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Hullo people, Here goes post #1 on this forum.

I recently got into collecting vintage watches (when I mean recent, like last month) and previously I had a penchant for american vintage watches, particularly Bulova and found this site really helpful for referencing them.

While I was wandering around the alleys of my city of Melbourne today I happened across a gold trader's store and looking around I saw this wrist watch. I can't find much information on Cortebert save for what everyone else knows and good old wikipedia.

Being a gold trader he couldn't tell me much about the watch (although he was affable) except that he had acid tested it and evaluated that the case was made of 9K rose gold and the watch band it came with was the original band. Judging by the design he thought it might be mid-1950s.

Personally, I love it. It has got a bit of wear, but that just adds personality :p (i do have to give it a checkup though) I've been looking for an art-deco design watch for a while now; the watch stores you find in the city are all inhabited by blonde teenage sales assistants that can only answer, "er...." to such questions as do you have an art-deco style watch? or what type of movement is it?

I have tried to find pictures of Cortebert wrist watches on the internet and they are quite difficult to find (vintage ones) although I did find a picture of a Longines Weems wrist watch from the 1930s, which looked similar, so I am thinking it could be circa 1930s (maybe 1940s) when they started distributing them through Perseo (I think).

The face reads Cortebert SPORT (really faint) and it runs a manual movement (cortebert I assume)

If anyone could help date this I would be most grateful. By the way, there are no markings on the back of the case, the gold dealer at the shop could not open it with his pocket knife, and I am a bit apprehensive about opening it. (Unfortunately the local watchmaker (that I actually trust) is out on holidays and won't be back until the 26th of January).

Thanks muchly
CHUM!

Here is a picture forgive the slight bluriness I misplaced my tripod.
 

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Hi -

I was able to find a fair amount on the Cortébert Watch Co. Google is your friend. :)

Obviously a Swiss company, it was founded in 1865 in the town of the same name as the Manufaktur Raiguel Juillard et Cie. and later renamed. The company really, however, goes back to 1790, when Abraham-Louis Juillard set up an ébauche company in Sonvilier. This company moved in 1876 to Cortébert, and the two apparently merged. From 1890 onwards the company made pocket watches, watches followed.

The company was acquired in 1927 by Ébauches SA, and Omega acquired Cortébert from Ébauches in 1962. Production ceased in the early 1980s and the buildings were converted to apartments. Cortébert brought a fair amount of prosperity to the town and a school was built in 1872, which burned down, along with the entire town archives, in 1959.

The name is currently owned by the Italian company Perseo, the watch manufacturer of Italian rail watches, but there are no production plans for Cortébert. Sales under the name Cortébert stopped in the mid-1970s, but the company has a very poorly documented history and given that destruction of the town archives, there is little chance for it to be reconstructed. There is also apparently no one who has seriously documented the history of the company.

The connection with Perseo is a tad bizarre: Cortébert apparently made the high-quality railroad watches that Perseo supplied in the 1930s to fascist Italy, but did so because Cortébert couldn't sell in Italy because it was a foreign company. Hence the connection between the two. What makes it bizarre is that apparently Cortébert employed largely jewish watchmakers, and they were the suppliers to fascit Italy of railroad pocket watches. :-s:roll: By 1944 Cortébert made 20 different calibres and made special railroad watches that became identified with the company's name. At some point in the 1970s Perseo, which uses ETA movements in their current set of rather lacklustre watches, acquired the rights to the name.

The company was rather high-end: they supplied movements to Rolex and made their own movememnts. They licensed the jump-hour movement (from Joseph Pallweber), which is really the first digital watch. Given the resumé of the company, it may be a candidate for a revival as another high-end manufacturer, much like Baumer & Mercier was recreated a few years ago: however, no concrete plans have been revealed.

The town of Cortébert is not far from Biel, has all if 723 residents (2007), and was run by the French from 1797 to 1815 until the Vienna Congress returned it to Switzerland. It's an agricultural area, with old houses and small restaurants for the tourist trade that are run by the local farmers.

JohnF
 

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wow! thanks a lot for your help.

I did find another cortebert sport from 1945 which is similar looking so I would think they are from the same period.

Nevertheless the rose gold and design makes me all excited anyway. I might wear it every now and then rather than let it sit in its little box
 

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In the US anything under 10k is considered gold filled. I've never understood it because GF is at least 40% gold content of the Karat marked. Our gold traders take advantage to, only $10 an ounce for gold filled. Vs about $650 10k means.....
 

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In the US anything under 10k is considered gold filled. I've never understood it because GF is at least 40% gold content of the Karat marked. Our gold traders take advantage to, only $10 an ounce for gold filled. Vs about $650 10k means.....
I was under the impression gold filled was a mechanically applied gold plating and thus by weight mostly base metal.
 

