Wittnauer Professional Chronograph
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Wittnauer Professional Chronograph

Before the Digital Age, the passage of time was recorded manually, marked by the stately sweep of a chronograph hand. A chronograph became an essential piece of kit for everyone whose life revolved around accurate timekeeping. From aviators and astronauts to soldiers, sailors, and race car drivers—all strapped chronographs to their wrists.

It’s uncertain when manufactures began applying the “professional” appellation to their watches. However, it’s possible that it happened after the Omega Speedmaster passed rounds of rigorous tests by NASA for use in the space program. The Speedmaster of course passed, and Omega designated the watch as “Professional” to celebrate the feat.

Other manufactures followed suit in the mid-to-late 1960s, Wittnauer being among them.

Established in the 1870s, Wittnauer had a long and well-established tradition of making watches, and making them well. The brand made its name early on in the production of highly-accurate and well-made timekeeping instruments for airplanes. Aviators like Amelia Earhart wore Wittnauers in their flights, and Charles Lindbergh collaborated with Wittnauer’s partner (and eventual parent company), Longines, to create the Hour Angle wristwatch, which was distributed in the U.S. by Wittnauer.

And by the 1960s, Wittnauer’s chronographs had a reputation for accuracy and robustness that attracted the attention of NASA.

It’s uncertain which model of chronograph Wittnauer submitted to NASA for inclusion in the trials. However, even though the watch didn’t pass, Wittnauer was proud enough of the honor to mention the tests in advertising materials. And the chronographs that the brand produced in the late 1960s all bore the designation “Professional.”

This particular chronograph is a 239T Professional Chronograph, Reference 7004A.

With its cherry red bezel, it’s perhaps the most easily-recognizable chronograph of Wittnauer's. The large stainless steel case, capped by the bright rotating bezel, is unmistakable and hard to miss. Longines manufactured one at the same time, and even reintroduced it a couple of years ago.

We’ve offered several of these beauties before. In fact, it’s safe to say we’re enamored of them. Large without being bulky, stylish without being flashy, they’re among some of the finest chronographs of the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

The one that we offer here is a later version, most likely produced in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It differs from earlier iterations in that it’s powered not by the Landeron Calibre 248, but by the Valjoux 7733 movement. Well-made inside and out, with a handsomely-weathered bezel, strong case, and eye-catching "arrow" minute hand, it’s indicative of a time and place when watches were more than just accessories, but indispensable tools that you wouldn’t leave home without.

We’re sure you wouldn’t want to either.

Details

SKU: AS02191

Stainless steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown). Wittnauer 239T Reference 7004A. Valjoux 7733 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and minor signs of use and wear. Bezel shows some signs of lightening due to age. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing. Dial does show some signs of age, particularly to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Unsigned crown. Case back has some signs of wear but is in otherwise very good condition.

Includes one 20mm light brown suede strap.

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We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

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