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Incoming Tradition diver

  1. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jan 6, 2020

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    So I have been on a vintage diver kick- not the high line stuff, but the fun cheap divers from the 60’s. My prerequisites have been a Swiss movement of 15 jewels or more, preferably stainless case or if plated- it must be perfect, near perfect original bezel (a few scuffs or nicks is fine but no faded out wabi-Sabi for me) perfect dial, stunning lume, and it must be “running”.
    So far I have been lucky and have been able to see past the ugly crystals and blurry photos and pick up some nice gems. I have noticed that many of these watches, despite being branded differently, are from a handful of OEM suppliers as many share the same dial design, case and movement- just a different name on the dial.

    I have been familiar with the Tradition brand that had been marketed by Sears department stores (I understand it was one of their upper tier watches) and have mostly avoided them simply becuase I didn’t find many of them esthetically pleasing (lots of early 70’s stick hand day/date models). I know their chronographs fetch money as there was some possible Heuer connection (not really sure of the validity of that) but it is known that Sears was contracting these watches to OEM suppliers and it can be anyone’s guess who made them.

    Yesterday this guy popped up-

    6E2849B9-B555-42BF-826E-3B1ABC87E206.jpeg A5B5035B-26C8-41C3-8665-06FED3AD90B1.jpeg A15EC603-7ADA-4E9B-B9D3-CC0B6BDB6A34.jpeg 6A63DC48-9156-4E4F-A21D-F759F580E433.jpeg C88E7453-23A4-4945-AC46-77AE11E666C8.jpeg E6CCBC96-A2E4-459B-8379-463F244C5491.jpeg 4ECD8623-502F-4E52-9ECE-4D4EA0610CA1.jpeg

    stainless case, AS movement (not sure which one) and the most unusual dial and hand combo I had seen on a Tradition watch- almost like it’s a wannabe early SM300. The price was high for these watches but not rediculous, so I just said screw it and bought it. The only other example I found like it online was this exact watch from a FS posting from WUS from 2018- it had a little less wear on it then and better pictures.

    The things that stick out to me, besides the dial design, is the “Switzerland” instead of “Swiss Made” and the “T < 25mc” which I have never seen on anything other than a Rolex.
    Can anyone shed any light on who may have possibly made this watch by the case or dial design? And does anyone have another one like it- Even from a different brand but with the same case & dial?
     
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  2. Canuck

    Canuck Jan 6, 2020

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    Looks like AS 1767, or another in that range.

    A97C6D07-959D-4805-BE9F-77BCEAD177EE.jpeg
     
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  3. MoclovFlop

    MoclovFlop Jan 6, 2020

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    The closest dial I have seen is the DROZ super compressor. The "T<25mc" shows up on a few other watches, first one that pops into my head is the earlier version of the Wittnauer 4000 diver. But I have seen a handful of others as well. I saw this pop up under my compressor watch search terms but glazed over it, glad someone grabbed it quick!

    Sears had a pretty good eye for the stuff they did on 1960's watches (Like the other bakelite bezel Tradition diver that everyone loves). I have an early Landeron 4750 Electric from them with and HF style compressor case that I haven't seen on any other Landeron electrics. So I think they had some say on their designs rather than all re-brands. This could be an original, but it seems good regardless!

    Screen Shot 2020-01-06 at 10.24.45 AM.png
     
  4. Larry S

    Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Jan 6, 2020

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    Its a great looking piece.
     
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  5. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jan 6, 2020

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    I see now that this is a compressor “style” case, didn’t see the EPSA logo inside which is why I didn’t think it was, but looking closely at the case back mount- I see it. I questioned if this was a Bakelite bezel- the inset lume triangle and flush mount insert looked like Bakelite but I didn’t want to assume. The movement @Canuck mentioned is a day/date version but looking ar the family of this movement puts it around 1965.
    More info if you got it-please keep it coming.
     
  6. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jan 6, 2020

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    And anyone got a pic of the other Bakelite bezeled Tradition that people like?
     
  7. wagudc

    wagudc Jan 6, 2020

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    I really like it. I occasionally look at lesser known vintage dive watches and it is very hard to find ones without the date. Nice snag. Care to share how much you paid?
     
