This interesting and rare timepiece is a Minerva pocket chronograph from around 1920. I had a lot of trouble identifying it because it’s unsigned anywhere but I’m pretty certain that it is a Minerva 9 or 10.
It’s a single button chronograph operated by a pusher in the centre of the winding crown. It is a simple, start; stop and reset with a 60 second register and a sub dial 30 minute register. At about 50mm in diameter, it’s a standard size pocket watch.
From the front, this watch is beautiful with its two sub dials and fine hands. But it’s the dial that is exceptional. Enamel with classy roman numerals, each sub dial is clearly marked and chapter markings down to one fifth of a second, for accurate reading.
Now, Minerva made classy chronographs in Gold or Sterling Silver. This watch is made of gun metal, the tough alternative to the precious metals. On the technical side, the watch has a flat hairspring whereas an overhanging Brequet hairspring (more expensive) was the Minerva norm. This watch was made to be used practically more than for a prestigious show piece. Its market was the horse trainer or the sporting coach so, in this more standard model, Minerva kept their name off the dial and even the movement.
This is a special watch to me for several reasons. It is the first watch I collected, before I actually started collecting. Back in the early 70’s my soon to be mother-in-law showed it to me, knowing nothing about it or where it came from. When I showed interest, she gave it to me. I put it away and forgot about it until recently.