17 Nov Omega Rectangle Allongee Bombé – An early Art-Deco XXLTank Extreme Curvex
This is one of these watches that are very hard to find, probably very few have been made as this is an extreme watch even by today`s standards of larger size watches, so probably in the early part of the 20Th century, when this watch was made and wristwatches were appreciated by their small size, this must have been a most uncommon timepieces.
he way it has been engineered is also different from the usual tank shaped watches, possibly to deal with such a large and curved case.
A quick look at the watch: it`s original factory name should be RECTANGLE ALLONGEE BOMBE and this translates as “domed and elongated rectangle”, and I there is a similar, not same watch in Kreuzer`s “Omega Designs” book which publishes an old Omega ad:
Infact on the wrist is is quite huge and it wears like a Frank Muller Long Island watch and it looks a stunner, definitely an eye catcher.
this watch is powered by an older generation cal. C.57, which is an older 10“`Lepine movement, the serial number, in the 1.8 milion range indicates that this movement was made in the early years of the 20th century:
The movement finish is the classic “grenè dorè” – and the main spring and the winding wheel are well finished with a sunray satin and mirror polish on the outer part. The balance wheel is two metals with balancing screws, nice.
The crown is Sterling silver, as the case, and judging by the style and material this seems to be the watch` original crown.
the dial is substantially curved, it is made of “laiton” and treated with s surface silver grené finish, it is very luminous and lively to be so old. The printing is quite coarse by later standards, and this is quite common on these dials. The numerals are exploded, the & and the 12 are significantly larger and the red 12 adds quite a touch to the dial.
the dial is attached to the movement with three feet, a solution that was quite common for Omega till the 1930`s when two feet becaame the norm:
The dial has no indications of tampering, refinishing or restoration and it seems definitely to be the watch original dial
So far there there is nothing unusual from other similar watches, but the case construction is quite unusual:
The actual case is built of two pieces, the caseback and the case cover, these are made of .935 sterling silver and the case is correctly Omega stamped and numbered:
The case cover is screwed to the caseback via 4 screws on the sides, much like in Cartiers tank, the picture below shows the 4 bars where the screws are lodged
The first unusual engineering solution in this case concerns the wristband which is not attached to the case via the classic wire lugs that we would find on similar watches made in this period, rather the wristband is to pierced so taht it can be lodged on the four bars placed in the outer portion of the case:
This solution gives the wristband, and the watch in general, a stronger case, as wire lugs are typically thinner and can more easily break. It is possible that this solution was developed so that the case would not be far too long, as it would have happened using wire lugs, as the case is already 47,8mm long.
The end result is very nice looking and gives this watch a much more contemporary feel.
The other interesting engineering concept used is the one to hold the movement assembly firmly in place and correctly aligned, which – as most people used to wearing these older rectangular watches know – is a recurrent issues st the movement-dial assembly tends to move inside the case and give the dial a tilted look.
In this watch, given its large size this would have been even more noticeable. So the skilled Omega designers lodged the movement in a hefty movement holder ring:
this movement holder has – as usual in these large curvex watches, been filed down where the curved dial touches the ring, and they have also added two small notches in mid-ring.
This ring is positioned between the two movement holders in the inner part of the case, and it is held in position by two screws that engage in the notches, and so hold the movement firmly in place and in alignment with the case:
Last, the thick and beveled mineral glass is placed on the dial:
and the case cover can be positioned on top:
When this is secured via the fur screws the watch closes firmly, there is no movement on the glass, or on the wristband, or on the dial-movement assembly
what a stunning and well built watch !