Unrestored 1940s Movado M90 Chronograph
The Movado M90 is an early two-register chronograph that has largely been consigned to the history books. Recent explosions in value of François Borgel (FB) Patek Tasti Tondis has also pulled up values of M90 and M95 Tasti Tondi case variants. The humble non-FB cased M90 and M95, however, are also exceptional period chronographs. These screwback variants are still quite rare and equally beautiful. This is particularly the case with this unrestored example in yellow gold.
In 1938, Movado employed Frederic Piguet to design a self-contained modular chronograph for a base movement. Watchmaking was something of a cottage industry pre-WWII. There were dial makers, case makers, and movement manufactures. Movado was one of very few houses to master more than one production element. Piguet’s design was intended to be modular, easy to service, and thin (for the time). They are also operationally reversed by modern standards; that is to say that the pusher’s roles are reversed. The bottom pusher is its start/stop and the top pusher is the reset. This movement survived in various forms and sustained Movado commercially until their collaboration with Zenith in the late 1960s.
This 32.5mm screwback case features a rounding and drilled lug. These style of cases are normally 30.5mm, so this chronograph is actually marginally oversized for its period, though still very petite by modern standards. Rectangular pushers, a bit of a throwback, also make an appearance. The handset is Movado’s own, shared with FB case variants. Particularly on these multi-scale screwback M-series chronographs, dials often weather extremely. It is not uncommon for discolouration to become so strong that the registers are no longer visible. No so here.
This example really is a gorgeous one. The case is strong, its movement is working flawlessly, and above all the dial is simultaneously perfectly legible and unrestored. There is one small mark in a subdial from a handstrike, likely in service. Its components appear all original as far as I can say. No note is made of its ownership or service history, though the movement does appear very clean.
Find this M90 Chronograph here from Vintage Times Amsterdam for 7000 EUR.