Fontainemelon nickel chrome vintage wristwatch, circa 1935
A chrome and steel manually wound jump hour rectangular wristwatch with retailer’s presentation case
Jump hour or ‘digital display’ wristwatches quickly gained in popularity during the first half of the 1930s. Attribution for the brand or model of this watch is difficult since, although the movement was made by Fontainemelon (whose FHF stamp appears to the movement’s top-plate), as a movement manufacturer that supplied retailers and watch brands with their ébauches, it is likely that this watch would have been sold under a different brand or model name. A number of brands advertised jumping hour watches during the 1930s and the design of the case and form of the apertures of this watch are very similar to a model advertised by Mimo in 1932. At the time of this watch’s production, it was still not unusual for there to be no brand or model name inscribed to the dial or case of a watch. Such a great Art Deco design – there’s no mistaking those stylised numerals. It’s really satisfying to watch the seconds aperture constantly moving in the lowest aperture and the hours jumping forwards at the top of each hour.
The movement itself is a patented variant of Fontainemelon’s calibre 29. To achieve the ‘digital’ display, Fontainemelon modified their top plate with additional bridge work, thereby allowing slightly recessed discs to be mounted in place of hands to the top of the movement. Although the discs for seconds and minutes are continually moving, the disc for hours is additionally geared so that it satisfyingly ‘jumps’ from one hour to the next.
This watch is accompanied by an H. Samuel’s retailer’s presentation case. Please note that due to the age of this watch, timekeeping may vary by around 2 minutes per day.
[M] FHF (Fontainemelon) calibre 29 HS manually wound movement, lever escapement, 15 jewels, bi-metallic compensation balance, 18,000 BPH [D] three silvered discs for hours, minutes and seconds all with Arabic numerals [C] hinged nickel chrome case, the top with three apertures for hours, minutes and seconds [S] movement signed
Length including lugs: 39mm
Length excluding lugs: 32mm
Width excluding crown: 22mm
Depth to centre of case: 7mm
Lug gauge: 14mm
Total weight of watch: 27.5g
This watch has been fully serviced and overhauled and is sold with a one year guarantee and detailed black Bough certificate.