LTG Calibres

I’m continuing with the task of attempting to define which calibres were LTG in origin and which were M&ST. My main aim in doing so is an attempt to shed some light on the currently unknown history of that company. We have a fair outline of who M&ST are and how they developed, but LTG appear to have appeared fully formed and we know almost nothing at all about them.

We know that they produced both lever and cylinder calibres, and they did better in the Exhibitions than M&ST. Having lever calibres and had patented a stem set mechanism when many companies, including M&ST were still using a pin set technique though they were not of the upper tier of watchmakers. The picture then is of a reasonably technically competent company.

The first calibres that I and I think others associate with LTG are those that carry the stem set patent, and these are always found with a particular design of calibre – without a centre wheel, which is now a very popular calibre layout.

Putting these aside, the starting point is the 18 ligne calibre 33 (a number assigned purely for my reference). This is one I’ve discussed before, but to me it is the key to understanding LTG. One of my examples is marked LTG with a dial marked Marlboro, the other two are unmarked but have Roamer dials. The LTG marking would suggest a pre merger date.

Points to note. Lever calibre, stem set, rocker setting with its wire setting spring offset to the side and stop arms to limit movement. Note also the click design, Both rocker and the click were used by many others but the distinctions are in the details. Note too the distinctive pear shape of the hairspring stud carrier,and the decoration of the bridge plates.

The stem setting is interesting because it took until around 1920 for M&ST to change over from pin set of the rocker on their calibres.

The similarity with the MST 6 which is an 18 ligne cylinder calibre immediately become obvious

Note again stem set, rocker setting with offset spring, click design, pear shaped hairspring stud carrier and bridge decoration.

Of course none of these things in themselves are conclusive, and there are some obvious contradictions. One example of this is the calibre 36, but this is a lever set design for the US market and I can’t date it, so it may be a later product. To the 6 we can of course add the 7 and the 12/13 as the latter are merely size variations.

This is the 12 and the similarities are the same.

This perhaps then reveals the cylinders that we know from the adverts that LTG produced. Here for comparison is a typical M&ST cylinder layout.

Note the pin set, rocker setting with proper spring, slightly different click and triangular hairspring stud carrier.

So what of the other lever calibres? The ones with the patented markings have a hidden keyless works so instead let’s start with one that also has a Marlboro marked dial, with a calibre 139

Of course the lever calibre was always more expensive and so a better product is to be expected, although of course some of it is for show.

Note here the stem set, but with a better keyless mechanism with the side set wire spring, click moved to the other side, pear shaped hairspring stud carrier and the typical bridge decoration.

The 137 has a variation on the keyless works.

The 154 is more typical of the 139 but instead of the set lever being held in by the base plate, there is a setting bridge, the design of which is quite distinctive.

Lets move to what we understand to be the first lever wristwatch calibre – the 157

This is stem set with the same design of keyless works and the same pear shaped hairspring stud carrier. At this point the M&ST cylinder calibres were still pin set rocker movements. As far as I can see this calibre is a pure LTG design. The flaw in the argument presented here lies in the 154 connection. Although I have one watch with a calibre 34 that has the typical LTG bridge decoration, it isn’t signed LTG. This may mean that the setting bridge modification happened after the merger, but it seems somewhat of a moot point since the design is a modification of an LTG one.

I have suggested that the 202, released in the early 1920’s, which seems to be the first ladies wristwatch lever calibre is more of an M&ST product as it uses the triangular hairspring stud carrier, but the reality is that the keyless works are pure LTG – and indeed all of the calibres I own carry the LTG logo.

Hairspring stud carriers

After some further working with my database I’m going to run with the working hypothesis that the different shaped stud carriers are indeed the result of different manufacturing facilities. There are some general trends and there are some exceptions, so I want to summarise my thoughts on some aspects of those.

