The mysterious Bourbon

Sitting at my desk, listening to some retro music just to get into the mood and browsing forums, diving into old documents and try to scrape together the information to know something about the watch I am wearing. Those tickings hide a lot of mystery…

My latest post was about flea market treasures. If you have not read it yet, do not hesitate and check it out. I mentioned two watches there, a Citizen and a Bourbon watch. I knew nothing about the last one, and I promised to do the research and share it with you. Here we go.

First of all, let me describe the appearance of it. There is a gorgeous sunburst gold dial with applied parallel baton indexes while the ones at 6, 9 and 12 are square shaped with a pattern which reminds me of the nuclear hazard symbols. It shows the date at 3 o’clock.

Dates are red on white, so all day is a red letter day at least with this timepiece. The hands are so simple, there is nothing special about them, not like the bezel. The fluted like bezel with some flat area provides such a surface for refraction which is in direct sunlight is equal to a light show.

Like almost all vintage watches, this Bourbon also has an acrylic crystal. It was scratched when I bought it, but with the use of PolyWatch, it looks like a NOS one now. The case was gold plated. However, there are just a little yellow on it as a reminder we can appreciate imperfections too.

The sizes are like on a typical vintage watch. The diameter is 35mm without crown, 45mm from lug to lug, thickness is 12mm and an 18mm strap fits perfectly.

If we look at the dial carefully, there are signs that can help the research. The brand name is Bourbon, like the type of an American whiskey. It is Swiss-made and waterproof according to the dial. They wrote 23rd street on it, which is a street in Manhattan, New York City.

Than it comes to my mind that a Bourbon watch can be made for the American market. It seems logical, isn’t it? Sorry to say that, but it was a dead end. We can read a super de luxe sign too, I guess it means luxurious. It was another useless clue.

Why not to pop out the case back and have a look at the machine. On the movement it says Constructa Watch LTD, Swiss made and one jewel unadjusted. After a little search I found out that the werk is a Baumgartner 866. It’s a manual wind, pin-lever escapement movement. By the way, it has a hand-friction clutch on the barrel, also known as a Roskopf type. These solutions are common in pocket watches.

Some source said Constructa was owned by Mondaine, which is a Swiss-made brand nowadays. It also seems obvious, but do not make a mistake again. Dive deeper into the theme and look for evidence, not speculations. And the evidence is better than I expected; according to an official post of the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce, the brand Bourbon and Bourbon 23rd Street were owned by Wilson Watch factory. (uhrforum.de)

The watch was produced around the 60s/70s. We know about the quartz crisis where several brands came to the end or were incorporated by groups and bigger factories. The Bourbon watches were disappeared to give place to the new; the revolution of quartz watches.

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