Friday, April 25, 2008

Vintage Wittnauer Mechanical Chronograph

Today I finally got to wear one of my favorite vintage watches, a 1950s Wittnauer chronograph. This is another one that my dad picked up somewhere but never had serviced. I had it serviced last year and I think my watchmaker spent a month just trying to get the back open. Apparently when the seals in these watches deteriorated they turned into a kind of glue, and getting the caseback unstuck without damaging it was quite a challenge. The good news, after all that waiting, was with cleaning and adjustment this watch has been keeping phenomenal time. It's also great looking with the original dial and hands, although it appears the crown was replaced at some point. The dial has a patina to it that I find pleasing and have no desire to try and clean it. There's some good info here about the functions of the various scales on the dial and some other stuff, so I won't repeat it here. You can also see what an original crown looks like there.
My one complaint with the watch was its size. At 36mm wide, it felt very small on my wrist, especially since it's a chronograph and I expect them to be beefier. I finally got around to ordering a "Bund" strap for it. This style of strap was originally produced for the German Air Force which is part of the Federal Defense Force, or Bundeswehr. As I hoped, it adds some weight to the watch, both visually and literally. I have a feeling this is one vintage watch that I will be happy to wear on a regular basis.

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