Sandoz notes their founding in 1870 but that is stretching the truth a bit. Henry Sandoz began making watches at the Odin watch factory in 1870 but it wasn’t until 1914 that Henry Sandoz took over the Odin watch factory and began producing watches under the Sandoz name. In 1920, Henry’s son, Hermann joined his father and the firm was renamed to Henry Sandoz & Fils, which is the name that you can see printed on the movement of this watch. The company which would set its roots in La Chaux-de-Fonds over the next fifty years would specialize in ultra-thin movements and watches. This led to the development of the Caliber HSF 55 which was claimed as the thinnest movement in the world when it was developed in 1955. By the 70’s the company had lost significant market share and was merged into the Société Des Garde-Temps SA along with Elgin, Fleurier Watch, Invicta, and Waltham.
There are 3 classifications of diving watches that became popular in the 1960’s and 70’s. The first is the professional dive watches, used by deep sea divers, maritime salvage divers and others. Then there are the traditional dive watches, think Rolex Submariner, that are extremely functional and usually bulky by design. Then there are the skin divers, the category that this watch fits into, that, while waterproof, were really made for the enthusiast looking for a stylish dive watch without all of the bulk and heft of a traditional or professional dive watch. These skin diver watches were hugely popular and nearly every brand made a skin diver. They seem to hit a sweet spot between form and function that makes them still popular to this day. It makes sense too. Most of us will never dive with a watch so why not get something that will perform well on the beach without the bulk and heft of a more traditional dive watch.
The 38mm stainless steel case is in overall good condition. It has scratches throughout the case commensurate with its age. Like most other divers this case features a rotating bezel which can be used to time a dive. Of note is the still intact lume plot on the top of the bezel which is often missing from similar watches. The signed caseback and crown appear correct and are thought to be original to this watch.
The Dial and Hands
The black dial is in very good condition. The simple 6, 9, 12 configuration is of classic design and a date window at 3 completes the look. The lume across the dial has aged and accumulated dirt over time but the aging is consistent across the dial which points to its originality. The lume on the minute hand appears lighter than that of the rest of the dial though indicating a possible relume on that hand.
This watch is powered by a 25 jewel automatic movement that is signed Henry Sandoz & Fils. The watch is running. The service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Automatic, 25 Jewel|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Rubber Strap|
|Clasp Type||Stainless Steel Buckle|