For sale we have a pleasing example of an early 1960s Mudu Doublematic watch. It has a 33mm Rose gold filled case which is a good tone, with an ‘M’ signed, chunky crown to the right-hand side. The silver satin dial is neat with rose gold tone arrow hour markers and Arabic 6, 9, 12 balanced with the date window at 3 O’clock. It is signed with the MuDu logo and the Doublematic model name. The dauphine style hour hands are a rose gold tone, matching the case. It has a signed Steel screw back to the rear.
Inside is the AS 1681 automatic movement, which has 25 jewels and is keeping good time.
It is rare to find decent examples, with the lack of organised sales and repair networks and the illegal nature of the watches.
The MuDu name was registered in Switzerland on the 5th July 1957, belonging to Brevinex SA/Kurt Dubach of Geneva. It is thought that the name was a shortening of the name of Muller and Durbach in Geneva.
There was a rumour that MuDu watches were actually made as a sister brand of Blancpain watches, with another rumour that Blancpain workers made the watches ‘out-of-hours’. The third rumour and probably the best, is that ex-employees walked out with suitcases full of movements and cases to start new manufacture. These rather lively rumours were likely born out of the illegal manner in which MuDu watches entered Britain.
From the mid 1950s and throughout the 1960s, MuDu watches were smuggled into the UK through ports. These included Southampton and the old City of Bristol docks. They were then sold in pubs, markets and other unofficial channels. This was done to avoid the high duties on assembled Swiss watches post war, and subsequently the watches were often provided without straps.
There is a confirmed story in the book “Drug War: The Secret History”, where Peter Walsh tells of a senior customs officer, Samuel Charles, who in 1961 raided a smuggling operation, which included watches. They were seized from a well-known London gangster, Paddy Onions. A Christopher Ward forum member also recalls purchasing a MuDu 25 jewel Doublematic for £5, from a Customs & Excise sale of seized goods in 1961. There are many other accounts in forums of friends and family members buying there watch from a shifty character in a pub or market.
We think MuDu offered good quality watches, of a pleasing design. Combined with its smuggling history, what a fun vintage watch we have.
Full condition report below. Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.
The dial is in good original condition. It has a silver satin base tone with applied rose gold tone arrow and Arabic numerals. It has a light speckled patina and some light marks. The hour markers are good, with little corrosion and the original lume plots.
The luminous Dauphine style hands are original. They are in good condition with some slight marking. The tone is good. The lume has been replaced to the centre. The second hand is also original.
The acrylic crystal is a replacement and is in perfect condition.
The gold-plated crown is original, with the ‘M’ logo. It is in good condition with light scratching.
The case is gold filled to 10 microns and is in decent condition for the age. It has some wear to the tips of the lugs, as expected with ageing. The plate to the sides and bezel is good. It has light surface scratching associated with age.
The screw back is Stainless Steel and is in good unpolished condition for the age. It has light surface scratching. There are some small marks from poor opening. The original brushed finish to the face remains. The engraving is good and clear.
The watch comes on new genuine leather strap.
The movement is an AS calibre 1681. It is an automatic movement with sweep central second and date function. It has a jewel count of 25 and a frequency of 18,000 BPH. It also has the benefit of detached manual wind.
The service history is unknown, but the movement is in cosmetically good condition and is keeping time. It’s keeping time to +/- 50 seconds a day, with an amplitude of 230 degrees and a beat error of 6.4m/s. Without a service history, a service is recommended eventually, but for now it can be enjoyed.
Case width: 33mm
Case width with crown: 35.25mm
Case length: 33mm
Case length lug to lug: 41mm
Case Depth: 11mm
Lug width: 17mm
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