Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Herma Diver - 1965? Who knows more?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Herma Diver - 1965? Who knows more?

    Kia ora. A mate of mine purchased this vintage piece a short while ago. No issue with it, however I'd like to see what else we can find out about Herma and this particular model.

    From the normal Google searching I get the following basic info:

    First based in Besançon, Villers-le-Lac and Morteau, and later known as A. Anguenot Anguenot Frères in Villers-le-Lac.

    One of the founders in 1881 was Ulysse Anguenot, born in 1849 in Villers-le-Lac, where you still will find the "Rue Ulysse Anguenot". The company was based in Rue Nationale 5, Villers-le-Lac. Later the company was given another name "Establishment Anguenot Frères" and selling under the brand Herma.


    Herma watches were often equipped with a Cupillard caliber 233, (later known as the FE 233-60).


    Pictures below.

    Although the sellers description stated the movement was an FE 4611, the movement has what looks to be Cal 3811 stamped on the movement?

    The closest photo match I could find was of a 1965 Herma Sous Marine 300m Diver, although clearly not the same (as this model has a helium escape valve), but there are quite a few similarities so I wondered whether my mates watch was an earlier (or later) model from Herma 'marine' family?

    Keen for any views and insights from you knowledgable bunch....


    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200620_170242.jpg Views:	0 Size:	85.5 KB ID:	59548 Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200622_102417.jpg Views:	0 Size:	108.0 KB ID:	59549 Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200622_102110.jpg Views:	0 Size:	82.8 KB ID:	59550 Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200622_102343.jpg Views:	0 Size:	145.3 KB ID:	59551 Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20200622_102138.jpg Views:	0 Size:	90.6 KB ID:	59552
    Last edited by Hammers; 22-06-20, 21:41.
    'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - but lets face it some people have better eyesight than others!

  • #2
    You know, you are part of the knowledgeable bunch ...Interesting indeed, Hammers, and your friend is lucky to have someone who can help him appreciate this vintage sports watch more. I’m not sure I know more, because prior to your post yesterday, I have never heard of the Herma brand before, though hardly surprising as the only French watch manufacturers I could name were Cartier and Yema. There does seem to be a fair number of vintage Herma watches on eBay, so I won’t class them as a mushroom brand.

    Looking at those being sold on the market, I am getting a better idea of this brand. However, there is also one very important thing that I notice. There have been many models and variants of Herma sports watches, but why is it near-impossible to find two of the same? ...Like for instance, I have not found another Herma exactly like the one shown here—this does say something and we’ll get to that in a moment.

    First, I’ll just go through what I can see on face value.


    Originally posted by Hammers View Post
    ...
    Although the sellers description stated the movement was an FE 4611, the movement has what looks to be Cal 3811 stamped on the movement?
    If you zoom in on one of the photos, you’ll see…




    ...not “3811”, but 3611. The movement is an FE 3611 automatic, and as you already know, was produced by France Ebauches SA, a French movement manufacturer that existed from late-1960s to late-00s. The FE 3611 has 17 jewels, 21’600 A/hr, Semi-QuickSet Date, and power reserve of 44+ hours. The Date can be set by advancing the hour hands back-and-forth between 7:40 PM and Midnight.

    The caliber claimed by the seller, the FE 4611, is a later version with QuickSet Date. So, it would only be a 4611 if it can perform conventional QuickSet. Cal. 3611 dates to early-1970s, so am assuming this Herma dates to early-70s.

    A couple of things that I find interesting is that 1) this module is unsigned, i.e. no “Herma” on the movement, and 2) it has no anti-shock device. Most FE 3611 we find in vintage French watches are good quality movements equipped with some form of anti-shock, whether it is Incabloc or Antichoc. The fact that this movement has none indicates that the company that ordered it was quite desperate to cut costs. Because this Herma was produced at the start of the Swiss watch industry crisis of the 1970s, the reason might be obvious.


