Kelton is often thought of as the French arm of Timex, and for good reason, because it was! While the connection between the two brands might be known, the story of how Kelton came into existence, however, is much less documented. In 1955, Stephane Boullier, the head of Vixa watches, flew to the United States with one goal in mind, to get the Americans at Timex to invest in french watchmaking. Not wanting to jeopardize the Timex brand, which was already famous at that point, the execs at Timex agreed to fund the endeavor if they could come up with a new, different name. According to Mr. Boullier, when the managers at Timex asked him what hotel he was staying at he answered Elton. So, through his heavy French accent, Kelton was born. Later that same year, a workshop was established in France, and the production of Kelton watches began.
By the early 70’s, Kelton was producing over 2 million watches per year, sponsoring some of the biggest names in sports and music including French singer Sylvie Vartan and Formula 1 driver Emerson Fittipaldi. However, the quartz crisis was right around the corner and, like many brands of that era, Kelton would take a big hit. In 1987, production ended and the brand sat idle until the early aughts when it would be revived by a non-Timex related company.
Seen here is a 1978 Kelton Marlin Sports watch with a horizontal checkered flag printed over the dial. The ref. 27675, carrying the TIMEX M105 hand winding movement, has become a popular watch amongst collectors for its race-inspired dial and case shape. The European versions of this watch, as seen here, have the 25 Metres depth rate printed on the dial where the US versions only mention that the watch is water resistant.
This piece was purchased by the current owner on Dial + Bezel and has decided to relist it for sale after wearing it for a few months.
The 37mm polished stainless steel case is in excellent condition as is the crystal. Both show no blemishes of note. The case features a rotation 60 minute bezel with all markings showing no signs of fading, a rarity for a watch of this age. The pry off caseback is also in excellent condition.
The Dial and Hands
The dial on this Kelton watch punches way above its weight with finishing and design seen in much more expensive watches. The black and which checkered band across the entire face is the highlight of the design and contrasts perfectly with the dark grey sunburst dial color that has taken on a tropical sheen. Additionally, the dial is accented by orange and which sandwich hour markers which are in excellent condition.
This watch features the Timex M105 manually wound movement. The M105 is based on the Timex M24 but with a different dial mounting system. The watch is running and keeping good time. The service history is unknown.
|Model||Marlin Sport Calendar|
|Movement||Manual Wind Timex M105|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Nylon Strap|