Wittnauer Ref. 7004A Chronograph
Wittnauer Geneve Professional Chronograph Ref. 7004A 239T c1960’s.
(Longines-Wittnauer Watch Co.)
Calibre: Landeron 248, 17 Jewel manual Swiss movement
This is an early example of the 7004A powered by a Landeron 248 movement, with the desirable full lumed triangle on the bezel, baton style min/hr hands, lollipop chrono hand, ‘Geneve’ dial scrip and original signed Beads of Rice bracelet. All these elements add up to a very cool chronograph.
The Landeron 248 was used up to c1969-70, after which the Valjoux 7733 was used. The later models are commonly seen with the arrow head ‘old school’ divers style minute hand and a metal triangle with small lume pip on the bezel. It is noted that some early models didn’t have ‘Geneve’ on the dial or a bezel lume pip at all. An unusual feature of the Landeron 248 is that the top pusher only activates the start the chronograph. The lower which stops and resets the chronograph.
Another example can be seen here:
Wittnauer is well appreciated by the vintage watch fraternity, and boasts a rich history with some remarkable achievements. Some focus on the more well known name that the Longines connection brings, but Wittnauer stood on it’s own two feet as producing innovative and fine timepieces.
Founded by a young Albert Wittnauer in c1872, he was a Swiss immigrant that moved to New York. Among the companies impressive boasts, are.. supplier to armed forces in WWi & II, the world’s first waterproof, shock-proof, anti-magnetic watch (1918), Amelia Earhart’s solo Atlantic crossing plane was fitted with Wittnauer timepieces – as was Howard Hughes’ ‘Winged Bullet’ plane that set a US coast-to-coast record. Wittnauers history is scattered with tough environment achievements, earning a well earned reputation of producing reliable, tough, yet fine timepieces.
“In the 1950’s Longines purchased the Wittnauer watch company and marketed a number of very similar lines of watches in the US under both brand names. In this authors opinion, Longines Wittnauer is one of the finest watches a collector can find. The classic designs are fantastic. The accuracy and reliability is amazing, and the parts are readily available. One of my favorites.”
The Landeron 248.. technical info..
Rich Askham comments on the Landeron 248..
“The ’48 Series’ of calibres were some of the most popular that Landeron produced. The series started in 1937 with the cal. 48 and was revised twice to produce the cal. 148 and cal. 248 respectively. Production of the 48 series stopped in 1970 after making around 3.5 million units, and the Landeron name itself disappeared shortly afterwards.
It’s also worth mentioning that the operation of Landeron’s cam-lever chronograph is also slightly different. In most chronograph calibres, regardless of type, the mechanism is started and stopped using the upper button, and reset using the lower button. With a Landeron chronograph, the top button starts the mechanism, and the lower button is used for both stop and reset.”
“Founded in America in 1890, Wittnauer timepieces that were used on trips made by navigators, explorers, and astronomers. They were thought to be at the cutting edge of accuracy and style, and were de rigeur with pioneer aviators in the early twentieth century. They created the first waterproof, shock-proof and anti-magnetic watch, and even helped Commander Richard E. Byrd navigate the first flight over the North Pole in 1926.”
Historic Timeline of Wittnauer
Whilst giving it a good clean & check-over, something made me think ‘The bezel size seems familiar’.. so I popped out the crimson bezel insert & tried an aftermarket Autavia 11630 insert.. and I couldn’t believe it.. it’s a perfect fit !!