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Wakmann Regate "Clint Eastwood" Chronograph (NOS) and Info

  1. cvalue13

    cvalue13 Feb 21, 2020

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    On this forum there have been only two posts discussing (at any length) the 1970's Wakmann Regate Chronograph.

    I'll add some flesh to that limited coverage, because I rather like the watch, and it has several interesting connections to Omega, Lemania, and Breitling. Also, such a post might draw out other member's answers to questions of my own, still lingering (accordingly, below in bold/parenthesis I've highlighted specific questions about which some member may have information).

    Also, I have the day off with two sick and sleepy toddlers, and feel like doing anything but my paying work; it was this, or watching the movie Bridges of Madison County.

    Regarding the two prior OF posts on this watch:

    The most recent, a cheery post by @mzinski, showing his (her?) recent purchase of a gold-plated version on strap.

    And this earlier post by @claes_t (RIP?), inquiring about a Lemania-branded version of the same watch (but in SS).

    Turning then to my contribution, I'll start - as is polite - with pictures (of my gold-plated NOS):

    dial 1.jpg

    [​IMG]

    back 1.jpg

    I purchased the watch in 2013, and it came its purported accompanying bracelet. This watch's bracelet I've not otherwise seen offered (in either gold plating or SS - more later on whether the watch even comes in a SS version). So, still in the spirit of my contribution, here are some photos of the bracelet purported to be original to the otherwise NOS watch:

    bracelet 1.jpg

    bracelet 2.jpg

    bracelet 3.jpg

    The bracelet bears no makers mark, but nothing about the bracelet suggests it couldn't have been original to the watch (in terms of design, fit, and "quality"). And, I've not seen another contender for the bracelet, as I've not seen another offered at all.

    (I am hopeful this post someday prompts another's contribution regarding the Wakmann Regate bracelet.)

    Besides the (now) three posts on this forum about the Wakmann Regate, there exists elsewhere on the web a few write-ups discussing the watch. All of those (that I've found as of this writing) are from sellers or seller-adjacent sources. As such, read them critically. Not only may they be seller-adjacent in bias, but an additional word of caution to anyone reading anything, anywhere, on watches such as these: the sports watch era of the 1970's was as free-spirited with production control as were the 1970's with spouse-swapping; and that resulted in equal numbers of messy situations. Today, at times it is very difficult to determine whether certain dial features were original to a watch, or instead too resemble the neighbor's husband. The same caution goes not just for lesser-known brands, but also Omega's of this era.

    That general caution stated, in discussing a SS version of this watch (on strap), one web-found article makes a short history of the interesting connection between Wakmann and Breitling: "It’s remarkable what people and companies will do to navigate around taxes legally. In this case, Wakmann, became Breitling’s representative in the United States. They basically manufactured the American Breitling’s since Breitling would be heavily taxed for importing whole watches to the U.S market, Wakmann happily became their U.S subsidiary. Producing the watches on U.S soil. So a Breitling was sort of a Wakmann that was sort of a Breitling. Hence the Breitling connection."

    This Breitling connection may be true of Wakmann generally, but the writer goes on to clarify the extent to which the regate model fits into that narrative: "The heart of the watch is a Lemania Calibre 1341. I can live with this ... comfortably since Lemania produced their own watches as a manufacture.... So in essence, the Regatta is really a menage a trois. It’s a Breitling hiding as a Wakmann that’s really a Lemania. It’s getting complicated now, but I think you understand the picture."

    See how references to loose sexual behaviors is nearly impossible to avoid when speaking of eccentric 1970's sports watches?

    The same piece of writing above goes on to describe in some detail how the Wakmann Regate Chronograph's complications (or features) all work, and combine to be each of a regate, chronograph, day-date, and all-around rainbow explosion of apparent functionality. If you're interested in a primer, I'd encourage a read through that explanation.

    But, I would have further clarified any notion that this watch is a true or even respectable day-date (in terms of complication-proper). The Wakmann Regate accomplishes its weekday function indirectly (and manually) vis-a-vis its date complication. Specifically, the second crown at 10:30 rotates an inner weekday bezel placed adjacent to dial-affixed 1st-31st date indices. So, for a wearer to set up the watch's day-date function, she must first read the date complication (i.e., the 17th), next independently obtain (i.e., from a real calendar) the day of the week within her subject month (i.e., for a given month, the 17th turns out to be a Wednesday), and then adjust the crown at 10:30 to align the calendar bezel (i.e., move any 'Wednesday' on the bezel to correlate with dial-affixed 17th indices). As a result this two-step set-up, the watch from that point forward could continue to accurately inform the wearer of the date (by complication) and day of the month (by affixed dial feature) ... that is, at least until the end of that specific month. Depending on how many days are in the subject month - with only a month ending in 31 days allowing for any 'roll-over' between months without readjustment - the weekday function would need adjustment at the beginning of most months.

