1920s Blancpain A Lecoultre American Art Deco dress watch, Serviced, gold filled, Illinois watch case co. Elgin Tivoli case.
This is a beautiful watch, especially with its Pumpkin coloured lume on the dial and hands, which has aged perfectly. The watch has been serviced and is a beautiful watch for the Art Deco collector.
The movement maker, unbranded dial and Illinois watch case co. movement may seem confusing, so please allow an explanation of how this watch came to be! It is original.
The story behind a Blancpain movement in this Art Deco watch
Blancpain was taken over by the bookeeper, Betty Fiechter who continued to see the need for ladies baguette shaped watches in the American market. Blancpain proceeded in the Art Deco period, to sell their own watches to the American market, as well as their movements. These were often signed with one or more names, one of which was A. Lecoultre. They made for omega too and eventually they were taken under the umbrella of the Omega name.
Roland Ranftt, an authority on watches and movements who runs Ranfft.De, commented on the partnership, stating there was a cooperation between Blancpain and Ami Lecoultre (also in Brassus). Ami Lecoultre became Lecoultre-Piaget in 1881, and designed and/or manufactured movements for other companies.
These movements were often sold to the US market, in partnership with Blancpain, to jewellers, who would offer a "Jobber" selection of watches, which was also often the case with the brands Elgin, Waltham, Illinois as well. This explains the pairing of such movements with cases not marked with the name Blancpain. Illinois watch Case Co. Elgin Tivoli, were prominent US case makers in the Art Deco period and provided many cases to jewellers for these jobber watches, as well as providing their cases to US brands. Dials would then be selected to go with the selected case and movement, creating a beautiful watch for the customer.
Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.
The dial is beautifully laid out with clear and bold Arabic numerals. These are evenly laid out with three on the top and bottom and 3 on each side. There is an excellent shadow effect with the black outline overlapping on the underside and right side of the numerals. Combining this with the perfectly and evenly aged Pumpkin colour luminescence, the numerals have a strong texture and drop shadow appearance, despite being near flat.
The tracks are all very clear and in excellent condition. The sub second track is very pleasing with its sectored outer layout and exaggerated numerals.
This is one of the most enjoyable dials I have seen on an Art Deco watch, with lume being very rare on a dress watch in this era. It is in very good overall condition for the age.
The thermally blued Cathedral style hands, combined with the perfectly aged Pumpkin lume are absolutely stunning. The hour and minute hand are both original "Cathedral" style hands, which are thermally blued. These are in good condition, with some tarnishing due to age. The sub second hand is a replacement but is also thermally blued and era correct.
A replacement plastic crystal in good condition, some frosting to the corners.
The crown appears to be a replacement and is in average condition. It is a good fit to the watch.
Presumed white gold filled composition although I am not certain. A well made case with engraved bezel by Illinois watch case co. Elgin Tivoli. It is a size 10 1/2 and is marked Laco also, which likely refers to the watch brand.
The case back is in good condition, with no large scratches, only light surface scratches. There is some wear to the gold fill on the very edges of the case back on the underside.
A vintage Stanton stainless steel patented strap from the period. This expands and fits up to a 7 inch wrist.
A recently serviced, Blancpain Robbins A. Lecoultre 15 jewels, three adjustments movement. Keeping time to +69 seconds a day with an amplitude of 260 and a beat error of 2.5m/s.
Case width: 27mm
Case width with crown: 30mm
Case length: 30.5mm
Case length lug to lug: 38mm
Case Depth: 8.5mm
Lug width: 16mm