    Originally posted by Hammers View Post
    ...
    The closest photo match I could find was of a 1965 Herma Sous Marine 300m Diver, although clearly not the same (as this model has a helium escape valve), but there are quite a few similarities so I wondered whether my mates watch was an earlier (or later) model from Herma 'marine' family?
    ...
    I did find a few image references for the Herma Automatic 300m Sous Marine. One here from Birth Year Watches




    This Herma 300m is powered by a Swiss ETA 2472, an older movement with comparable specifications to the FE 3611, but this ETA is typically-spec with Incabloc. The ETA 2472 dates to the mid-1960s, so the 300m Sous Marine was earlier. A few other things to notice is that the 300m’s dial and case back looks to be better quality than the 200m, with more refinement in the dial script. The 300m looks like a quality watch, while the later 200m seems more budget- or value-range.


    CASE:

    Sous Marine” on the dial and case backs of vintage French watches are often mistakenly thought as being the model name. Yema also had Sous Marine divers. Actually, Sous Marine was a French case manufacturer, like how Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA) and Squale were both Swiss case manufactures. Some collectors today critique Squale watches for having the word “SQUALE” on the dial twice, as seen here, borrowing sjb’s wrist shot from a couple of months ago




    What those enthusiasts fail to understand is that the top SQUALE, under the 12 o’clock, is their brand. The curved shark logo SQUALE below is their 60+ years of illustrious history. When Squale made dive watch cases for other watch brands, the curved SQUALE is signed on the dial, not as a model name, but the name of the case producer. Sous Marine manufactured the case of both Herma above, and also for Yema, and "Sous Marine" is on the dial for the same reason as Squale's.

    For both Herma divers, neither the movement nor the case is signed with the Herma name. This, combined with the fact that, as observed earlier, it is very difficult to find two Herma of the model variant, leads me to hypothesize that “Herma” may not have been a watch manufacturer or assembler. Herma may have been one of several brands owned by a company that assembled watches from purchased movement and cases, and its role was more to market and sell the watches. IMO, that is why there seems to be wide variety of vintage Herma, but few of each variant are seen.

    To me, the difference we observe from the mid-60s 300m Sous Marine and your friend's early-70s 200m specimen paints a picture of the tumultuous decade from 1965 to the mid-70s. I wait to hear what others here know of this French brand.
    Last edited by Don; 23-06-20, 08:27.
    On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Don. I've asked my friend for the sellers description as there was a little more information in there.

      Early 70s makes sense, quartz crisis and grade of movement.

      Did Tag Heuer also use Sous Marine cases in some of their early 70s divers?
      'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - but lets face it some people have better eyesight than others!

      Comment


      • Don
        Don commented
        Editing a comment
        You might be thinking of Heuer, Hammers? ...TAG Heuer only started shop in 1985. I don't know of any Heuer dive watch that used Sous Marine case, and because Heuer only started offering divers in the late-70s, may have been too late for them to contract Sous Marine.

    • #4
      What are the case dimensions? Hard to tell from the supplied pics, but could be a Monnin case? Like this one http://www.chronocentric.com/forums/...=read;id=65765

      I saw a few of these during my OE travels. Owned a 300m one that I purchased from a funny little second hand shop near Marseilles. Traded it in the UK a couple of years later for a broken Seiko 7016. Don is probably spot on, a local shop or assembler brand. I’d search for French results or from France to get more info. Or even eBay.fr

      Comment


      • Hammers
        Hammers commented
        Editing a comment
        Case is 43mm including crown and I'd say approx. 38/39 mm without

    • #5
      Originally posted by kiwi.bloke View Post
      ...could be a Monnin case? Like this one http://www.chronocentric.com/forums/...=read;id=65765
      ...
      Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_2295_zpszbgub7i5.jpg
Views:	69
Size:	126.7 KB
ID:	59573

      The case is different, I think. In my honest opinion, this one on Chronocentric is a little suspect, kiwi.bloke. However, I understand why it was sold for €650. The Heuer Professional Ref. 844 had the same exact unsigned automatic movement, the exact unsigned case, bezel (minus the insert), and unsigned crown as the watch above.

