Vintage Heuer / TAG Heuer watches, and a few others. Plus Handmade straps..

Posts Tagged ‘Vintage chronograph

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue (c1972)

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Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue

Fortis Marinemaster Ref. 8001 ‘Blue’, Valjoux 72, 200m WR, c1972

Whilst browsing online, I spotted one of these and was instantly intrigued. It was a cool looking vintage sports chrono, so I delved a little deeper and liked what I saw – especially as it houses a valjoux 72 movement, features classic straight lugs and diver bezel – what’s not to like?  It was actually the yellow-orange variant I was most taken by, so put out a ‘WTB’ on the Chronocentric forum, and collector JameyS in the US came to the rescue (yet again). But.. it was a ‘blue’ model. I went for it anyway, and I’m glad I did – the blue is better than I expected.

I tried it on a selection of straps (20mm).. and thankfully it seems to be an all-rounder, but the tan rally really set it off. Then I remembered that I had an old un-named Beads of Rice bracelet in a box somewhere.. I’d bought it on ebay a long while back for very little, hoping it would fit a Heuer. It didn’t, so was forgotten about… I dug it out, and it fits like a dream, and elevates the Marinemaster to a new level. The watch head is a great size too, having a 39mm case, but the bi-directional ‘slide’ bezel overhangs a little.. giving it a bigger look n feel.

The name Marinemaster, whether one word or two is usually associated with Seiko, but it seems that Fortis has been using this moniker since the 50’s.  This model, dating from c1972 certainly deserves the name. Despite being a chronograph, it is rated to 200m, not bad for a ’70’s chrono.

I scoured the net looking for info, but found very little. The watch was available in two variants, one with blue accents and one with yellow/orange accents. As Fortis made a re-issue of this model recently (in blue and yellow-orange variants), I thought they could help, so fired off an email. They were good enough to get back to me in a few days, but despite the fast response and a scan of a spec sheet from the 70’s (see below), they too didn’t have any detailed information. They noted that the original MM’s were most probably from 1972, but had no production numbers. They stated that the yellow-orange model was ref. 8002.

Oddly, the only caseback photos I’ve seen of a vintage yellow-orange model had a 8001 code. The Spec Sheet that Fortis sent me states that the dial is dark grey with ‘coloured zones’, which suggests that ref. 8001 covers both yellow-orange and blue variants.. so who knows!? (If anyone knows better, please comment)

The story doesn’t end there.. whilst hunting around online for info on this watch, I stumbled upon a spare ‘yellow-orange’ dial being offered by a German watchmaker, so snapped it up… then I stumbled upon another ref 8001 blue, in mint condition located in Prague – I couldn’t believe my luck… can you see where I’m going here? Yep.. I plan to have the dial switched over on Marinemaster number 2, and I’ll have a yellow-orange variant too. Watch this space!

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Blue

Fortis Marinemaster 8001 Spec Sheet

Written by Heuerville

November 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Movado Super Sea Sub

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Movado Super Sea Sub

Movado Super Sea Sub , Cal. 146HP , mid-late 1960’s, 41mm

I hold my hands up to having somewhat of a tunnel vision with vintage watches, focusing mainly on Heuers. Sure, I’m aware of other main brands, and some of the more obscure older marques.. but I’d never heard of Movado, or it’s rich history.

This was one of those watches that you see and instantly want – regardless of brand name. Like I say, I’d never heard of Movado, but when I saw it on the Heuer forum I just though ‘I want that’. Just the sheer quality of it, its sportiness yet elegant design, and not forgetting it’s remarkable condition. I even have to say, it has a great name too ‘Super Sea Sub’ – come on, that’s just ice cool.

It was being sold by my friend and fellow Heuer regular Abel, so I felt comfortable ‘going for it’ with very little research. I did a quick search around online, and oddly enough the top results were from another fellow Heuer collector – Paul Gavin, aka Heuerworld.  That was good enough for me, and I frantically fired off a ‘yes please’ email to Abel.. but I was pretty sure I would be pipped to the post. The next morning I got a reply, and I had very slimly beaten several people to the punch, and it was mine. It apparently has sat in a safe for years in Germany, hence it’s remarkable condition.

I set about reading up on the watch and it’s maker, and here is my little report. I do apologise in advance if some of the details are incorrect – please feel free to put me right, I’m a Movado novice, and much of the technical details I read over on Heuerworld and other forums.

