Wittnauer Chronograph

Wittnauer Chronograph

The story of the A. Wittnauer Company--and the man who founded it--is so inspirational that it could be a film by Ron Howard. Albert Wittnauer immigrated to New York City in the 1870s, a lad of sixteen with ambitions as wide as the Atlantic. He came to work for his brother-in-law, Eugene Robert, an importer of fine Swiss timepieces by brands such as Jaeger LeCoultre and Vacheron et Constantin. His experiences working for his brother-in-law inspired him to make watches of his own, with the reliability and craftsmanship of Swiss watches at a lower price point to appease the thrifty American public. He established the A. Wittnauer Company in 1885, at the age of only thirty-one.

Around that time, Wittnauer became the distributor for Longines watches in the United States, and would often house Longines movements in Wittnauer-branded cases. Together with Longines, Wittnauer gained a reputation for their excellent aviation instruments and chronographs. Aviators such as Amelia Earhart piloted their planes with instruments made by Wittnauer, and daredevil aviator Jimmy Mattern wore a Wittnauer AllProof in his aborted flight around the world in 1933. 

Longines formally bought Wittnauer in the 1950s, and the brand continued to produce exceptional chronographs at a more competitive price point than their Swiss contemporaries. But like so many watch brands, Wittnauer folded in the face of budget crises in the mid-1980s, causing Longines to dissolve their relationship with Wittnauer. Their watches remain, a testament to their ingenuity and elegance.

The watch that we have here, the ref. 3256, has everything you could want in a vintage chronograph. Handsome looks: that patinated dial, those tapered skeleton hands, blued sweep hands in the twin chronograph registers, that brushed case. It's also powered by a dependable movement, the Venus cal. 188. 

If you've been lusting after a vintage chronograph, but don't want the price tag that comes with the big names like Universal Geneve and Breiting, then look no further.


Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm in diameter (excluding crown). Venus cal. 188 manual-winding movement. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: The case is in very good condition over all, with only the slightest signs of light use in keeping with its age. Dial is in excellent condition. Hands are in similar excellent condition, showing fine, even patina on the luminescent elements. Case back is in similarly excellent condition; unsigned crown.

Includes one 18mm brown leather analog/shift strap and two nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.

SKU: AS01410

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