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I have a Cyma movement with the only identifying number 212541. Is there a way to identify the calibre from this number? Thanks. Rob
 

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I have a Cyma movement with the only identifying number 212541. Is there a way to identify the calibre from this number? Thanks. Rob
Hi Rob
I don't think I have seen any serial number records for CYMA/TAVANNES?

Best way is to look on Roland Ranfft site (BIDFUN) and check out the CYMA movement there
He is the best source of movement identification
OR
Post a picture here and someone may do it for you

Here is a link
http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&a&2uswk
AND HERE are the CYMA movements
http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&a&2uswk
Regard
 

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Thankyou for the response. I have been looking at Dr Ranfft's archive which is organised by calibre and does have some example serial numbers for the particular calibre. I was hoping to find whether Cyma's serial numbering system related in anyway to the date or calibre. I'm used to the Seiko system. I am having trouble posting pictures to the site. I have posted pictures before but something must have changed. I'll need to read up again on how to do that. Thanks. Rob
 

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Thankyou for the response. I have been looking at Dr Ranfft's archive which is organised by calibre and does have some example serial numbers for the particular calibre. I was hoping to find whether Cyma's serial numbering system related in anyway to the date or calibre. I'm used to the Seiko system. I am having trouble posting pictures to the site. I have posted pictures before but something must have changed. I'll need to read up again on how to do that. Thanks. Rob
Hi Rob
No, very rarely do we have serial numbering to caliber type (Hamilton does)
So you have to search painstakingly through each movement, and being a bit of an expert as Roland surely is.
We can usually narrow down to a date by style of face and/or movement

Try posting pictures
regards
 

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What it needs is for someone to specialise in Cyma. Then they will be able to correlate the dateable watches with the serial numbers. It helps if its a team effort. Until then its going to be difficult to know just what the serial numbers mean.
 

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Agreed as Barry, Mike ( and others ) did with Gruen.
Painstaking work.
 

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Is there a way to identify the calibre from this number?
In a mass-production environment, serial numbers are usually assigned "runs" or blocks of numbers, and usually all the watches produced in a single run will be the same caliber. The NAWCC waltham database (which is based on factory records), in an example of such as system, and since the factory records were available, we can (usually) tell what a Waltham is just by the serial. The American manufacturers were quite meticulous about these types of records; the swiss, somewhat less so.
 

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I'm unconvinced that the Swiss were less meticulous. Rather the issue is that their archives didn't survive the quartz crisis when the factories were closed and the archives were dumped.
 

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In a mass-production environment, serial numbers are usually assigned "runs" or blocks of numbers, and usually all the watches produced in a single run will be the same caliber. The NAWCC waltham database (which is based on factory records), in an example of such as system, and since the factory records were available, we can (usually) tell what a Waltham is just by the serial. The American manufacturers were quite meticulous about these types of records; the swiss, somewhat less so.
Thats because these factories were in the vicinity of the NAWCC Museum
That allowed them (especially with Hamilton) to get the 'dumped' records from these companies

The people that lived and worked in these factories - also live close to the Museum
The knowledge was contained, the records denoted to the Museum
a
 

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I think it's more case that the American factories were soup-to-nuts operations. The Swiss were more of a community operation, with multiple sources of components, and the finished watch would commonly go through two or three different "factories" before arriving in front of the consumer.
 

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I think it's more case that the American factories were soup-to-nuts operations. The Swiss were more of a community operation, with multiple sources of components, and the finished watch would commonly go through two or three different "factories" before arriving in front of the consumer.
Well I got no idea what a "Soup-to-nuts operation" is?
My response was based on observations and discussions from people who (still) work in NAWCC library and gathered the Hamilton and Waltham records
AND
People who worked at these factories
Please explain "Soup to nuts"

A
 

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I'm unconvinced that the Swiss were less meticulous. Rather the issue is that their archives didn't survive the quartz crisis when the factories were closed and the archives were dumped.
Swiss were MORE meticulous
Take Longines, Patek, Breguet, Omega, Jaeger as just a few examples.
Records to EVER detail not just year but customer!
 

