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Arnex. Unless you grew up in far western Switzerland, you're likely unfamiliar with the name.
One of the exciting parts of vintage collecting is finding hidden gems. Even though the watch world has gotten much smaller and easier to navigate, there are still unexplored corners that yield pleasant surprises. All too often, attention is given to the brand name of a watch with little consideration going to the overall build quality, the movement and the design language. In a nutshell, this is why Big Red Daytonas are trading at hundreds of thousands of dollars and rarer watches with the same movement and comparable build quality (think Universal Genève Compaxes) trade for tens.
Arnex suffers from the same plight, and if this were any other watch site and you were any other Joe Schmo, this watch might wither in obscurity. But this is analog/shift.
Arnex is not a known brand in the States, but our European friends might have heard the name. Like so many other brands from the 1960s and 70s, Arnex was a regional retailer that used contract cases, dials and hands in combination with Swiss movements to create branded timepieces. And in this instance, they hit the nail on the head.
The steel case on this watch might look familiar. Built en-masse for numerous brands (including the coveted yachtingraf from Yema), these straight-lugged stainless cases bear a striking resemblance to mid-sixties Ed White Speedmasters with the exception of the rotating M/H (minutes/hours) bezel. Aesthetically, the watch sings; the glossy black dial with large luminous markers is flawless and the broad arrow luminous hands (another nod to Omega design) ooze 1960s cool. Of course, the kicker is the red 'lollipop' sweep hand that helps to make the red flash on the minute sub-register jump while giving the watch that vintage chrono styling.
Inside ticks a Valjoux drivetrain signed by J. P. Pingouin, the revered Swiss assembly house that helped many small brands and retailers compile their creations.
Inside and out, there is nothing about this watch we don't like and nothing we are left wanting, making this one of those rare opportunities to dive under the radar and snag an incredible piece worthy of any collection.
Stainless Steel case is approximately 38.5mm (excluding crown). Valjoux 7730 Manually-Winding Chronograph movement. Circa late 1960s.
Overall Condition: The watch is in very good condition over all, showing normal signs of light wear from age and use. Glossy black dial shows light signs of aging and patina. The original hands are in excellent condition. MH (minutes/hours) bezel rotates smoothly without catching or binding. Pump pushers are firm and engage the chronograph functions crisply. Screw case back and unsigned crown.
Includes one 19mm Tropic-style strap and two nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.