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I think gold filled = 1/20 (ie 5%) WHEN IT'S NEW!!!

Who knows how much gold is left on a used GF item without wear-through.

Of course, areas with wear-through have 0 gold left in those spots.


Also, I think scrap gold value is modified by how much work/time/effort is required to end with 24k pure gold. I don't know for sure, but I would think that items lower gold percentages would take more processes to "purify" the gold.

(I don't know if "purify" is a real gold term, but it sounded good)


Lastly, the spot price of gold has been varying between $650 and $1000 per troy ounce since last year. It seems to be about $810 today. 10K resale value would be $810 X 10/24 - processing fees = $337.50 - processing fees. Lower quantities seem to be charged higher processing fees.
 

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Well, thanks for correcting me. I should have looked that up before I opened my mouth. I have thought that for years. No idea where it came from.
 

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Hello everyone,

I am new to this site. I am learning more as I read the threads. The information on the Cortebert watch is very interesting. I also own a Cortebert Spirofix manual winding watch. It is a small square watch measuring 1 inch by 1 inch. I tried taking some pictures, but my camera is not as good at taking close ups. However, my father gave this watch as a present sometime in the late 1930s to early 1940s. I have looked it up on line without any success. Yours is the best information that I have read.

The back of the watch has the numbers 8169 and the words "FOND ACIER INOXYDABLE"

When I took it to the only watchmaker in town for service, he was very interested in the watch and wanted to buy it from me, but I obviously will not sell it.

I will appreciate any additonal comments on this watch brand and my watch. Thank you.

Manny
 

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FYI, "FOND ACIER INOXYDABLE" = "STAINLESS STEEL BACK"

Not much more can be said about your watch without some good pictures of the watch and movement.
 

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Like Iamchum I have also come into possession of a Cortebert Sport wrist watch and apart from this forum I have hardly been able to source any information.
 

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Hi, this my 1st post and I'm excited to be a part of it all. I've been collecting vintage watches for about 2 years. I just found this Cortebert Grand Prix and am puzeled by the Rolex style logo on the dial, most seem to have a maltese style cross. Wikipedia says that Cortebert used to make some Rolex movements. Any thoughts, anybody?
 

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Thanks for posting and welcome. This one looks like a 1950s model. Others may know more.
 

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That's very cool. A nice touch with the crown on the dial :-!

Cortebert did make movements for Rolex, I recall the Rolex cal 618, which they decorated and provided to Panerai. These movements can be found in vintage panerai.
 

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Hi Chum.
I had the chance of start collecting wristwatches by mid 2005. At some point in time, I bought several books for learning more and discovered Cortebert as one of the great brands of the past. The entry on how Perseo got the brand is something I had supposed but it is always good to have more information.
So I usually check through eBay what is going on on vintage wristwatches, and once in 2008 I found a Cortebert wristwatch at about us$ 80. As unusual they come, and also being offered by a member registered in my country, I won the bidding process.
When I contacted him, he told me that I could visit him for paying & picking up the watch, and that he had some others. So I did, finding out that he bought the remains of an old watchmaker who passed away recently. He had some 200+ watches, most of them Cortebert (as well as Paris, some kind of property brand of the watchmaker fitted with good Swiss movements). All of them in NOS (New Old Stock) status...
This is more or less the Valhalla of the vintage watch collector: putting our hands in such a collection of unused watches being sold by someone who has not got a clue on what he's selling. So I bought several (including some for my fiancee and mother) for a ridiculously low price.
Later on, I bid on a female watch and made a second round - but at this time he wasn't as cheap as before. Nevertheless, I bought some others at convenient prices.
After that, a month or so later, Cortebert watches NOS flooded eBay, but of course at a different kind of prices. Several watch traders did the same than me - not for pleasure, but for business!
They are really lovely, with thin movements, clear dials, original crowns with either four or five tips stars (there was something on why they turned from 4 to 5 because of supplying Egyptian and Turkish railroads and the four tips star ressembling something of the Crusades...).
I'm wearing one of them as I write this, waiting for my plane in Miami airport. They didn't even need regulation; 40+ years in a drawer and they work as accurately as if they were made & regulated yesterday...
So you have a very good brand watch. Enjoy it!:-!
 

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I have a Cortebert sport stainless steel automatic wristwatch bought from Mappin & Webb in the late 30's it still keeps good time but needs winding as the self winding is not as good as it should be and interested to find details of the maker. on the reverse it has Acierinoxydable and the number 8521
 

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Wow, look at all the first-posters! It looks like there is some kind of Cortebert lurker society! Welcome all!
 

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It is definitely pre mid 40's as I always remember the watch on my fathers wrist and he said he bought it the day before Purchase Tax was imposed to help pay for WW2
 
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