    On one hand, this day-date function is clever to a degree; on the other hand, it's a bit analog even for analog. I also think the crown at 10:30 would be prone to incidental knocking, and the slightest of a knock could miss-align the sensitive rotating bezel a full weekday forward or backward (the circumference of the bezel and typeset increments of the 31 day intervals combine to create a rather tight tolerance between "aligned" and "misaligned" - with a mere 1/2 turn of the 10:30 crown creating a slip of an entire weekday).

    The author of the above web piece concludes: "This is a beautiful vintage maritime chronometer that has many sea-faring stories to tell and many more adventures to come. It’s the sort of watch you might find on the wrist of an elderly Admiral or First Sea-Lord."

    I'd here not take the writer literally, and instead give this concluding maritime flourish the benefit of both artistic license and comedic hyperbole. He's a vintage watch enthusiast daydreaming of disco-pirates. I fully support such pirate-minded whimsy when speaking of rainbow-colored 1970's vintage pieces that are relatively inexpensive - indeed, in this very post my own Jolly Rodger is occasionally unfurled.

    But, were I sent to sea for an extended period, the weekday function of this watch would be (at best) my plan Z in redundancy for accurate weekday information. And, the water resistance of this piece I do not know, but assume is less than (even when brand new) confidence-inspiring; Wakmann don't even bother to write its water resistance merits on the dial, much less inscribe it on the caseback. Perhaps most damning to this watch's calendar function as applied to seafaring: I understand regate races to be at most two day events, near shore, often on weekends. The sailor who gets so lost during a regate race as to need monthly calendar assistance, and so have any need for this watch's calendar function - also deserves this Watch's particular calendar function (and water resistance).

    (Should anyone have information on this model's stated water resistance, it would wonderful to know - surely a few user's manuals are floating out there somewhere; perhaps in a corked bottle, still making its way to shore.)

    A second web piece discussing this watch offers a few other points worth pondering: "Powered by the Lemania 1341, these Hamptons-ready watches have more features than a Bond watch including a rotating inner bezel, two-register chronograph with a central minute counter, and monthly calendar planner. The watch was offered in stainless steel or gold plated cases with multiple dial variations and handsets. ... Check all cases carefully for corrosion before committing to a purchase, as the cases are plated base metal, not stainless steel."

    Breezing past this second author's equal amount of whimsy for the watch (but he preferring to fantasize of a 1970's Hampton's James Bond that would choose a Wakmann Regate over a Royal Oak): note the language above in bold. The "SS models" are not SS at all, but instead plated. I've only owned my gold-plated version, and would welcome any owners of the "SS version" to chime in here. But, others interested in the watch should note that the "SS" versions of this watch with interior case backs indicating SS construction are speaking only of the case back. (In one of the OF posts linked above @ConElPueblo spells this nuance out as well.) And, my gold-plated version's caseback reads "stainless steel case back," but buyers should not think that means the case is gold-plated SS.

    I find surprising the idea that Wakmann had need for avoiding full SS construction of the case, in part because there were so many brands with similar models (in SS) housing the same Lemania 1341.

    Here are just a few examples from other brands using the same (or very similar) caliber in similarly-functioned watches (which slide can be found within an ancient post of mine detailing the Omega ca.1040, itself based on a similar Lemania movement):

    [​IMG]

    A modified (nay, improved) version of the Lemania 1341 was used in several Omega sports watches of the same era - including Omega's own yachting/regate version (also in SS):

    [​IMG]

    Many non-Wakmann watches using a Lemania 1341-based movement (or its cousins) had similar cases. But, perhaps the Wakmann Regate did not avail itself of using any then-produced SS cases that also fit the Lemania 1341 (remembering this was the 1970's, and one could sometimes borrow all kinds of things from neighbors). Perhaps one chink in any plan for a SS case for the Wakemann Regate's could have been the "chink" in the Wakmann case itself: that 10:30 crown for the rotating bezel is unique among the Lemania 1341-related watches - and perhaps represented re-tooling costs (or SS machining challenges). (Note: a few similar models using the 1341 did have a second crown on the left of case, but squarely at 10 rather than 10:30).