I’ve only looked at the earlier numbered calibres – there seems little point in coming too far past the point of the merger of the companies and certainly all of the later production have triangular carriers so at some point this was consolidated. Nearly all of the early cylinders have triangular carriers and this is no surprise as I can trace the history of many of them back to M&ST before the merger. There are four calibres with rounded carriers – 6,7,12 and 13. Of course these are two paired calibres – open faced and hunter giving us a 16 and 18 ligne calibre which we could assign to LTG. It is interesting to note that these are the first calibres in the numeric sequence of calibres. Of course this is unlikely to be the total number of calibres used by LTG and to that we can add the family members such as 36.

The exception to this is calibre 32

which I think is part of the calibre 48 family – an M&ST design for sure.


Looking at the two however there are a couple of points to note. The 32 is jeweled, which whilst not rare for the 48 is unusual. The second is the balance wheel. The 48 pictured above carries the standard M&ST cylinder balance, so it seems to me that the 32 is an upgraded calibre and so not out of the bounds of possibilities that it was finished in a higher standard facility – such as the LTG operation.

The early levers are on the whole consistently have rounded carriers. In the official M&ST calibre lists the first ones to have a triangular stud are the 175 and the 202. What I did not expect in the whole sequence was that the carriers are consistent across all examples I have – I was expecting that perhaps early ones were rounded with later being triangular, but this is not the case at all – once rounded always rounded even for those pushing into the 1930’s.

The 175 and 202 are interesting as they challenge the hypothesis. So too do some of those calibres I have identified – the 23,26,29 and 35. The picture in that sense with the levers is much less clear. Why would some have triangular and others rounded? The 23 is especially interesting as it is pillar and plate construction and certainly an LTG design, a 189 family member. The 23 however is the calibre which features in the A Michel catalogue and its history is a little muddied.

Calibres 26 and 29 are the 194 and 195 family which have rounded carriers yet have triangular carriers. These two are examples of top of the range calibres, but are undated as yet, and it’s also true that the carriers are stubbier than the M&ST ones.


The evidence is still far from conclusive. Trends are there as well as exceptions. The exceptions can be explained or excused. There is another factor with the levers and that is keyless works layout. It appears that there are three general designs (ignoring the one rocker exception) and the pillar and plate one is clearly restricted to those movements. Of the two remaining layouts (which again are not notably different, mostly in the placement of the setting lever spring) there is no correlation between keyless works and stud carrier design. Since the keyless works are far more fundemental to the design of the watch than a finish it does indicate a common origin to all the lever watches.

LTG Dating

A great many of my watches carry no dating evidence, especially from the merger period, so I’m going to start making some notes.

My original evidence against LTG being the originator of all M&ST lever technology was calibre design. In 1913 LTG registered a patent for the keyless works. This patent number can be seen on a number of the calibres, and the patent shows indirectly the pillar and plate construction used in those calibres. Those keyless works sit in a separate module between the plates. Then there is the train layout – those calibres use a Roskopf style layout without a centre wheel.

The supposed M&ST calibres show none of these traits. So it’s clear that there was a design change – but the question is who made the change? Early M&ST watches are mostly 3/4 plate so in practice that isn’t so far off pillar and plate. So exactly what dating evidence do I have?

1917 MST 189 – LTG Pillar and plate construction, rounded stud carrier post

1918 MST 157 – ‘New’ construction, rounded stud carrier post

1918 MST 175 – ‘New’ construction, ‘later’ keyless works, triangular stud carrier post

1919 MST 23 – LTG pillar and plate construction. Triangular stud carrier post

1921 MST 202 – ‘New’ construction, triangular stud carrier post

I’m not sure I can draw much of a conclusion from that little evidence. There certainly is a difference in stud carrier shapes which would indicate two different production facilities. There is a slight trend that perhaps the merger caused a change in stud carrier shapes. I guess I need to see if that can be ruled out by looking at all the other watches with rounded stud carrier posts to see if they have any other dating evidence. We should also bear in mind that hallmarking dates can be misleading. WWI changed the focus of watch production to mens wristwatches – I have some Medanas that I am certain are prewar production in decorative cases – but are hallmarked post war so we need to factor that into account and remember that modern fast production, shipping and sales cycles were not always the case.

As a side note, what I have described as the ‘later’ keyless works are the most similar to the LTG patent in design, but since they were in use in 1918 (assuming that this single example is not a later service replacement into an earlier case) would suggest that they are contemporary.

Edit: And to muddy the waters regarding the stud carrier – this cal 6 is in an M&ST case, so clearly post merger and has a rounded stud carrier. Technically still possible… and maybe cylinder production took longer to change over… Excuses….

Lightbulb moments

Sometimes it takes putting words on the page to consolidate knowledge just as teaching forces you to deepen your knowledge of things which you ‘know,’ but in truth haven’t really explored fully.

Last week I identified a new bridge variant of the 202 calibre – what I have now numbered the 35

Cal 35

I came across this by pure chance on eBay as I happened to notice the M&S sponsor mark on the silver case hallmarkings. Taking the dial off and comparing to other calibres revealed the family – though it wasn’t a surprise as this seemed to be the start of M&ST doing it’s own hallmarking and I have a number of Delia marked watches (cal 202s) from the same date. Interestingly some of these run sub seconds and some don’t so that is a new marketing aspect I’ve not seen before.

To come back to the point however those Delias also carry the LTG logo on the calibres and this in 1921/21 is a few years after the merger. The question then is whether or not that was because of marketing or because those calibres were being made in the LTG factory (or both of course).

It brought my mind back to the Calibre 6 I mentioned in the last blog and the realisation that yes indeed these were LTG products and not M&ST designs – something I have resisted in my mind I guess. It also resolved a long running doubt I’ve had in my mind over a calibre that carries the Tieche mark (but there are several Tieches) but I had no LTG cylinder escapements to compare to (for a 6 with that mark see below). Now it seems obvious that the questionable movement is related to the 7 calibre.

Cal 36

Which brought my mind back to the varying shapes of the hairspring stud carriers. M&ST use the common triangle shape but a number of the lever calibres have a more rounded (pear shaped, teardrop?). Since the calibre above has that design it seems to me that this could be indicative of LTG design.

And with that here is the MST 6 with rounded stud carrier and the Tieche mark.

Cal 6

So how far does this theory take us? Well for a start there is the cal 157 – the earliest Roamer wristwatch calibre which we’ve been speculating could be the launch of M&STs first lever calibre.

Cal 157

Since it carries the rounded stud carrier it seems more and more likely to me that M&ST bought LTG for their lever expertise and that we can trace the lever technology to LTG and not to M&ST. I am now going to have to start retrawling through my database with this in mind and see where it leads. One thing that has become immediately obvious is the that the 157 and the 202 share a common design, especially around the keyless works. As a side not here I see that sometime in 1921 the set lever spring shape was redesigned on the 202 series to clear the dial foot hole better – something not needed on the 157 as the calibre is larger, but on the old design the relationship is clearer. Kris has commented on the similarity between keyless works in the past and going through my database I see the same designs cropping up – both this and the later redesign. I also see the two stud carrier shapes and now I’m going to have to start to question some of my date assumptions. One of the oddities of LTG is the lack of watches – now I’m starting to wonder that lack is a mistake on my part and if some of the watches in my collection I’ve assumed date into the Twenties in fact are a decade earlier. I guess we will have to wait for more evidence.

The oldest Roamer?

I have an ongoing interest in the early history of Meyer & Studeli, an interest which runs in cycles where I will check for new information becoming available where I actively seek out early watches. There are several areas where I continue to seek out information but without any great deal of success. One are is wondering what happened to all of the early brands that M&ST registered and presumably sold, yet so far I have yet to locate any examples. To be fair the early names are not ones which are easy to search.

1907 card

The card above includes mention of Femina (registerd 1900), Soleure Watch (1901) and Hora (1902), yet does not include Medana (1909). Registration dates thanks to the research of Andreas of The card probably dates to around 1907. Note too the horses and carts – not yet the motor cars featured on later pictures and subtly associated with the factory.

Then too there is the mystery of L Tieche Gammeter, the company that M&ST took over around 1917. LTG first appear in 1903 registering brand names. In 1908 they took part in some joint advertising with M&ST and some other Soleure companies which indicates that there was some degree of familiarity between them.

The two areas of outstanding mystery collide around the Roamer trademark first registered by LTG in 1909 and which later went on to be used by M&ST so successfully that it became the company name. We know that with wristwatches the earliest Roamers we have found date to 1918.

1918 Cal 157

Yet that is nine years after the name was registered and puts that watch firmly in the period when ownership had passed to M&ST. One of my other avenues of research is in speculatively buying watches that might have been made by M&ST or LTG. Many of these turn out to be false trails but even so they have expanded my apreciation of just how interlinked the watchmaking companies were at that time. Some of that is likely because they bought ebauches from the same sources, some of that appears to be from selling calibre designs to each other, all of which can make it hard to be sure exactly who made what.

One of those speculative purchases was this watch which is marked LTG both on the case and calibre.

One of the interesting features was that it contained a calibre that was new to me. Bear in mind that the earlies list of calibres we have dates from 1933, which is easily one or two full calibre generations on from the first world war calibres. Indeed the 1918 wristwatch above is not included in the 1933 catalogue (though a bridge variation is). Finding a new calibre is rarely conclusive given that few are marked, but this case seemed reasonably sure since it is marked and I also found another that had a Roamer dial.

Recently I bought a job lot of broken pocket watches because it included a Roamer pocket watch that appeared to have a reasonable condition dial that I thought might be of use somewhere down the road. I was pleased to find that it was yet another example of this same calibre.

This calibre is interesting because removing the dial reveals that it has a rocker design for the keyless works – a relatively primitive and cheap design. More interesting because LTG patented a keyless works design in 1913 that is often found on their watches. Of course these calibres all seem to be 7 jewel so it might be an entry level calibre with a cheaper keyless works.

Interesting also is the layout of the dial side if we compare it to the M&ST cal 6 (cylinder escapement)

Now, I had always assumed that the MST cal 6 was an early calibre, but we already suspected that the calibres had been renumbered at some point (we only know this as the calibre 6 from the 1933 and later catalogues). In truth I don’t have one I can definitively date and I would assume all I have are post 1919. If this is in fact the case it appears that the 6 might be a redesign of an LTG calibre, or indeed an LTG cylinder calibre. I tend to ignore the 6′s that come up for sale but I guess I need to start looking for datable watches.

Coming back to my parts watch though, it seems to me that this calibre is indeed an LTG one and predates the merger. As such could it be the oldest Roamer watch? None of them have hallmarks, even though two are in Swiss silver cases. However the Marlboro has LTG markings and as such probably predates the merger. Which leaves two with Roamer dials. Before I consider these there is one other indicator of an older calibre and that is that the centre wheel on this calibre runs on a separate arbour to which the canon pinion is a friction fit. In more modern designs the centre wheel, like the other wheels, the arbour is fitted to the wheel. This indicates to me an older calibre design.

Another indicator I have noticed is that older calibres have on the dial side a cirular groove machined into the face.

Here is the Marlboro with groove

and here is the other Roamer without

To me this indicates that the Roamer is newer than the Marlboro, potentially putting the Roamer into M&ST production. Now the parts watch also has the groove but in addition it has a serial number. Now serial numbers tend to be found only from either smaller companies or those selling more expensive watches – it costs money to mark each one, and then of course since there is no point in marking without tracking that number, people have to spend time recording what happens to that watch. I have an M&ST watch with a groove and a serial number, which to me indicates that one predates all my other M&ST watches since I assume that M&ST abandoned the practice to save money – just as they stopped machining the groove (I have no idea of the purpose of the groove, but it must have one). The serial number to me indicates that the parts watch is older than the Marlboro and that would probably make it the oldest Roamer I own – but that will have to remain speculation until I manage to find an older one that is dated.

One other nice thing about the parts watch by the way is that the back of the dial has initials, a first for one of my collection.

Pte. Robert Ross Edmond, 23 Canto, 5th Inf Bd, 2NZEF

MST 229

Sometimes with a watch we get to get a glimpse into the both the history of the watch and one or more of it’s owners.  Such is the case here when I purchased a Roamer powered by an MST 229. The sharper eyed will doubtless have spotted that it has a newly repainted dial.  

MST 229

This is cased in a Taubert & Fils patented waterproof case. Heir to the Borgel cases so prized by collectors; the waterproofing an asset for a military man. Even for its time it was a small watch, but the evidence of Rolex sales in the Second World War indicates that the smaller watches were the most popular with the troops.

Taubert & fils

These cases were in widespread use by a number of watch companies, but perhaps the mostly commonly seen are those used by Mido and the West End Watch Co.  Roamer clearly were interested in producing watches in waterproof cases as in the early Forties they launched their own range based on the designs by Ernest Morf. These Taubert designs are the earliest waterproof cases I’ve seen Roamer use. You might notice that the case is unpolished and this is unusual though I do have an Indian watch with the same finish, so it isn’t unique to Roamer.

This watch is also interesting as it must be an early use of the then new Roamer logo. When I first saw the watch I suspected that the wrong logo had been applied by the redialler but it is also engraved on the movement.  

MST 229

The caseback carries an inscription, which is faint and a little hard to read but works out to R.R. Edmund, 11521, N.Z.E.F.


A little detective work has helped reveal some of the history of the watch and its owner and for that I’m endebted to the NZDF Archive and Trevor Edmond, whose grand uncle owned this watch. Research shows that the engraving should actually read Edmond not Edmund, but I’m not entirely sure if this mistake was down to the engraver or the owner.   Robert Ross Edmond enlisted with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in 1940, but before we consider that, what of the man himself?

Robert was born in 1901 on New Zealands South Island to William Edmond and Frances Paton.  His father worked as a dredgeman, digging gold silt from the river beds where the Clutha river meets the Manuherikia River in the goldrush town of Alexandra, Otago, NZ. For a short while after that his father worked as a labourer and then as a gardener in Dunedin.

Robert, or Ross, as he liked to be known, a man of a quiet and solitary nature, was the youngest of three children in this hardworking family.

Leaving his immediate family behind, Ross moved to the small farming community in Mayfield, near Ashburton where he worked as a labourer. When he enlisted in the Army for the Second World War in January 1940 Ross would have been aged 38 (or 34 according to his army records – a common fiction to avoid the maximum age limits), so an older man to be going off on active service. He claimed to be unemployed when he joined and whether like his age this was a minor fiction, it is certainly true that he was one of the first to do so.

He joined the 23rd Canterbury & Ontago Bn (later to be known as 23 Canto or the 23rd Rifle Bn), part of the 5th NZ Infantry Brigade, 2nd Echelon NZEF.   There is a detailed history of the 23rd here, but in the most summary of overviews, they trained enthusiastically in NZ before shipping over to England where they were part of the Battle of Britain defence against the threat of invasion.  After this they fought in Greece, Crete then North Africa and Italy. It is said that the 23rd was one of the most active and successful units from NZ, though they also had one of the highest casualty rates.

Crete was a little known field of action so I will give an outline as it is relevant. The NZ forces shipped there from Greece, having fought a rearguard action there against the invading German forces. Soon after they arrived in Crete there was a large airborne attack by German troops, most of whom were paratroops and mountain forces, normally reckoned as elite units. The fighting was intense and much of it at close quarters. Eventually the Allied forces were driven off and evacuated the island. Casualties on both sides were high, high enough that the Germans never again attempted this sort of paratroop attack.

The Evening Post reports Robert as wounded in the 18th June 1941 edition, some two weeks after the official records record it, and even this was after the evacuation.


On the 30th June the Auckland Star now reports him as missing. As sometimes happens when fighting is intense and fast moving it isn’t always possible to evacuate all of the wounded and it seems that Ross was left behind in the retreat from the island. This was confirmed when The Auckland Star in the 23rd October 1941 edition reported him as a prisoner of war.


The 23rd had come to Crete with reduced numbers but they left behind 114 prisoners of war of whom 58 had been wounded. Ross is recorded as being held at Stalag VIIIB at Lamsdorf, Poland in August 1943 and this seems reasonable since this was where the later to arrive NZ soldiers captured on Crete were taken including medical officers and convalescents.

His family had to wait for four years for good news, but finally in the Evening Post on the 19th May 1945 Robert is listed as now being in the UK having been a prisoner of war. Now, his sister is listed as the contact; Mrs R McCarthy of 14 Hereford Street, Timaru.


What wasn’t mentioned at this time were the long and forced marches as the Russian forces advanced. It says something for the German Forces that they did this to ensure that the prisoners could be returned to their own forces and not captured by the Russians who did not have a good reputation in this regard. However, good policy though it might have been, it was brutal in its execution and the results were very hard on the prisoners and many died. Ross related that it was the American forces that eventually liberated them, and that the American soldiers took care to discover who might have mistreated them.

More about the Long March can be read here.

After the war Robert returned to Mayfield working again as a labourer, retiring by 1963.  He died in 1972, being buried in nearby Ashburton, which is the main town for the Mayfield area.

So what of the watch?  Well, we don’t know when it was bought.  Certainly it would have been an expensive thing for a labourer to have bought – most men in his position would have been tempted by the cheaper pin levers.  Did he invest his savings and buy it in NZ or did he buy it somewhere along the way?   According to Kris in his blog on military roamers; “Roamer watches were available to Allied military personal in the PX.” It seems likely to me that this is what he did, perhaps when he was in England from the NAAFI in the barracks where he was based.

Did it remain with him in his time as a POW? Contrary to the looting displayed by other forces (including it must be said the Allies) it seems that at the time of the Crete invasion the German officers took a dim view of prisoners being robbed (though there are of course tales of it, but also of German soldiers buying things from the prisoners such as watches for good value). These soldiers were as said before some of the Germans more elite units and thus likely well disciplined. In the camps themselves it was possible to buy Rolexes direct from Switzerland so it seems that things were relatively well ordered there, and so it seems to me perfectly possible that the watch remained safe with Ross the whole time.

I bought the watch from a dealer in New York, so there are still mysteries to be solved for this watch which seems to have travelled around the world at least the once, and has now travelled back to Switzerland with me, even if not back to the place it was built.

Montreuz, Switzerland

Calibre 27

It isn’t often that you can identify a whole new calibre and be sure about it’s authenticity.  I have at various times identified watches that I thought might have been made by M&ST.  Many I have changed my mind about, sometimes I change my mind more than once.  It’s easy to get seduced by a Medana dial and to assume therefore that it’s attached to an M&ST calibre, especially if you have the excitement of that calibre being previously unknown.  But the reality is that Medana dials are relatively common and it’s easy for the speculative restorer to replace a missing or badly damaged dial with a Medana one.  I have to say in hindsight though that it’s rare for this to happen – after all the Medana brand does not carry any price premium.

A while ago I bought this watch

Which contained a calibre I’d never seen before

But of course, M&ST almost never marked their early calibres.  The dial side was promising

but hardly conclusive, so I tentatively assigned it a calibre number and remained watchful.  Interestingly the above watch is stem set but does not carry an MST stamp, so likely dates between 1920 – 1927, and likely on the early side of that because the 1933 parts catalogue doesn’t list it.

And then a few weeks ago, this appeared on eBay from a Romanian lister

It is rare to find M&ST watches of this time which were sold into the German markets and yet this one carries both the Swiss and German .800 silver hallmarks.  But of course that also means no hard dating.  Inside though was what you can only dream of finding.

A Medana stamp on the movement!  So confirmation that this is indeed a previously unidentified calibre.  As an added bonus, as if I needed one, the movement matches two others I had on my watch list.

At first glance these seem quite different, but the clue is in the fact that the top plate is marked out for the places where the bridges attach, so even if a bridge is missing, the punch marks for it are there.  Generally M&ST don’t classify into one family calibres where the click moves from one side of the movement to the other, as is the case here, but it does happen with the 192/226 calibres

Dating is much harder to be sure about.  These are all pin set so prior to 1920.  The oval ‘Made in Switzerland’ stamp suggests prior to 1915 as does the pocket watch type collar on the ratchet wheel instead of a screw.  The watch bottom right is hallmarked 1916 and this fits with the cut out escape wheel depth adjustment.  The other two including the Cal 27 have the older style escapement fixing so dates are probably 1910 – 1915.  The oval Medana stamp is similar to the one on my 1909 Medana, but this watch lacks the number and circular groove milled out of the dial side, so suggesting a later date.

Calibre 59

As with the Calibre 41, the 59 was a major seller for M&ST, though a fraction smaller at 12′”.  Like the 41 it is a 3/4 plate cylinder aimed initially at least at the ladies market.  Just as with the 41 it came in both pocket and wrist watch cases.  Why they would offer such apparently similar calibres isn’t clear, there only being about 1mm difference between the cases of the two.

So far I have only traced the 59 back to 1911, so it is possible that in fact it is a later calibre and certainly it outlasted the 41 at least in terms of popularity since examples dating into the 1920’s can be found fairly easily.

Starting with my earliest datable watch for 1911.

 We see a very similar dial to that used on the 41’s of the same period.  Unsurprisingly the calibre details follow the same pattern.

Plate side we see the stem retaining screw operating directly on the stem and an oval shaped text ‘Made in Switzerland.’  This oval stamp seems something specific to M&ST and so far I have not seen it used by any other manufacturer.  Dial side we see a layout much the same as the 41 with a simple steel rocker with a heel top right on which the pin for setting the time operates.  The click screw is the left of the dial foot hole (and remains there) and the escapement mounting is independent from the plate allowing adjustment.

The calibre remains unchanged until 1915.

Sometime in 1915, we see some of the same changes applied to the 41 a year or two earlier.  Plate side the only change is the text which becomes ‘Swiss Made.’  Dial side we see a new design with a new shape rocker and the balance cock now attached directly to the plate.  Adjustment to the escapement is now done by a cut out around the lower cap on the escape wheel – a change made briefly it would seem in about 1913/1914 on the 41.

I have a 1917 that is the same as the above but reverts to having the oval ‘Made in Switzerland’ stamp.  I await further evidence to see if this is ‘normal’ or could be a later service swap with an earlier plate (the pivots run directly in the plate without bushes or jewels and a plate swap would be easier than rebushing).

In 1921 the calibre became stem set with some modification to the rocker and position of the stem retaining screw.

So the 59 spanned at least a decade of production and remained relatively unchanged throughout it’s life.  Unlike the 41 this as far as I’m aware did not have any variants.



Calibre 41

This 12.5′” ligne cylinder calibre without seconds was one of the companies largest sellers, such that more than a hundred years after it’s launch there are still to be found at least two or three for sale on eBay at any one time, though finding them can be laborious as most are unbranded.

The survival of so many and the ability to date them seems to be the result of the setting up of the UK branch of the company in 1909 (history by Kris).  Although these were cylinder watches and relatively inaccurate, they were still relatively expensive, and, cased in silver cases sold well into the UK market, which gives us dating evidence in the form of UK hallmarks.  I suspect as a result many of these when they stopped working were relegated to the bottoms of jewellery boxes along with the other unwearable items where they remained safe for generations afterwards.

In terms of dating I would offer two cautions which I try and apply as we do have to allow for some time delays in shipping and selling since this was not the world of just in time manufacturing and retail, and also service repair and replacement can mean later versions of the calibre being found in earlier cases.

The 1933 parts listing shows this calibre to be obsolete and stem set.  So far I have not found any stem set versions of this calibre so clearly I have not yet identified the period in which this calibre become obsolete.  I have organised my calibre listing page into an approximate date order, but it doesn’t really explain my rationale and understanding of the calibres evolution, so I will attempt to do that here, though that of course will change as more information becomes available – this is very much a work in progress.

One thing that I should state at this point is that M&ST were extremely inconsistent in timing of the changes that they applied to their calibres.  A design change in one calibre would not be applied to another calibre for years afterwards and this makes it hard to extrapolate dating from one calibre to another.  This can be expected to be a source of error in some of my dating estimations.

I would suggest that this calibre was intended to be a ladies calibre, but interestingly it was always available in both wristwatch and pocketwatch forms.  There is a common perception that the First World War created the so called ‘trench watch,’ but it is clear that this form of watch had been in large scale production for some years before the start of the war.

My first datable watch is in fact in wristwatch form.

1910 Wristwatch

Despite the length of stem on this example I see no evidence of conversion from pocket watch on these.  The fancy case seems common on these earlier examples.

So what of the dating?

Here are the two sides of the above watch.

On the plate side we will see only two change over the years – the position of the stem release and the text used.  Here the stem release screw holds the stem directly and the text is ‘Made in Switzerland.’  On the dial side we can see that the rocker is a simple piece of shaped steel that has a heel at the top right on which the pin presses.  We can also see that there is a removable platform to which the balance cock is attached (note the two alignment pin holes either side of the central screw for the cock as this is typical for M&ST) and the escape wheel lower pivot has a steel cap to it – no jewel as found on the other end!  Later calibres are in fact marked as one jewel so this is perfectly normal for the time.

1912 remains the same but 1914 sees some changes

The stem release screw has changed position and the text changed to ‘Swiss Made.’  Dial side the changes are more dramatic as we have a new rocker which now has a separate pin on which the pin operates and the balance cock now screws directly to the top plate.  What we see now is that there are two saw cuts which allow the height of the escape wheel to be altered if needed.  Also of note is that the cut out for the click spring has moved to the right of the dial foot hole.

Some watches as with the example above have the bottom of the 3/4 plate cut away to allow for a hinge but there seems no particular dating logic for this and as above they are also found in cases without a hinge.

What I would also draw attention to as a general note for comparability with other calibres are the mountings for the posts on which the 3/4 plate rests.


These now have a triangular section.

Now of course not all watches came in silver cases but we can apply the logic of the above dating (and I have evidence in more than one datable watch of the above changes).

This silveroid cased watch has the earlier stem release position but the 1914 dial side.

This steel cased watch has the earlier stem release position and rocker but has a cut out for the escapement adjustment.  This is the only watch I have with this (though it’s common on other calibres), so it seems that it was an intermediate design and earlier than the watch above.

More interesting however is this steel cased watch.

This has the earlier stem release position, but with a nicely pierced plate.  The escapement mounting is the earlier type, but the rocker is of a different type.  What I do note is that there is a serial/ reference number and a circular groove milled from the dial side amongst other design changes on the dial side.  These features can be found on this 1909 watch

So I have provisionally assumed that this is the earliest version of the calibre 41 that I have also with an assumed date of 1909.