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The Gallets have been making watches in Switzerland since 1466, when Humbertus Gallet became a citizen of Geneva. Nearly four hundred years later, in 1826, Julien Gallet registered the name Gallet et Cie for his watchmaking company and relocated to La Chaux-du-Fonds, the valley nestled in the Jura mountains that has spawned such horological icons as Breitling, Girard-Perregaux, Movado, Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Heuer. With new connections in La Chaux-du-Fonds Julien Gallet was able to extend the reputation and distribution of his pocket watches throughout Europe. The purchase of Grumbach & Co. in 1855, by Julien's son Léon, allowed Gallet to increase production and attract the best watchmakers of the day, whom Gallet allowed to register patents in their own names.
In 1864, Léon's brother Lucien, together with their cousin, Jules Racine, scion of another Swiss watchmaking dynasty, expanded the brand into the American market. Offices were opened in Chicago and, later, New York. Initially, Gallet watches distributed in the United States were sold under the Racine name.
To counter the encroaching advances of the American watch industry on the Swiss-made timepiece market, Léon, along with Ernest Francillion of Longines and Constant Girard-Gallet (a cousin) of Girard-Perregaux, formed a strategic partnership in 1876. The Societe Intercantonale des Industries du Jura (Intercantonal Society for Industries of the Jura Region), solidified the dominance of Swiss watches in Europe. By the time Léon died in 1899, Gallet et Cie was producing nearly 100,000 watches a year.
The manufacture has long been on the forefront of horological innovation. They’ve achieved an impressive number of impressive wristwatch “firsts," including the first waterproof chronograph wristwatch, the first wristwatch with a 28,800 BPH escapement, the first wristwatch with rotating outer bezel and the first chronograph wristwatch with a 24-hour GMT complication. Considering how often we see these features in watches from nearly every significant brand today, one cannot overstate Gallet’s contributions to the watch industry.
Of the many watches produced by Gallet in the 20th century, the MultiChron chronographs are some of the most significant and collectible today. Although they are refined and stylish, they were initially intended as tool watches for military and industrial professionals, with many featuring decimal, pulsometer and telemeter tracks on the dials. The MultiChron 12H, so named for its third register and capability of recording up to twelve hours, found use in aviation, motorsports, and military applications, as the easily readable dial, black Arabic numerals and colored outer scales, allow for quick and precise reading.
The look of the entire watch, from its sharp steel lines and beveled edges to its barrel pushers and uncluttered dial, is simply breathtaking. The black dial is the most desirable of the series, made famous by Formula 1 legend Jim Clark. Internally, the MultiChron 12Hs were fitted with either Valjoux 72 or Excelsior Park 40 manufacture movements, both venerable chronograph calibers. This particular example is fitted with the rarer EP40 movement and is in absolutely excellent overall condition with an incredible tropical patination, making it without question the nicest example we've ever come across. All said, this makes for a stylish high-quality watch from one of the lesser known - but most important - brands in the Swiss watch industry.
Stainless steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown). Excelsior Park Calibre 40 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1950s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in excellent condition with sharp bevels, strong lugs, and only light signs of wear from age and use. Dial is in beautiful, aged condition with incredible tropical patina and only light signs of wear. Luminescent elements on the of the hour markers and hands have aged evenly. Case back is in very good condition with some light tool marks. Barrel pushers and unsigned crown.
Includes one 18mm Rugged Handmade Leather Bulang & Sons strap and two 18mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle
Also includes Gallet inner and outer boxes.