Even though this watch says Longines on the dial, its history actually starts with the American Eugene Robert and his 16 year old Swiss immigrant brother-in-law, Albert Wittnauer. Mr. Roberts was a successful importer of high end watches such as Vacheron & Constantin and Jaeger LeCoultre, and in 1866, when Longines set up its operations in earnest, he established a company to be the exclusive US importer for the brand. The company would come to be known as Longines-Wittnauer Co., which is the name inscribed on the inside of the case of this watch.
In the first half of the 20th century, the watch importing business in the United States functioned very differently than it does today. In most scenarios, movements were imported into the U.S. and were then cased in the United States as a means of lessening the tax burden on the importer. That scenario tracks with the creation of this watch as well, although we can’t prove that the reason for this was tax benefits. In the case (pun not intended) of this watch, after receiving the movement from Longines in Switzerland, Longines-Wittnauer Co. employed Lutringer & Kammerer of New York to produce the watches case out of solid 14k gold. As a result this watch, and many others like it, represent the intersection of Swiss and American watch making at its finest. It should also be noted that Longines-Wittnauer Co. employed Lutringer & Kammerer to produce similar cases for other brands in their portfolio as well.
The 25.5mm x 30mm 14k gold case is in good condition. The simple rectangular design is accented nicely by concave teardrop lugs that give the watch an art deco feel. The crown looks correct for the watch but it has lost its gold plating. The curved acrylic crystal is in matching good condition.
The Dial and Hands
The dial is the unfortunate downside to this watch and is most likely an earlier redial. The silver dial itself is in fair condition but has accumulated a bit of dust. The gold applied hour markers are in a nice font but the outer minute track seems to clash with the overall design.
This watch features a manually wound Longines 10L movement. The watch is running and the service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manual, Longines Cal. 10L|
|Case Width||25.5mm by 30mm|
|Case Material||14k Yellow Gold|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|