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Hi Rob No, very rarely do we have serial numbering to caliber type (Hamilton does) . . . .
RRob, I have no idea who the "we" is referred to in the statement above - but there are databases for at least of eight of the vintage American brands linking movement "grade" to serial number. I would not be surprised if there were quite a few European companies that had some similar records. I have contacted IWC previously and received fairly detailed production details from a serial number for a few very old watches.

pithy
 

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soup to nuts means the entire operation was in house, usually in the same building complex. Of course that usually does not cover the cases which were from specialty manufacturers.
 

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soup to nuts means the entire operation was in house, usually in the same building complex. Of course that usually does not cover the cases which were from specialty manufacturers.
Thanks.
 

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I think it's more case that the American factories were soup-to-nuts operations. The Swiss were more of a community operation, with multiple sources of components, and the finished watch would commonly go through two or three different "factories" before arriving in front of the consumer.
Serial numbers are relatively expensive to apply and track - and if you don't track them then there is no point in applying them, so you will normally only find them on the more expensive Swiss watches. Whilst it is true that even some of the more expensive Swiss brands were assemblers they would be the ones doing any custom work to the ebauches bought in, applying the serial numbers and then selling out to retailers. The different way that the Swiss worked is fairly irrelevant to serial numbers.
 

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Hmm..I'd disagree with that. Serial numbers are an important aspect of the mass production of precision multi-part items. Early automated watch makers like Waltham and Gallet put part of the serial numbers on all the bridges; that wasn't done for the benefit of the consumer or collectors, it was done because you drilled the holes for the pivots while the bridge was attached, and there was enough variance in the machines that if you tried to attach the bridge to a different plate, there was a substantial risk that some of the pivots would be out of alignment. You saw the same sort of thing on watchcases; those odd scratches around the edge of the bezel are usually roman numerals that match up with part of the case serial number, so that they could ensure that the put the right parts together.

Which is where my original post was going. The records we have matching watch calibers to serial number blocks are typically "finishing" records, and that's true of the swiss companies as well. But the "finishing" step in the swiss process isn't necessarily done by the same company that makes the plates or even assembles it. So the swiss records (in many cases) will be incomplete at best. So while companies like Omega and Longines can provide details, that won't necessarily be true of a company like Cyma.
 

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Hmm..I'd disagree with that. Serial numbers are an important aspect of the mass production of precision multi-part items.
Nice theory. Unfortunately it runs aground on the reality that most Swiss watchmakers didn't use serial numbers. And that is true even of those with mass production facilities.

Serial numbers provide tracking and most Swiss watchmakers apparently didn't believe that the cost was worth the benefit. Yes, at this point Cyma used serial numbers, but they stopped using them, and even when they did I think you'll find that they are only marked once and often on the dial side. What you will find on the plates etc are reference numbers but not serial numbers.
 

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Nice theory. Unfortunately it runs aground on the reality that most Swiss watchmakers didn't use serial numbers. And that is true even of those with mass production facilities.
I probably should have noted that its importance was tied to the machining variance; Waltham, for example, stopped numbering their bridges in the 20's, in part because machining precision had improved to the point where it wasn't necessary. And also because their new president was a tightwad who didn't really care about the occasional watch that didn't' keep good time. There weren't a lot of mass-production swiss makers in the early days when serializing the parts was important, so there was no tradition of doing so.

Serial numbers provide tracking and most Swiss watchmakers apparently didn't believe that the cost was worth the benefit.
Actually, I think we're pretty much in agreement on this; the nature of swiss production made serial numbers irrelevent once you removed the need to keep matching parts together (which was the case from around the turn of the century or just after). The U.S. trade barriers forced the Swiss to optimize their production so that they could produce watches quicker and cheaper (and without adjustments) in order to remain competitive.
 

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Agreed as Barry, Mike ( and others ) did with Gruen.
Painstaking work.
Woohoo! I'm a foot note.
bigparty.gif
In studying Gruen it is apparent that the serial numbers were a factory 'thing' atleast as far as the wristwatches go. Remember, that movement production for Gruen was nearly all done in Switzerland with casing being done for the most-part in the USA. Case serials are what have been seen on internal invoices that have survived. Another Gruen collector (keeth) has worked out that once a movement arrived in the US, it was not cased in order of receipt. In fact there is some indications that consecutive serials on movements may have been case months apart. By the 1950s, Gruen stopped using movement serials as well too. The main-stays of the cal 335, 415 and 422 have no serials and these were among the last of the in house (and fully-Gruen) movements to be produced.
 
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