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- Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:10 pm
Here it is:
For what it's worth, Nitella was a Swedish market brand of the vast Nicolet holding, based in Tramelan. The intended market of the watch is made clear by the case back marking:
"Kvalitetsur" simply means "quality watch" in Swedish, and in case of this one, I'd say the term is fully justified.
The dial's still in great shape, with all the lume plots intact.
The lume, while long dead, is the star of the show here... If any of you aren't familiar with these markings...
...allow me to explain. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, manufacturers tried to replace radium with a safer radio-luminescent material. Tritium ultimately gained a foothold in watchmaking, however the first alternative to radium was promethium-147. It had a decent glow, and wasn't nearly as viciously radioactive as radium.
Unfortunately, promethium-147 has a very short half-life. Tritium has one of 12.5 years, or thereabouts. Promethium-147...just 2.5 years. That's right. Just about every single time during a regular service, it'd have to be relumed. I don't know if this was - if it ever was, that was done damn well.
Because the use of promethium-147 in watches was short-lived and unpopular, a nice watch with Pm markings for promethium lume is a cool find.
Even if it wouldn't have that added bit of history, this watch is a cool thing to have. The case measures 35mm, and 44mm from one beefy lug to another. The design with the date placement at 6 o'clock, the dauphine hands, beefy lugs, flat bezel and large crown really reminded me of the "fat lug" Omega Seamasters. Go figure, whoever designed this one, probably knew said Seamasters full well.
Anyway, here comes the second star of the show, the movement. Say hello to the AS (Adolf Schild) cal. 1701:
http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db. ... wk&AS_1701
On the contrary to the info in the entry for this movement in the Ranfft archive, the manual wind feature seems to not be detached in this one.
With that finishing and 3 adjustments, this was a more than decent movement back in the day. Not the top 30-jewel version, but 25 is more than sufficient.
No date quickset as such here, but there is a semi-quickset by changing 20:50-24h. In other words, turn the hands to past midnight, until the date switches, turn them back to 20:50, and then past midnight again, repeat the process until the correct date is set.
All in all, I'm really happy with this addition to the collection.
A wrist shot to wrap it up:
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade