Felco watch company, which later became Felca LTD, was founded in 1919 in Grenchen, Switzerland. The company began with just three employees and was full of hope after the end of the first world war.
Founder Fritz Schluep worked hard to achieve international reach, looking beyond Swiss borders. This led to Felcas first sales in Germany, America and Japan, with the company growing to 15 employees within a year. The focus was set on creating high quality, yet affordable watches. Bruno Schluep, the eldest son of Fritz, joined the company in 1945. He trained as a watchmaker, gaining experience during WW2 in American watch factories. This proved valuable as the US Army placed an order of 30,000 watches. This furthered Felca’s growth in international markets and Bruno was to spearhead this going forward.
In the early 1960s, Bruno had a meeting with Mr. Koh Mui Yew, a businessman from Singapore. The two reached an agreement to launch a new brand, Titoni. This sought to offer more expensive watches to a new clientele. The new brand also designed a logo, a stylised flower, the Meihua, which means “plum blossom” in Chinese. This venture inspired new models such as the Air Master and Sport Master. The Air Master was a ground-breaking watch with its innovative technology and styling.
The Air Master was released in 1969 and was an immediate hit worldwide, with its radically modern form and dress/sport combination of styling.
This watch is an unusual and striking example of the Air Master. It has a stylish and dressier case with twisted lugs, a black gloss dial with silver chapter ring for the hours. Most Airmasters are much more functional and clearer in appearance, whilst this example seems to take dressier design cues from watches such as the Universal Geneve Polerouter.
The dial is the standout aspect, with a gloss black centre with clean white signing, applied Titoni logo and Meihua flower, with applied false diamond. The date window is at 3 O’clock with internal magnifier within the crystal. Facetted Dauphine hands tell the time with a central second hand. The silver chapter ring for the hour markers is mirror polished and rounds off the slick black dial perfectly, leading into the classy case.
The 35mm case is Stainless Steel and is in good condition with screw back and clear engraving to the rear. The twisted lugs add intrigue to the circular case, whilst the side profile shows a thin tapered line to the middle, expanding out into the lugs. This mix of angles and lines creates a beautiful, yet understated case design, maintaining a neat depth of 9mm, whilst the lug-to-lug measurement adds presence at 44mm in length. To the right is the neatly designed and signed Steel crown. One of the finest and most pleasing cases I have seen on a vintage watch in a long time.
Inside is an AS calibre 1703. It has a jewel count of 21, incabloc shock protection, a date function and a frequency of 18,000 BPH. It is a good reliable Swiss made movement. It is keeping time to +15 seconds a day.
Full condition report below. Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.
The dial is original and is in good condition with only some slight marks. There is no wear to the gloss finish. The chapter ring has some slight corrosion spots.
The hands are original and of facetted Dauphine style, in average condition. They have some corrosion spots. The central second hand is also original. It is corroded to a brown tone.
This is the original acrylic crystal which is in good condition with only some very light marks. It has an internal date magnifier.
The crown is original and is made of Stainless Steel in good condition. The signed logo is clean.
The case is made of Stainless Steel and is in good condition. It has some light surface scratching associated with ageing. There are some slight marks on the sides. It has the original finish and has not been polished.
The screw back is in good condition. It has a polished finish with clear engraving. It has light surface scratching associated with ageing.
The watch is on a period 18mm genuine leather strap. It will fit up to an 8” wrist diameter.
The movement is a AS 1703. It has a jewel count of 21 and incabloc shock protection. It has a date function and a frequency of 18,000 BPH.
The service history is unknown, and the watch has not been serviced by ourselves. However, it is in good condition. It is keeping time to +15 seconds a day, with an amplitude of 240 degrees and a beat error of 0.2m/s.
Case width: 34.5mm
Case width with crown: 37mm
Case length: 34.5mm
Case length lug to lug: 44mm
Case Depth: 9mm
Lug width: 18mm
top of page
bottom of page