18k yellow gold Wrist Chronometer no. 6372
Case: s/n; 110 449, 18k yellow gold, hallmark is a key with number 26 which refers to Ponti, Gennari & Cie, Geneve, Height 36.5 mm, Width 22.7 mm.
Dial: 18k yellow gold key hole cover with jump hour, minute disc and seconds, unsigned
Movement: s/n; 6372, unsigned Caliber TS10, 9’’’ x 10’’’ ½, tonneau”-shaped, 19 jewels, eight adjustments, “Poincon de Genève” (Geneva Quality Hallmark or Geneva seal). The movement serial number is closest to the movement serial numbers of a batch of 6 movements with serial numbers 6375-6380 which obtained the Poincon de Geneve seal on May 16, 1930. So in all probability the movement with serial number 6372 is from 1930 too.
1930 - Niton, Geneve
1930 - retailer like E. Gubelin or a Haute Horlogerie
2022 - Antiquorum
Antiquorum, Hong Kong, May 28, 2022, Important Modern & Vintage Timepiece, LOT 133;
Niton Digital Art Deco wristwatch, jump-hour; 18K yellow gold18K yellow gold, manual-winding, vertical rectangular-shaped, Art Deco gentleman’s wristwatch, snap-on case-back secured by two screws (on the case-band at 12 ‘clock, between the lugs).
Silvered silver (0.935) dial (by Stern, Geneva, No. 78), with subsidiary seconds at 6, digital minute indication in the centre and jump-hour indication at noon (aperture at 12 o’clock).
Brand Niton, Geneva
Year circa 1930-1935
Movement No. 6 372
Case No. 110 449 (by Ponti, Gennari & Cie, Geneva)
Material 18K yellow gold
Bracelet brown velvet leather strap
Buckle 18K yellow gold Art Deco buckle
Caliber 9’’’ x 10’’’ ½, “tonneau”-shaped, eight adjustments, “Poinçon de Genève” (Geneva Quality Hallmark or Geneva seal)
Height 36.5 mm.
Width 22.7 mm.
Notes from Antiquorum about Niton S.A., Geneva
Swiss trademark registered by Jeannet, Morel and Bourquin under No. 45 822, on December 12, 1919, under the name “Niton S.A., Fabricants d’horlogerie, Manufacture de montres artistiques, chronomètres, montres plates et ultra-plates, montres-bracelets à heures sautantes, à quantième et phases de lune” (Niton S.A., Manufacturers of timepieces, Manufacture of artistic watches, chronometers, flat and ultra-flat watches, jumping hours wristwatches, with calendar and moon phases”.
The manufacture of Niton watches was created in Geneva in 1919 by two craftsmen from Vacheron Constantin, Alfred Bourquin (1887-?) and Edouard Morel (1887-?). It was established in 1924 at 24, bis rue de la Servette.
At first, they specialise in the manufacture of watches whose movements are designed and manufactured by them. They are distinguished by their ultra-thin pocket watch calibres and their “baguette” movements with winders from below, at 12 o’clock or 3 o’clock; although they manufacture a whole range of other calibres, in particular of form, and, jewellery watches.
They are known to have made some of the most admirable wristwatches in the 1920-1930’s.
The sales method consists in selling directly to stores (for example, Gübelin in Lucerne, Golay Fils & Stahl in Geneva) or watch manufacturers, to which it provides either the movements alone or complete watches (for example, Chopard or Patek Philippe in Geneva).
Production remains artisanal. Changing modes, the crisis of the 1930s, industrial productions will force them to change course and move towards other manufacturing concepts. In 1940, Niton sold his manufacturing rights to Ebauches S.A. of Grenchen.
Finally, the brand was bought in 1957 by Carlo Sarzano, who will give it a new impetus by producing gold and gold metal watches of quality. In 1971, Niton merged with Sarcar S.A., already owned by Carlo Sarzano since 1948, and legally de facto disappears.
This watch looks similar to this one; https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-3117074
but is mentioned as, "signed C.H.Meylan" without showing the movement of this watch. However, the Niton watch is better preserved that the C.H. Meylan watch.
And it is known that, for the tonneau shape caliber 10TS integrated with the jump hour module, they both C.H. Meylan and Niton collaborated with ebauche maker Fils de Louis Elisee Piguet in 1927-1928. And that Niton's tonneau shaped caliber 10TS was developed and the first 10TS blanks/ ebauches were produced in 1926, before Meylan's (1928), both by Fils de Louis Elisee Piguet.
When looking at the the movement, the very high quality tonneau shaped caliber, shape of bridges, 19 jewels (!) in stead of 18 jewels, 8 adjustments, the 4-digit serial number and, the place of the 2 x Poincon de Geneve quality seals, also the case maker Ponti-Gennari are clear indications. Also the jump hour dial layout (jumping hour aperture in combination with minute disc and seconds) and key hole cover, they both patented by Niton.
In that time, it was for the high society, not appropriate or even desirable to wear brand names, which is why the brand name Niton is not on the watch or cover.
It may have been sold by Niton self, but because the movement doesn't have a Niton signature it is in all probability sold by, for example, E. Gubelin or an other Haute Jewelers or Horlogerie.
So it is 100% Niton. Movement, Dial, Case, Crown, Buckle are all authentic and original. And all in a very very good aesthetic shape, a real Gem.
Upon my inquiry to Antiquorum, I received the following information on May 25, 2022.
This watch and its movement are effectively unsigned. The attribution to Niton is based on the examination of similar watches that have appeared at public auctions and/or that we have had in our hands. Many of them are not signed or sometimes just with the name of a dealer, such as Gübelin or Golay Fils & Stahl.
The quality of the movement, its architecture, its period of production and the fact that it is twice stamped with the Geneva hallmark (“Poinçon de Genève), as well as its numbering, link it to what we know of this production.
An enlightened amateur has for years listed all this production on an excellent website that you can easily use as a basis for comparison by referring to the other sites mentioned for each watch: http://www.nitonsa.com
In particular, you can compare this movement to the one sold by our auction house on April 21, 2018, in Hong Kong, lot 60 (Niton, No. 6 647); https://catalog.antiquorum.swiss/en/lots/niton-geneve-lot-312-60?browse_all=1&page=1&q=niton
Moreover, having personally had access for many years to the Archives of the Genevan manufacture Patek Philippe, I can also mention that in 1931, following the Depression following the crisis of 1929, Niton (as well as Haas Neveux & Cie) was forced to sell ébauches at “low prices” to meet its commitments. I had in my hands some of these movements and they are perfectly identical to this one.
The condition of the piece and the fact that it is still with its original bracelet suggests that it has probably never been touched.
Photos requested attached.
Designs for the Niton digital dials, dated 1928, are published in:
Kahlert, Helmut, & Muhe, Richard, & Brunner, Gisbert L., Wristwatches, History of a Century’s Development, English Edition, Pennsylvania, Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1986, p. 59, ill. 198.
Brunner, Gisbert L., & Pfeiffer-Belli, Christian, Schweizer Armbanduhren, Chronologie eines Welterfolges, Swiss-Watch-Design in alten Anzeigen un Katalogen, Munich, Callwey, 1990, p. 59, ill. 115.
My best regards.