Wittnauer Chronograph with Box and Papers
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Wittnauer Chronograph with Box and Papers

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. 3256-228T, has everything you could want in a vintage chronograph. Handsome looks: that patinated dial, those gorgeous Dauphine hands, blued sweep hands in the twin chronograph registers, that brushed case. It's also powered by a dependable movement, the 14Y, a modified Landeron 249 produced especially for Wittnauer. 

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

Details

Stainless steel case is approximately 35mm (excluding crown). Reference 3256-228T, Wittnauer 14Y manual-winding chronograph movement.

Stainless steel case is in very good condition, with sharp bevels on the twisted lugs and only slight signs of wear and use in keeping with its age, particularly on the side of the case in between the pushers, which show some light oxidation. Dial is in excellent condition, with no major blemishes or signs of discoloration, and a fine even patina on the luminescent hour plots, which matches that on the hands. Signed crown; unsigned case back.

Includes one 20mm tan analog/shift strap and two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle.

Also includes full compliment of box, papers, warranty card, and instruction manual.

SKU: AS01477.

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