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Without distributors, many of the vintage watches that we know and love would never have entered the United States.
In the 1930s, the U.S. government passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill. Under the Bill, the tariff on Swiss watch exports—mainly the inexpensive, six jewel watches that flooded the market—was raised to 53%. In response, Swiss exports to the United States declined by 48%.
Tariffs waxed and waned throughout the next twenty years, as the United States and Switzerland entered trade agreements to bolster the world’s flagging economy, but the damage was done.
However, many savvy watch companies—from Heuer to Longines to Breitling—found a way around the duties on Swiss imports. They partnered with U.S.-based companies, to whom they’d send disassembled watch parts. The watches would then be assembled in the distributor’s headquarters and sold under the distributor’s name.
Wakmann was one such distributor. Founded in the 1940s, the company entered into a partnership with Breitling. Watches—mainly the chronographs with which Breitling made its name—were sent to Wakmann’s New York city facility and then sold into the U.S. under the Wakmann mark.
We’ve offered chronographs like this one before, and we simply can’t get enough of them. It’s a triple calendar chronograph powered by a Valjoux 723, a variant of the ever-popular Valjoux 72 equipped with day, date, and month. Even in this Digital Age, a triple calendar chronograph has a touch of whimsy that we lovers of “cool old things” find absolutely delightful.
Beyond their looks, a triple calendar chronograph proves the truth in the word “complication.” In an industry where anything—be it a date, a chronograph, or even alarms—is known as a complication, watches like this one that have more than one were incredibly hard to produce. Breitling introduced its first triple date chronograph, the Datora, in the 1940s, and by the time variants like this one came along, they only got better and better.
The sporty case, being 39mm, is larger than the more commonly-seen ones that we have offered previously. This makes it feel at home on the modern wrist. And the black-and-white “reverse panda” dial gives the watch an overall look and feel that still resonates with us today.
Possessing a strong case and a handsomely-aged dial, this Wakmann chrono is an artifact from a time in horological history. Though the brand might still be around today, it has never enjoyed as much success as it did during the Breitling years. The watches that they produced remain, handsome and sturdy, and just as desirable as they were when they were made.
Available exclusively at Marshall Pierce
Stainless steel case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown and pushers). Ref. 73.1307.70. Valjoux 732 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with signs of moderate use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and patina to the luminescent elements of the hands. Unsigned crown. Case back shows signs of moderate use and wear.
Includes one 20mm light brown leather strap.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options