      That is, one would only need a Heuer Ref. 844 dial--hands and bezel insert can come from other watches--to successfully pass off as a Heuer 844, worth thousands more. Adding to my suspicion is the fact that this is the only Herma Calypso on the web that has this case and looks like this. If, on the slim chance, that this Calypso is original, it would only add to my view that Herma is more a brand name for marketing a watch.
      On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

      Comment


      • kiwi.bloke
        kiwi.bloke commented
        Editing a comment
        Mine was very close to this one I seem to recall... been 18+ years... Definitely a Monnin case and 300m (all Monnin Heuer like cases were I think?). Not sure it had a Calypso on the dial. I know it was a Herma, as I purchased my parts Yema from the same bloke, spent 30 minutes in the shop and took a whole day to scrub the cigarette smoke from my skin and clothes! Would be good to see the inside case back. Angle of the front pic obscures the crown and shape hence me questioning if it could be a Monnin made case - but like you I'm fairly sure no, but you never know, that is the joy of researching and learning about watches...

      • kiwi.bloke
        kiwi.bloke commented
        Editing a comment
        Note, I purchased mine in Marseilles (or as I like to wind a french mate up with 'the Sewer of France'.) Were plenty of crap pieces around then. Not sure but given its location and the fact I got a ton of my parts watches out of Souqs across the middle east may have been even back then an india like franken market operating. NB: Not for a minute suggesting this is a franken watch!

      • Don
        Don commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you for collaborating on that, kiwi.bloke ...Based on what you recount, it would be possible that this Herma Calypso on Chronocentric is original. The French Copeaurnwatches article that I linked to in Post#7 below says that Herma watches were assembled by FINHOR Holding, which also assembled a few other French brands, later joined with even more French brands during the late-1970s. A few of FINHOR's brands, including Herma, ended operation in 1981, and it would be entirely reasonable to think that, during their final years, Herma watches could have been assembled from a parts pool that the group had remaining in their inventory.

        Even large manufacturers like Omega made some confusing anomalies during the mid- to late-70s, so would not be strange, IMO, for smaller companies to gone a similar path.

    • #6
      I agree that the Calypso certainly is different to my mates Herma.

      The sellers description states:

      'This particular model had a "Monnin" case and dial designed by G Monnin that were used also by Heuer for their first 844 divers in the 70s.

      In terms of movement - stated as
      FE4611 automatic movement?

      'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - but lets face it some people have better eyesight than others!

      Comment


      • #7
        Originally posted by Hammers View Post
        ...

        The sellers description states:

        'This particular model had a "Monnin" case and dial designed by G Monnin that were used also by Heuer for their first 844 divers in the 70s.

        In terms of movement - stated as
        FE4611 automatic movement?
        Yes, weird where the seller gets his information from. Re the movement, an FE 4611 would not have "3611" stamped on it. Also, a conclusive method to determine would be to see whether the Date can be QuickSet, i.e. whether there is a Date-setting position when the crown is pulled out, like we find in modern movements. An FE 4611 would be able to advance the Date in said crown position.

        Whether this is a Monnin case can be checked from whether there is "G. MONNIN" stamped inside the case back. If there is "SWISS CASE" or nothing stamped inside, then there is no evidence of being a Monnin case. In my view, Herma existed at a different point in the timeline than Heuer and Monnin, and apart from the fact the Monnin was a French firm, there has been no documented connection between them. The first ever Heuer diver was from the 1970s, but to be more precise, 1979, which during that rip curl of a decade in watch technology, would have been a light year away from the early-70s.

        Following kiwi.bloke's wise advice...