It’s a Super Sea Sub Chronograph, with a signed manual winding 17 jewel Cal. 146HP movement. It dates from the mid-late 60’s and many will note that it looks very much like the Zenith A277.. which used the same movement too. The case is large for it’s day, coming in at c41mm with stunning elegant 22mm lugs. The dial features a tachy scale, with stunning dauphine hands.. and copper coloured sub dial pins that set it off beautifully.  Something quite cool that Paul noticed on his example, is that there is a tiny Movado logo etched into the centre of the crystal.. I checked mine, and there it is!

The 146HP Movement and Zenith connection
Martel were the original makers of the Cal. 146, and it can be found in pre-1960 Universal Geneve chronographs. Zenith bought up Martel in 1960 and started using the movements. Prior to that they had been using Excelsior Park chronograph calibres.

The 146HP was one of the last Movado manual wind chronographs produced prior to the introduction of the El Primero in 1969. Unlike Breitling and Heuer, Zenith stopped making manual chronographs shortly after the birth of the El Primero (some argue this too was a Martel production – designed and manufactured after the acquisition).

The Heuer connection.. Project 99
The race to make the first automatic chronograph wristwatch..


“In retrospect, it seems curious that Zenith joined in the competition to develop an automatic chronograph. Founded in 1865, Zenith had established its reputation during the 1940’s and 1950’s as a manufacturer of chronometers and watches for the military. As a true manufacture, Zenith produced its own movements for its chronometers. Still, Zenith offered only a limited line of chronographs and Zenith sourced the movements for its chronographs from other companies, primarily Excelsior Park. Zenith’s relatively small presence in the world of chronographs is evidenced by the fact that Zenith was not a member of the Swiss association of chronograph manufacturers.

In 1960, Zenith acquired Martel Watch Company, a producer of movements for chronographs and other complicated watches (such as calendar and moonphase watches). Martel was well-known as the supplier of chronograph movements for Universal Geneve and other respected brands. By acquiring Martel, Zenith broadened its offering of chronographs, and enhanced its capabilities in the design and production of chronograph movements. Soon after its acquisition of Martel, Zenith adapted the Martel chronograph movement that had been used in the Universal Geneve caliber 285 to become the Zenith 146 series of movements, featuring the 146-D (a two-register movement, with 45-minute capacity) and the 146-H (a three-register, tri-compax movement with a 12-hour recorder)”

The “P” refers to the different, flat coil (P for French “Plat” = flat). But there are several more differences with the original calibres 146 D and 146 H:
Kif shock protection was used instead of incabloc, glucydur balance wheel, a different regulator. There are more changes/different parts inside.


Movado Potted History

Despite being a ‘fashion watch’ company now, it’s roots lie in high quality watchmaking, dating back to 1881. Born in the workshop of a young Swiss, Achille Ditesheim, in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Jura region. In 1881 Ditesheim set up in business with six craftsmen to manufacture watches. His small workshop grew quickly, by 1897 it employed 80 watchmakers. It had become one of the largest watch manufacturers in all Switzerland, and was noted for its technological sophistication. Early for its time, Ditesheim’s company used electricity and advanced machinery in place of the simple hand tools of other watchmakers. Achille Ditesheim gave his company the name Movado in 1905, choosing a word meaning “always in motion” in the then flourishing international language of Esperanto.

Movado’s designs also won top awards at the Paris, Brussels, and Liege world expositions. The company became internationally prominent, and by 1920 Movado was making more than 700 different wristwatch models. Two of its most famous watches from the 1920s were the Valentino and the Ermeto. The Ermeto was a handheld watch in a small box, the forerunner of the travel clock. Opening the case revealed the timepiece, and the motion automatically wound the watch.

Movado continued to produce complicated and innovative watches. In the 1930s the company manufactured one of the first digital watches, and as early as 1935 Movado was making water-resistant watches in both round and rectangular styles. In 1945 the company debuted the world’s first automatic winding wristwatch. This was called the Tempomatic. By 1956 the Tempomatic had been retooled into the Kingmatic. This was an automatic watch designed to be extremely rugged, and it was one of Movado’s best sellers in the 1950s and 1960s. Movado’s signature Museum Watch was first manufactured for sale in 1962. An American artist, Nathan George Horwitt, designed the stark, black, numberless dial watch in 1947, and in 1960 Horwitt donated his prototype to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Movado agreed to produce the Horwitt watch in 1962, and it went on to become one of the world’s bestselling dial designs.

A short History of Martel / Zenith

Movado Super Sea Sub

Movado Super Sea Sub

Movado Super Sea Sub

Movado Super Sea Sub

Movado Super Sea Sub 146 movement

Movement photo courtesy AC.



Written by Heuerville

June 15, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Non-Heuer

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