Wyler 1950c


This Wyler from about 1950 was very advanced for the time. I don’t think I have another watch from this era that is water-resistant and shock protected and, surprisingly, this mid size watch is still quite dressy. The fashion of the forties and early fifties was small rectangular and that makes it even more difficult to make a watch water proof, but this watch achieves that.

The movement is a Wyler signed ETA 1090 with the legendary (at the time) incaflex balance (more about that later). The case is one-piece (monocoque) meaning that only the crown and glass needed sealing.  It is also the first watch, that I know of, that has the “watermark” logo in the centre of the dial, in this case, a “W”

The Incaflex balance

Wyler, as a brand, appeared late in chronological history, 1923, but hit  the scene running with the incaflex, a shock proof system that would stand up to this day. It works by the balance wheel being protected along its diameter by two spiraling, elastic arms, which absorb any shocks to the balance wheel. Wyler gained worldwide notoriety with a spectacular marketing stunt in 1956, when two watches were dropped from the top of the Eiffel Tower and continued to function after the fall.

In 1937 Wyler introduced a revolutionary and effective water proof system.

So, before WW2, Wyler had successfully conquered the two main problems in practical horology.

Why then didn’t Wyler prosper and survive as a brand when brands like Heuer and Breitling who contributed little to technological advancement are today among the most desirable of  marques?

I think it’s because Wyler where ahead of their time; the public didn’t see the need for waterproofness and shockproofness in watches and, rather than a threat, other manufactures and retailers saw these advances as mere novelties that would not last.

Well, Wyler did not last, they disapeared around 1972 but now, a watch that is not water resistant or shockproof would be unmarketable.

This watch is a great piece of horological history.

About robswatches

I’m a horoligical “petrol head”! I love classical mechanical watches, not because they tell me the time, I can get the time from cheap quartz watches, my computer, phone, microwave or just about anywhere. I’m interested in the movements of watches, the aesthetics of case design and their construction, the history and the simple thrill of watching tiny, beautifully finished wheels, pinions and other parts turning and oscillating and marvelling at the craftsmanship that created it.
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