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Some French cousins join the stable

  1. HeuerLoon

    HeuerLoon Jan 18, 2016

    I've been on the hunt for Jaeger 4ATM for some time now. If you don't know much about this piece, there's a comprehensive write up by Boris on his blog . I won't go into detail about the 4ATM as I will let you read the link.

    Since Boris wrote his article last year, I have been trying to get my hands on one of these. At the time of writing little was known about the 4ATM in terms of numbers and origin. After some late night searching the interweb, I found an interesting blog post written in France which filled in the missing piece of the 4ATM puzzle.

    The Jaeger 4ATM was manufactured in France by Dodane along with various other watches. Only 500 pieces were made for various brands, mostly French in the 1970s. They all have the following in common

    1. Singer dial
    2. 41mm case - sometimes marked on the inside of the case back "Belmont Industries Inc - France"
    3. Unsigned Valjoux 72 movement
    4. Large aluminum bezel
    5. Polished steel hands
    6. Lollipop centre seconds hands, with the exception of the Jaeger version.

    As luck would have it, I found myself a Diese 4ATM. Diese is a subsidiary brand of French horologer Duc Oger Paris. When the watch showed up, I was surprised to see that the case is identical to the over sized Compax. I have also landed the inverse panda dialled Clebar. Most people would associate
    this brand with Heuer but this is clearly not the case here.

    I'm not for one minute alluding that Dodane made the oversized Compax for UG. The Compax is likely to have been made in the mid to late 60s. It has a signed movement and case and whilst fairly similar is from another league given the quality of the movement and overall package. Its unlikely to have been produced in a run of 500 watches with unsigned movements.

    Some unanswered questions if anyone can help

    1. Who is Belmont Industries Inc?
    2. Have they supplied cases to UG. I could not find anything in Sala to confirm that they have/did.

    Pictures (C) and courtesy of Boris, JG, and I.

    Inside Case back.jpg Movement 4ATM.jpg Compax OS.jpg Larchenet 4ATM.jpg Side Profile 4ATM.jpg Scuba 4ATM.jpg Jaeger 4tam.jpg group shot.jpg UG and Clebar.jpg top profile.jpg
    Jaeger 4tam.jpg
    heypacha, ock2915, browncow and 9 others like this.
  2. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Jan 18, 2016

    Interesting post, Loon! Someone showed me a Sinn version a little while ago too. No surprise about the outside supplier - these do have a bit of a generic feel to them. Despite that, they are superb pieces.
  3. Chron

    Chron Jan 19, 2016

    Interesting post, Haroon! And I like the Clebar lollipop!
    HeuerLoon likes this.
  4. HeuerLoon

    HeuerLoon Jan 19, 2016

    Thanks Lou.
    The Sinn you're referring to, did it have a Valjoux 72 movement inside it?
  5. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Jan 19, 2016

    Don't know - I didn't see it in person, just a photo. The person who found it should be lurking around here somewhere....
  6. Darlinboy

    Darlinboy Pratts! Will I B******S!!! Jan 19, 2016

    Very nice find! I've been looking for one of these Jaeger 4ATM for quite some time. I have seen a couple of the Garnier and other examples mentioned, but not a Sinn or the Diese.

    Here is an "albino" version of the Jaeger - similar to the UG you show - silver with silver subdials.
  7. reficul_x

    reficul_x Jan 19, 2016

    Being a Narcisstic bastard, Can I give myself some credits on this? :-p I actually discovered the link on this particular model and shared with Boris (and other enthusiasts) in a group about these, the same case, Singer made singers, Val 72' movements, and sparked off the research but I wasn't the one who research more on these. I'm too lazy for this. Lol

    I am pretty sure that these were made by the same maker and were distributed by respective watch brands then.

    And yes they are all very well made and possibly distributed at the time where these watch companies weren't in superb financial shape.

    I would love to learn more about them if anyone has more info.

    Thanks Haroon for posting this up!
    Edited Jan 19, 2016
  8. adrienbelanger

    adrienbelanger Jan 19, 2016

    Great post, Loon!

    A few things I would add to your list:

    7. The lug width on the 4ATM case is always 22mm.
    8. The cases usually feature a "countdown" bezel, that is, the numbers run backwards from 12 to 0 (this is the same for Type 20s) or 60 to 0 and not the other way around. Note the UG doesn't have the same bezel.

    About Belmont Industries Inc. - my half baked theory:

    The name strikes me as unusual because French companies don't end in "Inc." -- they are usually "SA", "SARL", "SAS" or similar but never "Inc." In fact, in my experience "Inc." is pretty much only used in the US and in Canada. So, does that marking refer to a manufacturer or a distributor? Could it have something to do with import tariffs? The watch was almost surely assembled in France, hence the "France" designation, but I don't think Belmont Industries was a French company. I also found examples of case-backs of other earlier non-4ATM watches marked "Belmont Industries Inc" but made in West Germany (see photo). These were found on watches with the following names: Paul Poiret, Charles Bonnet and Paul Garnier. All of them are similarly named and French-sounding but easy enough for a foreigner to pronounce...

    Would love to know more about the Belmont connection from anyone else out there.


    On the subject of 4ATMs, here are some other bits and pieces worth repeating, from the French blog post you found
    ( and elsewhere (FAM, Chronomania), for the benefit of those who don't speak French:

    *Laurent Dodane mentions "Jaeger Paris" twice -- this probably refers to a different company from JLC (though it may have been affiliated) that produced measurement tools and dashboard instruments, including for the Concorde. See photo below, the logo appears to be the same as the one on the 4ATM watch, and the address is noted as being in Levallois-Perret, just outside Paris, hence "Jaeger Paris".

    IndicateurEssaisEnVol_Kg1000_Jaeger (3).JPG

    *Laurent Dodane also says that the Jaeger 4ATM was only produced with a silvered sunburst "panda" dial, but I noticed some examples on the web with "reverse panda" dials (see pics). Are these redials? Could they have been produced separately by someone other than Dodane? Or is Mr Dodane's memory wrong? Note that he says that the cases were probably made by Raymond Prétat S.A., a Swiss company that went bust in the late 1990s.



    *In addition to reverse panda dials, I also found some examples of all-black dials sold under other names (Airain and Chronofix). Their dials look a bit like Val 23 Nivada/Crotons, but are apparently actually Val 72 4ATMs, with the wide lugs and countdown bezels. Pics below.

    cimg2210.jpg da-c.jpg p1020012.jpg

    Finally, I would like to congratulate you all on the great work you have done here!! Having researched other French-made watches in the past (Yema, Lip, Difor, various Type 20s...) I know how frustrating the task can be. It seems to me that French watchmaking was in complete disarray in the late 1960s and 70s. From what I can tell, the industry was dominated by no-name assembleurs putting Swiss ébauches into Swiss or locally-made cases, and the supply chain was constantly being interrupted by industrial strife, mergers and insolvency. Most of the players have long disappeared. Even if a brand still exists today, there is rarely any continuity between the companies that produced the watches in their heyday, and the current owners of legacy brand names. Monographs are scarce (other than the Lip book) and I haven't come across any production records online.

    Short of undertaking hardcore research in the public filings of dissolved companies, all we are really left with is a few scraps of knowledge gleaned from old catalogues or advertisements (I highly recommend checking out old Yema ads for the comedy value alone), anecdotes from people who were there at the time (possibly to be taken with a grain of salt or two), and lots of good old deductive reasoning based on our own empirical knowledge of what we have seen (which is the fun part if you ask me, and is why this forum is so great because we can all compare notes).