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We love the obscure here at Analog/Shift. In the realm of vintage chronographs, our catalog is filled with names like Gallet and Universal Genève, long-dead manufactures whose products are suddenly enjoying a renaissance in today's market. But every so often we like to go for something truly unique and unknown, like this chronograph from BWC.
BWC or Buttes Watch Company was founded in 1924 in Neuchâtel by Alfred Charlet. Charlet focused primarily on producing pocket watches. Distribution was limited to Germany, England, Poland, and Spain, before expanding overseas to the US and Canada.
In the 1950s through the 1970s--under the leadership of Charlet's son-in-law Edwin Volkart--BWC enjoyed a period of great success. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s BWC concentrated on producing high-grade mechanical watches. They used movements from Lemania, as well as Landeron and Valjoux, housing them in thick stainless steel cases.
Unlike many brands (like Gallet and Universal Genève) BWC was able to weather the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s, when the watch market was flooded by the inexpensive and reliable battery-powered watches from Japan. Part of the brand's survival stemmed from its embrace of the new technologies. In 1957 BWC produced its first watch with electronic components, and by 1975 had produced its first quartz watch, in a decade when the Swiss (despite being early pioneers in developing electronic watches) were largely resistant to the new technology.
BWC also embraced changes in styles, producing watches like the one watch from the 1970s that we offer here, which houses a Landeron 248 in a chunky square case. It's the case that puts the watch in a family with the Heuer Camaro. There's a definite heft to the thick, square case, but it has soft edges, making it easy to wear on the wrist.
But the dial is perhaps the real draw here--a "panda" with the subsidiary registers faded to a beautiful gray. It's somewhat softer than the typical black and white that's most usually seen. Sporty and square, it exudes 1970s funkiness, perfect for the collector who wants a watch that's just a little offbeat.
Stainless steel case is approximately 35.5mm (excluding crown). Landeron 248 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1970s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp bevels on the lugs. Case does have minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with use and age. Dial is in very good condition with no major blemishes or signs of hand drag, and fine even patina, particularly to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Unsigned crown. Case back has some scratches and tool marks but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 19mm rubber Tropic strap and two 19mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle