Tavannes Chronograph

Tavannes Chronograph

Tavannes Watch Company is a result of the marriage between two companies: Cyma, founded by the Schwob brothers, and Tavannes Watch Company, a smaller entity bearing the same name founded by the entrepreneur Henri Sandoz. Sandoz had been operating out of Le Locle, but moved to the village of Tavannes--home to the Schwob brothers--in 1891 and concentrated his production on repeaters and chronographs. The Schwobs' main stock in trade had been assembling watches out of parts from various Swiss companies. But the relationship with Sandoz turned into a profitable business partnership, and they merged their companies in 1903. 

After their merger, the company frequently used both of the parent companies' names.  Whether under the name of Cyma, Tavannes, or even Cyma-Tavannes, their timepieces stood for accuracy and innovation. The merger allowed the company to run one of the largest manufacturers in Switzerland by 1910. When other companies were just starting to standardize their parts, Cyma did them one better, and ensured that each part was not only interchangeable, but made to precise standards ensuring the highest standards of accuracy.

In keeping with Sandoz's focus on chronographs, Tavannes/Cyma made some incredible chronographs. The present example is no exception.  To begin, the seemingly case discreetly hides an ingenious design; the movement is shrouded in a steel 'clamshell' that then fits into the top bezel assembly with affixed lugs.  This was pioneered as early as the 1930s in an effort to increase water and dust resistance but comes to life in the unusually large (38mm) steel case.  The dial, with its telemetre tracks, looks rightfully technical, but the glossy black finish and crisp gilt printing give this piece a distinct dress feel.  Inside, the sleek, 14 lignes Valjoux 22 movement (which was produced for roughly 6 decades) chirps away at 18,000 beats per hour, paying homage to the Swiss powerhouse whose drive trains have become synonymous with quality and reliability.

We're telling you, if the dial said "Patek Philippe" instead of "Tavannes," this watch would likely be going for millions at auction. The fact that we can offer you something of this quality without that prohibitive price tag is insane. We'll be pretty sad to see it go, but we know that it'll be adorned with pride by the lucky so-and-so who buys it. 


Stainless steel case is approximately 38mm in diameter, excluding crown. Valjoux 22 movement. Circa 1950s.

Overall Condition: The case is in very good condition overall with only the slightest signs of light use in keeping with its age, particularly on the bezel. Gilt dial is in excellent condition. Hands are in similar excellent condition. Case back is in pristine condition, showing traces of factory brush finishing; unsigned crown.

Includes one 20mm brown Horween Shell Cordovan strap and two nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.

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