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Enicar’s new factory, opened around 1922, in Longeau
: WWII WIRE LUG LONGEAU DH SCREW DOWN CASE BACK & BEZEL
Ariste Racine advertising Military Watches
Depending on supplier, year, type and branch of service, watches could have a DIFFERENT code
ENICAR S.A. registers the following trademarks: Enicar, Longeau, Etsira, Savillon and Alprosa.
On October 1, 1913 Ariste Racine (1889 – 1958) and his wife Emma Blatt started a ‘Manufacture d’Horlogerie’ (brand name ‘AR’) in the Rue du Crêt 24 in La Chaux-de-Fonds** (Jura Mountains, Canton Neuchâtel, Switzerland). AR employed 1 watch maker and two external technicians. Ariste’s father was a well-known architect and his great grandfather a well-known watch face painter/designer. More members of the Racine family and in-laws in Switzerland and the USA were active in the watch industry . The economic situation in Switzerland during the W.W. I is hard. There are many bankruptcies and export is hampering. As the name ‘Racine’ was already a registered trademark since 1870 (by Jules Racine Sr.), they used the anagram of the family name. Ariste Racine registered his factory and the brand name ‘ENICAR’ on January 6, 1914.Although that brand name is used as his telegram address, only. In his first ad (see above) in November 1914 “Horlogerie Ariste Racine” is the common name. Ariste and Emma used the sun lounge of their home as their factory. They produced a great variety of lever watches with movements ranging from 4 – 17 Lignes*.
One of their first exceptional products was a pocket watch with the possibility to integrate a compass or picture behind a second and smaller door . He registered 5 models of this design officially on February 3, 1915.
La-Chaux-de-Fonds (aka ‘Watch Valley’) is a famous watchmaker’s center for centuries. Many companies, like Girard-Perregaux, Rolex, Omega, TAG-Heuer, Breitling, Invicta, Gallet, etc. started their life and some are still located in this town. It is also the birth place of e.g. Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (1887-1965), better known as Le Corbusier, the famous architect. His family was involved in the watch industry as well. And of Louis-Joseph Chevrolet (1878-1941), who emigrated to the USA and started (with two others) the Chevrolet Motor Car Company; in 1915 he sold his shares to William Durant, the founder of General Motors.
Despite worldwide political problems Racine’s production in 1914 increased due to the successful export to Russia and because of their first important customer, the Japanese merchant Tenshodo-san. Tenshodo founded his business in 1879 in Tokyo; he imported Swiss watches since 1889; in 1913 he was already the sole agent for Narudan, Tissot and Zenith watches.
Racine opened in 1914 a radium lab as well. Radium was used on the hands of the (alarm) clocks and watches, making them readable in the dark. Soon their home became too small as business was booming. La Chaux-de-Fonds was the center of Swiss watch makers, resulting in a shortage of good and free technicians. Racine rented a part of the house of his mother in Longeau/Lengnau (northeast of Biel, Canton Bern) in 1916. He named that branch of their business ‘Longeau Watch Co.’
Despite the W.W. I and frequent strike actions in Switzerland sales are flourishing. In 1918 Ariste and his wife Emma bought his mother’s house and land next to it; Longeau became the official seat of the new company. Oskar Racine, Ariste Racine’s brother, is joining the company – still named Longeau Watch Co. – in that same year. Oscar’s own business – a shaft factory in Biel – was closed in May 1930. From 1920 the company started to make its own movements. Until then they used mainly movements of Adolphe Schild (AS).
On April 11, 1932 the company becomes ENICAR Société Anonyme (equiv. to Ltd.), with a nominal capital of 50,000 Swiss Francs. In January 1931 the branch at the Plainpalais in Geneva is closed. In 1934, after securing Military Contracts with the Germans for Longeau Watches, Ariste Racine Jr., son of Ariste and Emma, enters the company and as by October 30, 1939, becomes general director
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VINTAGE WWII WIRE LUG LONGEAU DH SCREW DOWN CASE BACK GERMAN MILITARY CONVERSION WRIST WATCH WITH 15 JEWEL FHF 2144 MANUAL WIND MILITARY MOVEMENT. AND SIGNED LONGEAU TASCHENUHR LONGEAU FHF 2144 D 1148 G H CASE BACK. THIS LONGEAU HAS A SUB-SECONDS REGISTER DIAL WITH LUMED NUMERAL DOT HOUR MARKERS AND HANDS. THE 1/10TH OFF SET DIAL & ONION CROWN CASE IS BRASS WITH COPPER THEN NICKEL PLATE WITH A THREE NOTCH MILITARY SCREW DOWN CASE BACK. THE ORIGINAL MATTE BLACK PAINTED DIAL HAS SILVER-WHITE WHITE, BOLD, CLEAR PAINTED NUMERALS & 24 HR MILITARY TIME.WITH LUMED HOUR AND MINUTE HAND AND A 10-60 SUB-SECOND REGISTER. THE ORIGINAL GLASS CRYSTAL HAS SOME MINOR SCRATCHES. ATTACHED IS A SCREW DOWN WIRE LUG LEATHER STRAP. THE MINERAL GLASS IS 42mm, THE CASE IS 51mm, THE CASE CASE WITH CROWN IS 57mm. LUG TO LUG IS 61mm. SCREW DOWN CASE BACK IS SIGNED SIGNED D 1148 G H. THE 1937 THROUGH 1942 FHF 2144 MOVEMENT HAS BRIDGE WORK MADE SPECIFICALLY FOR THE GERMAN MILITARY. THIS CONVERSION WATCH HAS A SCREW BACK STYLE WATCH RETAINER RING. MOVEMENT FEATURES: stem wind and set, sub second, Data 18.5”’, Dm= 41.25mm H= 5.0mm 15 jewels f = 18000 A/h power reserve 41h. CONDITION FINE.
Estimated Retail Replacement Value $1703.00
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