LIP Gents Dress Watch
$ 950.00

LIP Gents Dress Watch

While we make much of sports watches here at Analog/Shift, we can’t deny that there’s a time and a place to dress up. Let’s face it—sometimes you don't want to pair your dive watch with a bespoke suit. Fortunately for us, there are vintage dress watches.

Though seldom revolutionary in appearance, a dress watch from the 1950s and 1960s sings a song even sweeter than Ol’ Blue Eyes could ever croon.

And sometimes, though they may not look revolutionary, their stories—and the stories of the brands that made them—often are… quite literally.

Lip’s story began in 1867, when Emmanuel Lipman founded a clock workshop in Besançon, France. By the 20th century the company had become known as Lip and was producing 2500 pieces a year. Despite these early successes, Lip began to experience financial troubles.

It started in 1967, when Emmanuel’s descendant Fred took Lip public. Almost immediately, the Swiss consortium Ebauches S.A. (ancestor of the modern Swatch Group) bought 33% of the shares. While this was happening, the employees at Lip were swept up in the civil unrest in the summer of 1968.

What started as a student protest at the Paris University at Santerre led to a government shutdown, and the wheels of commerce ground to a shuddering halt as trade unions voted to strike in solidarity with the students. Since many of the employees at Lip belonged to a trade union affiliated with the Unified Socialist Party, they voted to join the strike. To forestall a complete shutdown of business, Fred Lipman promised to give the workers more seats on the company’s works council.

The employees held elections, and in the following year the newly-elected representatives (all members of the trade union) blocked Lipman’s proposal to eliminate the department in which many of the union members worked. Then, in 1970, Ebauches SA increased its holdings by 10 percent, and used that control to fire 1300 workers. By the next year, Fred Lipman was forced to resign.

In 1973, an action committee took control of the company, and this time, they took hostages—two company administrators and a government inspector. But the hostages were soon released, and the workers seized over 60,000 watches and hid them. The conflict escalated until the workers voted to occupy the factory 24 hours a day.

They opened the factory to the press, which attracted the support of the community of Besançon. On June 15, 1973, 12,000 protesters staged a demonstration in support of the workers. Emboldened, the workers voted to take formal control of the factory and continue production, under the slogan: “we make them, we sell them, we pay ourselves!”

During this turbulent period, Lip continued to produce watches. What we offer here is a dress watch produced in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Its clean, uncluttered dial owes much to the Bauhaus tradition of minimalism, while the unusual case design—with exposed rivets reminiscent of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak—is unflinchingly modern.

On its original strap—complete with hang tag—it’s clean and cool, brimming with strong mid-century vibes that are a perfect counterpoint to the turbulent times in which it was made. 

Details

SKU: AS02107

Stainless steel case is approximately 37mm. 1960s.

Stainless steel case is in excellent condition with sharp lugs and only the slightest signs of "shop wear" consistent with handling. Dial is likewise in excellent condition with crisp printing. Unsigned crown. Case back is in very good condition with minor signs of wear.

Includes one 20mm signed black leather Lip strap with hang tag.

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