche industry in Switzerland. Naturally, Reymond did not make Unitas movements for his watches only, but sold them to other watch manufacturers in Switzerland, just as other ebauche manufacturers did. This helped the company's financial bottom line.

His watch firm's complete name, Auguste Reymond, S.A. was the source of the name for his watches, the acronym ARSA. Reymond also manufactured watches under the UNITAS name. Each Swiss ebauche is stamped with its own unique symbol to identify the manufacturer. The Swiss adopted a stylized shield, within which the ebauche manufacturer would place a letter or letters, or a symbol. The UNITAS stamp used the letter U with a T within, placed within the shield outline (above photo). The caliber number was also stamped on the ebauche.

ARSA pocket and wristwatches and UNITAS wristwatches were coveted for their accuracy and appreciated for their affordability and style. Over the course of the 20th century, many travelers to Switzerland who owned these watches would travel by train to Tramelan to see the Manufacture Auguste Reymond and perhaps peer into the workshops to see the master watchmakers at work.

In the early 1930s, the Incabloc® movement shock absorber was developed, and it revolutionized movement durability and maintaining accuracy. It was adopted by virtually all Swiss movement manufacturers. It has been refined over the decades since and is the premier method of protecting Swiss watches from severe shock. UNITAS incorporated the Incabloc® system in their movements. Among them is the UNITAS 6497 and 6498 pocketwatch movements designed in the 1950s. The 6497 and 6498 calibers became regarded as among the best pocketwatch movements ever designed for their ruggedness and accuracy.

Along with the UNITAS 6497 and 6498 movements, the company also developed braille wrist and pocket watches for the blind, and a line of "jumping hours" watches with unique hour indication on the dial which were also developed during the 1950s. The fifties, sixties and seventies were the golden decades of Swiss watchmaking when the industry experienced unprecedented prosperity. The August Reymond S.A. building had become landmark in Tramelan and one of the largest employers in the town. However, a technological revolution was brewing that would shake the Swiss watch industry to its foundations.

When SMH was formed in 1983, Ebauches SA became ETA SA Fabriques d'Ebauches. This proved vital to the survival of the watch industry with the onslaught of the quartz revolution in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Auguste Reymond S.A. however, did not survive the arrival of inexpensive and highly accurate quartz movements. Sales of mechanical watches plunged while watches with quartz movements soared. The company had to be liquidated and its assets sold off. The tools and related equipment for the UNITAS 6497 and 6498 pocket watch movements were acquired by ETA. With the consolidation of the Swiss watch industry during this tumultuous period, many smaller watch companies closed their doors, unable to compete with inexpensive Japanese quartz movements. When Ebauches S.A. absorbed Unitas, Valljoux and other manufacturers within ETA S.A, many of the original ebauche names and calibre numbers were retained. That is why today, the UNITAS 6497 and 6498 calibers and the Valljoux 7750 and 7751 calibers manufactured by ETA still carry the name and caliber number of the original ebauche manufacturer.

Fortunately, James Choffat, a former manager of the company, managed to purchase much of the company's parts, movements, tools and equipment in an effort to keep the Auguste Reymond name alive. It was no longer feasible for the surviving company to remain in the same building it had occupied since 1910. Manufacturer Auguste Reymond moved from its original building to a smaller, more modern building in Tramelan and in 1989 the company was purchased by Nitella S.A. another watch factory in Tramelan. Today, it is under the direction of Thomas Loosli. Many of the newer models in the Auguste Reymond catalog are his designs.

The UNITAS 6497 is experiencing a resurgence today as a movement for wristwatches. At a whopping 16.5 ligne, it requires a massive case--just the thing for those wanting a manly watch. Both the UNITAS 6497 and 6498 movements remain the premier movements for mechanical pocket watches. A couple of years ago, Auguste Reymond began to offer a limited edition series of wristwatches, using original, new old stock UNITAS movements that have been, in the words from their current catalog, "...thoroughly restaured, redecorated and individually numbered." The limited edition model for 1999 was the Ballad, using the UNITAS 6580 hand-wound movement manufactured in the 1960s with date at three oclock and small second hand at six oclock. The Ballad features a rectangular, sculpted case with round saphire caseback so the beautiful 17 jewel movement can be seen. Production was limited to 999 pieces. The creativity and quality of August Reymond pocket watches and wristwatches will ensure this company will be around well into this new millennium.


Keeping excellent time !!! A well known brand name. Retro,big and bulky 80's design. It is 25 jewels, automatic and keeping time. Comes with 20mm leather band. Keeping perfect time.
Refer to their website .


This is another eye catching classic. Aged well. Looking at the lugs, I suppose it was made somewhere in the 50's. I am impressed by the design. Dial is original with very light copperish colour.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


This is a late 1960's model. Produced by First Moscow Watch Factory. It is wide and big size. It works fine and in excellent working condition. Other spelling could be Zarya or Zarja, is one of the oldest Russian watches. It means Dawn in English. Translated from "3apr in Cyrillic".Unlike other Russian manufacturers, Zarja use alloy cases. That is why it is light. Swiss made cases are made of argentam. Most of the models are for women, only a little are made for men.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Short Risalah 3 - Quartz or not to Quartz


A potential wristwatch collector should know that wristwatches sold nowadays are powered either by a mechanical movement or a battery. The former is referred to as a "mechanical watch" (with either an automatic or manual winding mechanism) and the latter is simply called "a quartz". There is a class of watches powered by "kinetic energy" and they will be discussed later.
Mechanical wristwatches made an appearance in the late 1700s and Queen Elizabeth I was known to wear one decorated with precious jewels. By 1928 mechanical wristwatches were outselling pocket watches.
Of course, all early wristwatches had a mechanical movement but a dramatic change occurred in 1957 when Hamilton (an American watch company) replaced the mainspring of the watch with a battery that lasted well over a year. in 1960, Bulova (another American company) made its Accutron model with an exclusive tuning fork system that was powered by a battery. Nine years later, Seiko launched its first quartz watch, the Astron 35SQ which was claimed to be the most accurate watch in the world. Timex of England followed with their quartz model, the Electric. These examples show briefly the early development of quartz technology in watches.
The 1980s saw the Japanese flooding the world with cheap quartz watches and this marked the beginning of the quartz era. With quartz technology, wristwatches are much easier to make than mechanical watches and they could be mass produced on assembly lines. This made watchmaking cheap and profitable and many new companies (including unscrupulous ones with no experience in watchmaking) jumped on the time bandwagon.
The Swiss, whose name is synonymous with watchmaking, were too much bound by tradition to be able to accept quickly the concept of a battery powered watch, consisting of a mere electrical circuit and a mundane case assembled on impersonal production lines. To them the quartz was a pariah.
They were slow to react to the Japanese onslaught but they eventually came up with a savvy answer in the form of Swatch, which we will discuss in detail in a future article. Many famous Swiss watchmaking houses also started to include a line of quartz watches in their catalogues. Names like Rolex and Patek Philippe were the early ones to have quartz watches to offer their customers but there were still a few Swiss watchmakers who looked at quartz with disdain. The famous house of Blancpain advertised as follows. "Since 1735 there has never been a quartz Blancpain watch. And there never will be. Another established Swiss watchmaker, Oris, makes only mechanical watches and advertises this fact.
However, cheaper production methods created by advances in technology are hard to resist and of the 40.1 million watches exported from Switzerland in 1992, 87.8 per cent of them were quartz.
Therefore, what should the answer be to the intending watch collector? To quartz or not to quartz?
I have learnt not to be fond of those battery operated watches unless they are of the cheap variety like those made by Swatch. After all, quartz technology has enabled watchmakers to produce cheap quartz watches and some are sold for less than RM10 each.
If you intend to buy an expensive watch, you should opt for a mechanical watch consisting of traditional mechanical parts assembled by skilled craftsmen rather than a quartz with an innocuous circuit board, step motor, resonator and a battery of unknown parentage mated together by robots on an assembly line. If you open up a quartz watch and look inside, you will know what I mean.
While the various movements of a mechanical watch are time tested and their designs well-known to collectors, the quartz movement remains a mystery. When one buys an expensive quartz wristwatch, there is no way of telling whether it has an expensive quartz movement or a cheap one. All that the quartz circuit maker will say is that the movement is "very advanced and accurate" etc and no technical details or circuit plans are disclosed.
Defenders of quartz will say that constant R & D has improved the quartz movement tremendously and batteries are now fail safe (non-leak) and that some last almost 10 years. Cartier is one upmarket watchmaker which believes in quartz and its latest quartz called 202P, is a very much improved version of its first generation quartz movement. This is used in the latest editions of the Cartier Pasha, Santos, Panthere and Diabolo.
Rolex has a quartz, the Oysterquartz Day-Date Chronometer in 18-carat gold (with bezel, dial and bracelet set in diamonds) that carries a list price of RM131,083. Patek Philippe's Nautilus with quartz movements are also very upmarket and expensive watches. The Audemars Piquet Royal Oak Championship (dedicated to Nick Faldo) is a limited edition of just 500 watches and it is available only in quartz.
However, the BIG question remains. Can a quartz watch last as long as a mechanical one? My personal experience says "NO". I bought a Cartier Santos in 1981 for RM2700 and the quartz movement lasted only 5 years. The entire quartz circuit was replaced in 1986 for RM480. Another Cartier (a ladies model) bought in 1982 for RM1300 lasted only 4 years and the entire quartz movement had to be changed twice by the agents in Singapore before the watch could be put right. A Seiko "calculator watch" bought in 1980 for RM900 was declared a write-off a year later due to a faulty battery that leaked into the quartz circuit thus ruining it.
These three cases involved the early 1st generation quartz movements but I still think that quartz technology has a long way to go and the search for the perfect battery has yet to end. The watch with the mechanical movement will always remain the favourite of watch collectors. True collectors choose an item for its beauty, function and history. The making of a mechanical watch is an art by itself, from the making of the various mechanical parts to its assembly by skilled craftsmen. Many mechanical wristwatches continue to be reliable timepieces today despite having gone through decades of use.
A quartz movement is no feast for the eyes but take a look at the Patek Philippe Minute Repeater or any other complicated watches and it is to behold true beauty. Even an ordinary mechanical movement (ETA) is pleasing to look at.
Here is a story of one of my favourite watches in my collection, a mechanical timepiece made by Vacheron Constantin. I bought this watch in Zurich in 1974 and paid a small ransom for it. At that time this watch was billed as the "thinnest automatic watch in the world". I saw the watch while passing a shop window and at once, I knew I had to buy it. It was one of the most exquisite timepieces I have ever seen and owned.
I was advised that the watch should be sent back to the factory in Switzerland for servicing every two years and I did that diligently until 1990. Sometime in mid 1990, I found that the watch was running fast and I happened to be in Singapore. I took it to a shop in Lucky Plaza which had a sign to say they were authorised agents for Vacheron Constantin. They opened the watch to do the adjustments but the result was worse, the watch ran even faster. No matter what they did for the next few hours, they could not put it right.
They then contacted the main agents in Singapore who told them that my watch should only be opened and serviced in the factory in Switzerland due to the special caliber 838 movement used. The watch was then sent back to Switzerland and it came back after two months running perfectly. There was no charge for the work as they acknowledged the problem was caused by one of their sub-agent's ignorance. The company wrote me an apology and the letter also stated that the person who re-assembled my watch was the same craftsman who assembled it in 1974. I don't suppose a quartz watch will give you this kind of experience.
Remember that time is measured by fine caliber movements and not by a leaking battery.

