I hope that this somewhat-pointless research project into Dulfi, Mulfi, and Henri Müller helps illustrate my approach to learning about the history of the watch industry and my reliance on primary sources for information. We can trace the foundation of Henri Müller & Fils with confidence and can definitely know the dates of establishment of Mulfi and Dulfi. We even have some images of ads and watches that came along the way.
Chronographs are so popular that cheap fashion watches today often feature bogus subdials with non-functional hands and pushers. But once upon a time, a chronograph was a simple tool seen more as an advanced stopwatch than a true complication. What was once a utilitarian tool for soldiers became an upscale choice for doctors, then an iconoclast choice for young people, and now a sign of fine watchmaking.
Automatic watches were hot in the 1950s, and chronographs were cool in the 1960s. But bringing these technologies together was not at all straightforward! Three different automatic chronograph movements were launched in 1969, and the story of their creation reflects the state of the industry at that time as well as the inevitability of technological progress.
Today’s “Watch A Day” is a real classic: A Swiss chronograph in a gold case with the historic Venus 175 movement ticking inside. It’s a joy to wear and enjoy such a wonderful timepiece!
Whenever this subject of iconic watches comes up, you can be sure the Patek Philippe Calatrava is all over the list. Yet it’s hard to pin down which Calatrava is the one to get. With over 100 references produced, I am still trying to identify The Perfect Patek Philippe Calatrava. Ref. 96 has a lot going for it other than “first”, with the perfect case, wonderful dials, and small seconds. Check out this white gold Ref. 96 from Robert Maron – it’s the best Ref. 96 I could find today!
A “gold watch” is an archetypal reward for years of meritorious service to a company. But how cool would it be if your company contracted with Patek Philippe to build a special set of 20 Calatrava watches? That’s exactly what General Motors Overseas Operations did in 1954, and these watches are a unique collectible today!
It is difficult for a watch enthusiast on a budget to enter the world of complicated watches. Adding anything more than time and date quickly ratchets up the price beyond what most people can afford. This is especially true of chiming watches – good luck finding a mechanical Repeater or Sonnerie priced less than a car! But Reveil (or alarm) watches are the exception: These can often be found on a budget. Today we will look at a few that are up for auction and decide which (if any) is a buy.
I don’t usually talk about military watches, but this Breguet Type 20 caught my attention. It has fantastic patina, from the faded lume to the cracked crystal, and it represents a unique part of history. I’m not sure it’s worth the € 3,000 starting bid, but it might well be to an enthusiast.
Sometimes when browsing watches one stumbles upon something that seems seriously out of place. Such was the case when I spotted a Scuderia Ferrari-branded Zenith Chronograph in the listings for tomorrow’s Chrono24/Auctionata auction: Sure, there are Ferrari-branded watches today, but this one dates to “around 1950” and has a yellow logo!
Today, a vintage Rolex Explorer or Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic can command $10,000 or more, yet I just purchased a beautiful Nivada Antarctic at auction for just € 450.