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For the Gallet family, horology is in the blood.
The Gallets have been making watches in Switzerland since Humbertus Gallet became a citizen of Geneva in 1466. 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, that valley nestled in the Jura mountains that has spawned such horological icons as Breitling, Girard-Perregaux, Movado, Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Heuer, among many others. The new connections and prestige in La Chaux-du-Fonds allowed Julien Gallet 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 attracted 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 U.S. market. Offices were opened in Chicago and, later, New York. All 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, among others--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 produced 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, first wristwatch with rotating 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, many were intended as tool watches for military and industrial professionals, 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, would likely have found use in aviation, motorsports, or military use, 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 stalwart Valjoux 72 and is in absolutely excellent overall condition, 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 and pushers). Valjoux 72 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1970s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case has only minimal signs of careful use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with even patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Unsigned crown. Case back has some slight signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm black leather Analog/Shift strap and two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle