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Pursuits
Vintage Watches

Monday Morning Find: A Frankenwatch With a Mysterious History

This watch wraps up some history in an attractive package
This Telda chronograph is a combination of a 1950s movement and a 1990s case.
Source: Cosimo via Bloomberg

This watch is a weird one. Some hard-core collectors might scoff at it because it came together over the course of decades, rather than was designed and constructed all at once. But I'm 100 percent on board with this strange little time capsule, as it gives us a glimpse into the history of the watch industry and all its foibles. It's also attractive.

The story of this watch starts with the movement. It's a caliber 185 split-second chronograph movement made by a company called Venus sometime in the 1950s. Venus was absorbed by sister movement maker Valjoux in the late ’60s and production of its high-end chronographs largely ceased. However, in the last few years, brands such as Panerai and Parmigiani Fleurier have re-created the caliber 185 split-second and put it in new watches. The 185 is a beautiful workhorse movement even when finished modestly like the example here.