|Brand:||Ecole d’Horlogerie Le Locle|
|Model:||Observatory chronometer pocket watch & chronometer chronograph wristwatch|
|Reference:||Valjoux 23 and Caliber 50A 3rd version|
|Dimensions:||pocket watch movement 50 mm, wristwatch 38mm|
|Bracelet/Strap:||WRIST ICONS leather strap made by Jean Paul Menicucci|
|Box/Paper:||box and papers|
WRIST ICONS is offering a graduation masterpiece set consisting of a pocket watch and wristwatch chronograph. The pocket watch was tested at the Neuchâtel Observatory. The chronograph underwent chronometer testing at the "BO" (Bureaux officiels) in Le Locle. The watches come as a full set with all the documents possible. This is the first time such a complete set has been available to the open market and it has been preserved as a time capsule, as an untouched time keeping heirloom from a bygone era.
These school watches (montre-école) belonged to an alumnus of the prestigious Technicum watchmaking school in Le Locle, Switzerland. That particular student was one of the few selected high-flyers who graduated in 1967 as a technical engineer. “Ingénieur-Technicien” was the highest possible education-track at the Technicum (5 ½ years including thesis - equivalent to an university degree in Microengineering in 2020).
You are looking at the largest known version of any school watch for the wrist (pre 1970) – measuring a contemporary 37mm in Ø. Executed in steel, the case is a rare “pop-out” waterproof clamshell type (also referred to as “monocoque” case), which was patented by the casemaker Schmitz Frères & Co (Brevet 189190) in 1937. The Valjoux 23 received the uttermost attention in terms of hand-finishing. The hand-finishing of the movement components included the application of Côtes de Genève, perlage, anglage and black polishing. Beside the undeniable beauty the chronograph packs some serious chronometric performance. Attested by the “Class 1” chronometer certificate with “especially good results”. The chronograph underwent chronometer testing at the "BO" (Bureaux officiels) in Le Locle. Every major Swiss village with ties to the watch industry had a BO. In 1973 all the BOs were merged in the central testing organization called COSC.
The wristwatch comes with the following box and papers:
1 - Orig. chronometer bulletin from the Bureaux officiels in Le Locle with “especially good results" distinction (see upper right corner).
2 - Supplementary document with rate data, highlighting the “Class 1” predicate (passed with distinction).
3 - Orig. box containing the accompanying “small” chronometer certificate (also stamped with “especially good results”).
4 - School document certifying that the watch was handed back (after testing) to the student in 1967.
The pocket watch is an extremely rare full-fledged observatory chronometer which was tested at the prestigious Neuchatel observatory and scored a remarkable high mark (N-score=6,87). Less than 40 pieces have been submitted to the observatory of that particular variant of the 50A. Like the chronograph, the pocket watch retains its original box, original Bulletin de March, prize certificate and an additional document from the school.
The caliber is called the “50A” and classified among scholars as the so called "3rd version". The caliber 50A is considered without a doubt as the absolute pinnacle in precision timekeeping and finishing and is one of the most sought after pieces from any of the ten Swiss watchmaking schools.
Executed in steel, the fluted Breguet styled case was one of the few components which was sourced externally by the watchmaking school and not handmade by the students. The Caliber 50A was fully developed in-school. In comparison, most other watchmaking schools used ébauche calibers from known Swiss watch manufacturers (like Zenith, IWC or JLC). Hence, the cal. 50A was always made completely from scratch by the respective student. The movement is mainly made from German silver (aka Maillechort). The bridges are plated and decorated with a wonderfully fine Côtes de Genève. The hand-finishing of the movement components included perlage, anglage and black polishing. The movement is just stunning and visible through the glass opening on the back.
Find below what “full set” means in the world of school watches:
1 - Original Neuchâtel Observatory “Bulletin de marche”
2 - Original box
3 - School document certifying that the watch was handed back (after testing) to the student in 1967.
4 - Prize awarded by the Conseil d’Etat de la République et canton de Neuchâtel
This particular pocket and wristwatch have been kept all original. We picked it up from a collector who bought it directly from the student who graduated with these pieces. It is upon the new owner to service the watch. The watch runs and keeps time. The chronograph functions work flawlessly. There is a minor spot on the dial of the pocket watch at 11.
Out of respect for the privacy of the watchmaker, we have made his name invisible on all documents but also on the timepiece. His name is engraved on the pocket watch.
Read more about the history of the marine chronometer, observatory chronometer, timekeeping competitions and school watch in the article called "Ecole d’Horlogerie Le Locle observatory chronometer pocket watch and wristwatch full set" on the WRIST ICONS website.
As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase. Please check our website to have a look at the high resolution pictures on a macro level. You will see every detail at its best.