“A Notable Watch” will be a series of postings in which we take a quick look at an interesting watch. We will start this series by republishing a message that Jeff Simon posted on our discussion forum a few weeks ago, My A&F Heuer Solunar, a Little Family History.
I purchased this watch several months back from a gentleman who has a network of estate sale buyers throughout the eastern United States. With his help and some research of my own, I learned a bit about the original owner, the widow of whom the watch was purchased from days before it was sold to me.
His name was Chester Mitchell Bourne, the son of Chester Wellington Bourne, a Mason who served on the Charleston, West Virginia City Council. The elder Bourne passed away in 1989, while his son passed away last October, according to public records. The younger was born around 1947 — two years before the first production of this watch — so it was quite possibly handed down from father to son.
I received it with a hazy, dirty, scratched-up crystal. It ran, but didn’t keep accurate time. The Solunar register didn’t advance.
As you can see, the dial is signed Abercrombie & Fitch Co, in block lettering. It’s got a crisp Heuer shield and the SOLUNAR marking just above it, also in block lettering (not script, as is often seen). I have not seen this configuration before. Given the knowledge that this is a one-owner/family watch (now two), I’m wholly confident that it is authentic. I submit that it’s either among the very first or very last of the Solunars.
The movement, which I didn’t have photographed by my watchmaker, is not a Valjoux, as most are known to be — it’s a Adolph Schild 1188. I know this because my watchmaker wanted to replace the mainspring and the Valjoux 90 mainspring wouldn’t fit. I ordered the appropriate AS 1188 mainspring (from Sweden!) and alas, it fit.
Here is the watch today:
And finally . . .
Special thanks to Jeff Simon for this initial installment of “A Noteworthy Watch”.
In honor of this posting, we have updated the OnTheDash Galleries of 1950s Solunars, dividing the watches into two Galleries — one for the first execution and one for the second execution. Jeff’s watch is an amazing sample of the second execution Solunar, and here are a couple of additional photos of this beautiful watch. We will be adding some additional Solunars to these two Galleries, so please keep an eye on them.
For additional information about the Solunar, see the article published around 1949, when Heuer introduced the Solunar,
You will also enjoy the Instruction Booklet covering the watch.
December 2, 2014