    Omega's own 176.007 bears the greatest passing resemblance to the Wakemann Regate's shape (other than for the second crown), but even the 176.007 cases are not as similar as they seem. Aside from the lack of SS, here is my Wakmann Regate in gold plate next to my 176.007 in gold plate, showing just some of the more obvious case construction differences.

    case 1.jpg

    case 2.jpg

    case 3.jpg

    Before moving on, let me beat you to the joke about my preferences for eccentric 1970's gold-plated sports watches:

    upload_2020-2-21_15-23-55.jpeg

    Long story short (about the watch cases), the Wakmann Regate case is wider, thinner, and with many differing construction details almost all-around (despite initial impressions) from the Omega 176.007.

    So, for what that's worth, the Wakemann Regata in "SS" isn't. And, while the Wakmann Regata has a very similar movement to the Omega 176.007, and at first glance looks similar in form - they are from head to toe different watches.

    Which brings me back around the this forum's prior post by @claes_t (RIP?) inquiring about a Lemania branded version of the same watch (but in SS).

    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]In that post, there was an underlying question of whether the Lemania-branded watch (otherwise identical to the Wakemann Regata) was a franken. Even those few souls familiar with the Wakmann had not seen a Lemania version regata. The post contributors largely pointed toward a conclusion I'll second and reinforce here: spouse-swapping. It's the 1970's baby, anything goes.

    I wont go into details here, but I think Lemania did occasionally (commonly?) create versions of watches that were otherwise distributed by other brands, when Lemania supplied the movements to those brands. The reasons for which may have something to do with the reverse of the Wakmann-Breitling connection: Lemania gave brands like Wakmann a market outside of the U.S., under Lemania's own branding? Or, Lemania simply worked this opportunity into certain of their licensing and supply agreements?

    (Anyone have examples of Lemania-branded watches for models otherwise offered by other brands containing Lemania movements?)[/FONT]

    Finally, I'll say that if a person is curious about the details of the Lemania cal.1341, or how it relates to the Omega cal.1040, or to several other movements by Lemania (e.g., the 1340) or Omega (e.g., the 1041), more can be found on my prior post on this topic, but summarized graphically here:

    [​IMG]

    Personally, I find the Wakmann Regata to be lovely. The same type of lovely as a 1970's Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am. Reputable engine. Masculine attitude, now muted by comic historical hind-site that somehow neuters any toxicity. Lots of gold accents. T-top level functionality. All the things I'd like to see sitting in the corner of a 40-car garage warehouse. These days it wouldn't be a daily driver, but now and then there'd be no better way to arrive.

    So I suppose, rather than a regate-racing 1970's disco-pirate, and rather than a 1970's Hampton's James bond on a budget, this watch for me is instead a little bit Bert-Reynolds-meets-Vintage-Omega. When you find that in NOS condition, for sub-$1,000, it goes in the garage.

    I look forward to anyone's additional information about the Wakmann Regata - those 5 of you still reading, perhaps.

    Except that I know 4 of the 5 still reading are only still here to find why the thread's title is the "Wakmann Regate 'Clint Eastwood' Chronograph."

    [​IMG]

    In the 1995 movie Bridges of Madison County, Eastwood rolled up in a "SS" Wakmann Regate. How a 1970's Wakemann Regate ended up in a 1995 Clint Eastwood romance movie raises a lot of questions; but it definitively answers why the Wakemann Regate is not widely associated with Clint Eastwood.

    cvalue13
     
    Edited Feb 21, 2020
    Wryfox, queriver, bgrisso and 12 others like this.
  2. Evitzee

    Evitzee Feb 21, 2020

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    Great write up.
     
    cvalue13 likes this.
  3. Vitezi

    Vitezi Feb 21, 2020

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    Great post! But, clearly, we still have so many unanswered questions...:D
     
    cvalue13 likes this.
  4. speedydownunder

    speedydownunder Feb 21, 2020

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    great story - thanks
     
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  5. cvalue13

    cvalue13 Feb 21, 2020

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    I’m embarrassed to say I knew nothing of the movie, but just looked it up. While made in ‘95 it is set in ‘65 - which now makes more sense: someone in wardrobe threw a dart toward “60s watch” and landed on “70’s and cheap.”
     
