Like very few aspects in life, it is often possible in watch collecting for one to both have their cake and eat it too. There are ultra-thin perpetual calendar chonographs, dive-GMTs, modern fusée chains, and value independents. Indeed, we are in something of a renaissance for the width and depth in horological offerings. Say, for example, you’ve always been a fan of the Speedmaster’s aesthetics, but love a good Valjoux 72. Today’s offering does just that, but so much more.
If you’re a bit of a horo-nerd, and I suspect you are, you’ll probably be aware that this is no 70s Speedy knockoff. The Geometer dial predates the very first 2915 Speedmaster by a good few years. It was, in fact, Omega who were highly derivative but successful in scaling. For that significant aesthetic contribution to history, the Geometer has become something of a cult grail, difficult to find in any guise but particularly this unicorn ‘albino’ dial. It is worth commenting that in this period, watchmaking was more of a cottage-industry collaborative effort. There were dial manufactures like Singer and case manufactures like François Borgel. The design similarities were very likely just ‘convergent evolution’ and not anyone being deliberately derivative. Nonetheless, Rodania got the look right first.
The Geometer’s straight lug 38mm houses a Valjoux 72 which was adjusted in three postitions as opposed to the usual two or unadjusted, something which showed they really cared. Total production is estimated at less than a thousand examples, starting around 1954. You will note that although the dial is a carbon 2915 copy, no tachymetre scale is to be seen. Some love that fact, others not so much. I personally find it an endearing characteristic of this watch and something all its own. The Geometer also used radium for lume, which may be equally contentious. Think of this as the Speedmaster’s recluse older brother: smart yet not as quite as successful, handsome, but still almost completely unknown to the everyman.
These don’t surface very often and the results frequently surprise. It’s one of those watches which is rare enough to make condition almost a mute point. I personally only know of two white dials which have sold previously. This dial is really lovely, many I see feature far worse radium burns and degradation. The signatures are correct as is the crown. The case is quite sharp, almost surprisingly so. Its movement does not have the usual signed bridge but instead a signed chronograph wheel, something which has been observed in other, said to be ‘early’, variants. It comes from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Albino Geometer here from Vision Vintage for 12850 GBP.