(This article was first published in the July 1993 issue of Asian Auto, Malaysia's leading motoring magazine)

my comment: I must believe , this is authentic

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Short Risalah 2 - C.O.S.C.

C.O.S.C. - contrĂ´le officiel suisse des chronometres
The C.O.S.C. is a non-profit association. It was created by five watchmaking cantons (Bern, Geneva, Neuchatel, Solothurn and Vaud) as well as the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry in 1973. It encompasses the laboratories that had been established independently of each other from the late 19th century onwards.
A chronometer is a timekeeper precise enough to be used as a portable time standard, usually in order to determine longitude by means of celestial navigation. In the world of watches, the term is also attached to those tested and certified to meet certain precision standards. In Switzerland, only timepieces certified by the C.O.S.C. can use the word "Chronometer" on them.

C.O.S.C. measurement methods:
Only the movement is tested and the tests bear absolutely no relation to a simulation of watch behaviour and performance when worn.
The test is divided into 16 days, 24-hour periods. The watch is tested in 5 positions and at 3 temperatures.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Short Risalah 1 - Tourbillon

A tourbillon, "whirlwind" in French, a type of mechanical clock or watch escapement, was invented in 1795 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. It is designed to counter the effects of gravity and other perturbing forces on the balance wheel, the balance spring and the escapement that can affect the accuracy of a chronometer. This is accomplished by mounting the escapement in a rotating frame, so that the effect of gravity cancels out when the escapement is rotated 180°. The effects of gravity were particularly problematic when pocketwatches were carried in the same position for most of the day. In a tourbillon, the entire escapement assembly rotates, including balance wheel, escape wheel, and pallet fork (anchor). The rate of rotation varies per design but has generally become standardized at one rotation per minute.

The tourbillon is considered to be one of the most challenging of watch mechanisms to make and is valued for its engineering and design principles. In modern watch designs, a tourbillon is not required to produce a highly accurate timepiece because wristwatches are by nature in a constantly changing position when worn. Nevertheless, the tourbillon is one of the most valued complications of collector's watches and premium timepieces. In fact, modern implementations typically allow the tourbillon to be seen through a window in the watch face. In addition to enhancing the charm of the piece, the tourbillon acts as a second hand as it rotates once per minute.