Driva Watch "Maybe 1940s", Maybe Gold"?

The Driva Watch Company was founded 1924 in La Chaux de Fonds Switzerland by the Hirsch family, important watch manufacturers since 1875. But – like many other firms – they succumbed to the 1929 crises with a bankruptcy exceeding 30 million Swiss francs, one of the biggest of the period.

Later the firm was reorganized and in 1938 left La Chaux de Fonds for Geneva, where during the 1940s-1950s they produced several hundred thousand watches per year… of which a large part were “private label” pieces manufactured for US watch companies, including some of the top American brands.

In the years preceding Fidel Castro’s advent to power Driva also was the leading Swiss watch brand in the Cuban market, as well as well established in Mexico and in the Philippines.

However, Driva’s perhaps most notable watch was the long rectangular five minute repeater wrist watch they designed and produced in the 1930s. When a small lever was lifted, these watches would chime the hour followed by a chime for each five minutes past the hour that had gone by. These are very collectable today, but sadly were a commercial failure in their day, with only about 1500 produced despite the company’s tooling-up for considerable mass production.

Indeed, repeater watches had had their heyday in the epoch preceding luminous dials and hands, so that the time could be “heard” even in the absence of light.

Finally, a relatively significant stock of old Driva repeater wristwatch movements turned up in Geneva some 15 or 20 years ago, were cased (mostly into steel cases) by an enterprising vintage watch dealer and gradually sold off via the main international auction houses.

Regarding the present appraisal request, it’s obviously impossible to provide an evaluation based on so little information and without any images of the watch.

Appraised By: Macquid 1 month ago

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Added by: Morphew

Date: 15th Aug 11

Views: 1281


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