Francois Borgel M95 Movado in 14K Yellow Gold
Few watches tell the world that you know exactly what you’re doing like an FB-cased M95. When one has spent years immersed in the vintage world, they start recognizing shared componentry. You recognize a Singer made dial. You know that Zodiac is running a Valjoux 7734. And you know that one of the greatest case makers in the world is named François Borgel. Or Jean-Pierre Hagmann, but that’s not relevant today. FB made the 1463 Tasti Tondi case and he made this: a quirky mid-50s chronograph in 14k yellow gold.
Case craft and lug shape is entirely responsible for how we interface with watches—how they wear, their degree of subtlety and many other feelings. This 35.5mm stepped-bezel job is in 14k yellow gold, a choice made largely for ease of importation in different markets, and features some of the earliest water resistance tech to ever surround a chronograph. The applied numerals are in matching gold but the best bit are the chronograph hands, a bizarre design choice from this era known as Movado’s serpentine hands. Quirky, but classic.
The watch is not just a case, however. The M95 is one of the most charming vintage chronograph movements. Its pushers are inverted, that is to say that the bottom stop/starts and the top resets. That differentiation means all the cogs that you are used to seeing in a case back are in different places and you’ll often get it wrong out of habit. The calibre was entirely their own, a modular affair designed by Frédéric Piguet. In total, a bewitching and highly unique chronograph that oozes considered taste.
This example has a fantastic case with unusually full lugs. The dial is decent, it has light spots of corrosion and ageing around the numerals, but is overall in great condition for a seventy year old non-enamel dial. It comes from a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this M95 here from The Vintage Watch Lad for 7750 USD.
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