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  8. X350 XJR

    X350 XJR Vintage Omega Aficionado Jan 6, 2020

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    This one?

    IMG_4351.jpg
     
  9. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jan 6, 2020

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    $475, with tax and shipping $511.
    I normally don’t pay over $200 for chrome plated and $300 for stainless divers like this (small brands, not the big boys)- so this was a hard decision with my formula- but something told me this was an oddity- so I took a leap of faith.
     
  10. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jan 6, 2020

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    I have seen those and do like them. The case shape is a little out of my norm and the stick hands and indices are a bit pedestrian which is why I never picked one up- I may now just as they are cheap thrills
     
  11. allwoundup

    allwoundup Jan 6, 2020

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    Similar to the Wittnauer, that also used Landeron’s early electric movement....35-36mm diameter, 44-45mm lug-to-luv.
     
    4623D7DE-9F4A-475C-B1D3-EE2315139404.jpeg
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  12. MoclovFlop

    MoclovFlop Jan 6, 2020

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    Yep, I'm a collector (and fixer) of all early electrics. Check out my IG if you want to see the whole family of Landeron based versions.

    EDIT - End of thread hijack~ Back to the diver.

    Yes that's the bakelite version I meant. There's also a no-bezel skin diver with Mercedes style hands that shows up sometimes. They had cool watches back in the day.

    Edit: this one, and it actually has the same dial as yours:

    https://omegaforums.net/threads/lets-see-those-vintage-skin-divers.100592/#post-1314921
     
    Edited Jan 6, 2020
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  13. Dan S

    Dan S Jan 6, 2020

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    That's definitely a notch above most of the Tradition divers, it's a nice piece and I really like the hands and no-date dial layout. I think the bezel may just be an aluminum insert, but perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised.
     
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  14. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jan 6, 2020

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    So here is where we get into the detective work. Using the above electronic watches as an example- it’s too much of a coincidence that those watches are so close not just in esthetics, but case design and movement as well. Longines did house brands for high end jewelry stores like Birks in Canada and a huge contract like making watches for Sears would be attractive to any mass production manufacturer- like their Wittnaur sub brand, so we could assume that the Sears Tradition electronic watch was most likely a contract with L/W.
    What mass production manufacturer in the mid 60’s was using compressor cases, AS movements and dial designs like that- that would have taken a contract with Sears. Bulova, Benrus or Wittnaur come to mind.
     
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  15. MoclovFlop

    MoclovFlop Jan 6, 2020

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    Unless you can get a better photo of the caseback, I'm fairly certain your case isn't a EPSA case. And using the electric watches per your example, other brands used the same cases and L4750 movements, including Enicar, Benrus, Baylor, Nivada Genchen, etc. So L/W wasn't the supplier, Landeron was. I was just using that watch as an example of the quality Sears used in the 60's

    Same with AS movements, everyone was using those. Private label stuff can be hard to trace, they very well could have created their own dial (since they shared the design with their other skin divers) and bought a case from a supplier. Just like how the bakelite version doesn't have an analog to any other "name brand" divers, this one might be in the same boat.
     
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  16. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jan 6, 2020

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    Agreed- it may just be a one-off, trying to see if I can find a familial connection to anything else. These inexpensive mass produced watches I find fascinating as there were a handful of parts suppliers but a zillion brands throwing parts together.

    I recently bought a mid 60’s Helbros diver- lovely thing with the scrolls on the back- have seen that case with same back on a couple other brands- Helbros just putting their name on an OEM case.
     
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  17. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Jan 6, 2020

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    Very nice watch. Beautiful dial and hands.What's the diameter?
     
  18. allwoundup

    allwoundup Jan 6, 2020

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    Case in point....here is a Baylor “Neptune” using an EPSA compressor case and AS 1903 movement. Apparently Baylor was the house brand for Zales Jewelers. I have read that Heuer made a lot of watches for Baylor back in the ‘60s. As yet, I have been unable to identify the actual manufacturer of this watch.
     
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  19. Dan S

    Dan S Jan 6, 2020

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    Just like desktop computers.
     
  20. JwRosenthal

    JwRosenthal Jan 6, 2020

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    Not listed in the eBay auction but the WUS listing said 36mm. So smallish for a diver but about the same as a Seawolf or early devil diver