        ...I’d search for French results or from France to get more info.
        I found this article in French, which if you are like me and have forgotten all the French you learned at school, you can use your browser to translate... https://copeaurnwatches.wordpress.co...ngeuse-so-70s/ ...While it doesn't illuminate our case further regarding the divers, but could be taken in as part of the tapestry. Now a weird question pops up in my mind--why do many Herma divers' case look like those of Russian Vostok Amphibia?
        Last edited by Don; 23-06-20, 22:35.
        On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

        Comment


        • Hammers
          Hammers commented
          Editing a comment
          Naturally I didn't take a pic of the inside of the caseback. Next time I see him I'll take my tools.

        • Hammers
          Hammers commented
          Editing a comment
          The French article is interesting, makes me wonder how many other similar stories of historic brands disappearing in 70/80s, many many.

          Pretty sure the watch is quick set date, so 4611 movement. Which makes little sense with it stamped 3611!

        • Don
          Don commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, many many did, and likely in the hundreds, just in Europe alone. I commented on this recently... https://www.timekeeper.co.nz/forum/w...9329#post59329

      • #8
        Check out this bad boy from my collection. Don't know much about this either - except it looks cool and keeps great time! It's a hand cranker.

        Click image for larger version

Name:	thumbnail_20200623_213911.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	82.4 KB
ID:	59585

        Comment


        • Don
          Don commented
          Editing a comment
          Haha.. Turns out not so rare when there's another Herma on the forum ...Thanks for sharing, Guzz. This particular model, I have seen a few of when I was researching the brand. Those that have been posted for sale online have a French-made Lorsa movement, a P74A 17 jewels, according to one source.

          As implied on the dial, it has an Antichoc anti-shock device. I'm unsure of how this Calypso would sit on the timeline, but would say 1960s. The movement indicates early-60s, but the dial script possibly late-60s.

      • #9
        Guzz, this is to add to what I commented at the bottom of your post above. I was looking at your Herma Calypso again yesterday, and something was bugging a bit


        Originally posted by Guzz View Post

        Click image for larger version

Name:	thumbnail_20200623_213911.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	82.4 KB
ID:	59585

        I realize now that it was the SYDNEY-ICELAND-GMT on the bezel. The last time I checked, Reykjavik is in the same time zone as GMT/UTC… Why is it an hour apart on your watch? ...Perplexing… Then, after a bit of reading, I found that Iceland had only been in GMT+0 zone since 1968! Prior to 1968, Iceland was GMT-1.

        This means that your Herma was manufactured prior to ‘68. Because we have seen reference online that, in 1965, Herma still used the older script logo and yours uses the later script, I would say that we can narrow your Calypso’s production year to 1966-67, plus/minus a year or two for comfort.
        On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

        Comment


        • #10
          Cheers Don. Nice detective work.

          Comment


          • #11
            Shared what we had found out to date with my friend. He was pretty impressed, reckons we like detail. But then again he admitted having 70 plus books on art / paintings....
            'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - but lets face it some people have better eyesight than others!

            Comment


            • #12
              Originally posted by Hammers View Post
              Shared what we had found out to date with my friend. He was pretty impressed, reckons we like detail. But then again he admitted having 70 plus books on art / paintings....


              I'm glad it has been helpful. You never know, this could be his "gateway" watch into the addiction

              Visual art and watches are not all that different, IMO. A painting or sculpture is a physical tangible object that can be described in terms of size dimension, what medium or material was used, who produced it, when, and its intended decorative function. But the painting or sculpture is also an object of meaning, and its existence and relevance has to do with its place in space and time—what came before it, what influenced its creation, the economic/social/political forces that push and pull its creator, what followed it, how were those work affected by its existence, and how the work is viewed today. The fun in watches is that there are no books on these, and it's still a little-explored territory.
              On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

              Comment


              • Hammers
                Hammers commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks Don for all your input on this.

                I think my friend is well on the way to being hooked, he's bought at least 4 or 5 watches in the last 18 months or so.
            Working...
            X