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  6. mzinski

    mzinski Feb 22, 2020

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    Fantastic write up! While I agree with many of your functionality “issues” with this supposed regatta timer (who needs water resistance on a boat???) I still find myself enamored with the overall aesthetic composition and Lemania 1341 movement.
    To you question of bracelet - mine is also one owner, untouched, crisp condition. And it did come with an awful, gold-colored, jangly bracelet. I suspect this is the bracelet that came with the watch but the original owner couldn’t say for sure.
    Here are some pics:
    5652FBDA-ADFD-4811-92DA-9316CAACFD37.jpeg 017EE3CF-77F0-4DC5-A99C-BB17A67114D2.jpeg 14CB9ED0-5B92-4406-BC68-629AC148C3C0.jpeg 68BF25D8-4085-4C94-8B37-0FD6557B7375.jpeg
    You can see it was made in Hong Kong. You can also see how easily the gold color comes off. The only original coating is seen where the links were covered by the clasp.
    As to water resistance...I suspect this would barely achieve 3-bar. I replaced all of my gaskets except the inner bezel control. I’ll throw it in my water tester and see what happens (fingers crossed as I just serviced the movement).
     
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  7. cvalue13

    cvalue13 Feb 22, 2020

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    Thanks! Yours is certainly a differently designed bracelet than mine - a side-by for comparison:

    54500194-173C-4800-BF7D-FCF2796D5354.jpeg
    0107CAE3-0649-4716-8375-32FA80DD8B9C.jpeg

    But, it sounds like the build quality may be similar - mine’s just never been worn so don’t know how the playing would hold up.

    Looking forward to the pressure test, and photos of yours
     
  8. Andy K

    Andy K Dreaming about winning an OFfie one day. Feb 23, 2020

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    Thanks for an entertaining read! :thumbsup:
    This especially made me laugh:
     
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  9. cvalue13

    cvalue13 Feb 23, 2020

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    I’ll admit I’m not a sailor, but this I’d assumed is a sport requiring some water resistance:

    upload_2020-2-23_20-46-33.jpeg
     
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  10. cvalue13

    cvalue13 Mar 22, 2020

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    Nicely done - look forward to the post bath pics!
     
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  11. pseikotick

    pseikotick Mar 26, 2020

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    I just watched Bridges of Madison County, mostly, and I have never seen a watch shown so often and so well in any movie. It was like an advertisement for the Wakmann Regate. In a post above, it was noted that it was odd to see a 70s Wakmann in a 90s movie, but the odd part was that the movie was set in 1965, and he was wearing a watch that wasn't made until several years later.

    My Clint Regate is better than expected.
    D3074F98-603D-44BD-9517-F17E37025A5F.jpeg 49B4AE9C-5569-4C7A-9732-F1AF02758803.jpeg 1568634F-8E5A-4EEC-A6BE-63D9A41238DD.jpeg 22067B66-BAFF-40B5-8F5E-1ACEF0898C29.jpeg

    And in response to the OP’s observations and remarks re the bracelet that came with his gold colored version: right now there are approximately 15 for sale or recently sold on eBay. Of that group, more than half now have leather straps of one kind or another. The balance have cheap twist o flex like bands. Two or three even have silver colored bands on gold watches. None that I noted have a bracelet that could pass for original. I’ll do some more research, but I’d be willing to bet these all had leather straps when sold new.
     
    Edited Apr 10, 2020
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  12. cvalue13

    cvalue13 Mar 26, 2020

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    sweet deal, and great strap choice
     
  13. BlueOtter

    BlueOtter Apr 6, 2020

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    Thanks for sharing. Was an entertaining read.
     
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  14. mzinski

    mzinski Apr 18, 2020

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    Well - popped it into the good old water tester at 3 atm and ...

    C1DC25CC-FDFD-418E-BD2B-233FCEC2F34E.jpeg

    ... it leaks! Like a sieve. Well, not that bad but it’s not great. Both the winding crown and the inner bezel crown allow water intrusion at that pressure. I did replace the gasket on the winding crown but perhaps it’s slightly off-size. I did not replace the gasket in the inner bezel crown. Maybe a bit more experimenting with gasket size and this could be water resistant to 3 atm.
    But on the plus side, I picked up a dark blue tropic for it. At least it looks like it’s meant for the water. It’ll look great at the yacht club and I’ll be super discreet when I take it off to wash my hands so know one knows it’s not meant for the water.
    0288E65F-CF1F-4D2A-B9D1-FD76A6CAC48E.jpeg
     
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  15. pIoNeErOfThEnILe

    pIoNeErOfThEnILe Apr 18, 2020

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    although ive moved on, there was a time in the late 90's i really wanted this watch. it always alluded me for one reason or another
     
  16. Norfolk

    Norfolk Apr 18, 2020

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