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Some time back we were buying an item on eBay and came across this interesting wristwatch in the sellers other items. Since it wasn't working the price was low and I wanted it because of the Wind Indicator.
After being serviced it runs very well and is quite accurate. Our watchmaker believed it had not previously been serviced and he felt it was about 50 years old.
The case is stainless steel and the bezel is gold, it is automatic and waterproof. It measures 40 mm. lug to lug. The watch is a great one to wear and I get a lot of compliments on it. Of course everyone asks about "the meter at the top" and I get to demonstrate it.
As you can see in the picture, it says "Racine" on the dial, like the city in Wisconsin. Anyone heard of this name before? Can you tell me more about it?
I have seen very expensive recently made examples of wristwatches with Winding Indicators but this is the only one along these lines I've come across. I show it to watch collectors and they draw a blank. Just how common or uncommon is something like this?
And finally, does anyone know what the "U" in quotes above the 6:00 marker means?
Dr. Deborah L. Irvine
Chapter 185 Administrative Secretary
Chapter 185 Membership Coordinator
NAWCC Member 157487
IHC Member 164
IHC Life Member (L4)
|Watch Repair Expert|
In most cases, indicators applied to wristwatches are known as "reserve power indicators," rather than "wind indicators." The reason is essentially like the old joke about the optimist and the pessimist, and the half glass of water; one says it's half empty, while the other says it's half full.
Wind indicators are typically applied to manual wind movements, and indicate the number of hours since the movement was last wound. Full winding causes the indicator hand to go to "0," and eight hours later, the hand should be pointing to "8," etc.
With reserve power indicators, the number indicated is the number of hours the movement should run before all the mainspring's power is expended. When the movement is wound fully, the number indicated is typically high (such as 40, 45, etc.), and as the power runs down, the indicator advances toward the "0" on the scale, indicating that all reserve power has been spent.
In any event, reserve power indicators were common during the early days of self-winding wristwatches, when the winding mechanisms were often a bit uncertain. Some have hands on scales at the top, some have hands with scales in the center, some have numerical disks of various sorts, etc. Of all the various types, I think the one you have is the most common, although it does appear to be in exceptional condition.
I can't tell you a lot about the "Racine" watch company, except that they used "generic" movements, and were actually just marketer, not a producer of watches. It's my understanding that the owner's son started his own watch company, and in order to maintain a "connection" to his father's firm, yet make it distinctly different, he chose the name "Enicar," which is Racine spelled backwards. In my experiences, Enicar watches are a bit less "generic" than Racines (they had several named models, with relatively distinguished styling), but they too always used generic ebauche movements.
For images of a few indicator wristwatches from my collection, click on the following link: http://members.aol.com/cueballcat/Indicators.JPG
The various watches pictured are as follows:
1. Benrus with indicator scale in center
2. Longines "Conquest" with indicator on two central disks
3. Benrus with indicator scale at top (same movement as your Racine)
4. Helbros with indicator disk through window at bottom
5. LeCoultre "Powermatic" with indicator disk through window at top
6. LeCoultre "Futurematic" with indicator dial at 9 o'clock side
And as a "curiosity," check out the pair of Illinois models in the image at the following link:
At the time those were made, Illinois was owned by the Hamilton Watch Company, and they were using the Illinois brand as their "subsidiary" line, something like Caravelle is to Bulova, or Tudor is to Rolex.
Hope this helps!
President, NAWCC Chapter #62
North Little Rock, Arkansas
You clearly put a lot of work into that report. I'm grateful to have so much detail. As I said above I find few people seem to know anything about such watches and I find mine fascinating. Now I know to explain it properly to others!
Recently a Hamilton like the Illinois you showed surfaced, but I really like the styling much better on the one I have.
Only one question remains, what is meant by the "U" in quotes just above the 6:00 marker on my Racine watch?
Thanks again Steve, your responses are always complete and very informative!
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