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 very even tropical 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.
The condition of this example takes it from a lovely niche chronograph to something truly exceptional. Its case is untouched, the dial a beautiful even tropical tone, the lume even gold and untouched without a huge amount of burn. However, all that being said, it is worth noting that the hour hand’s tip has broken. It comes from a well-regarded retailer with an original box.
Find this Geometer here from Vision Vintage for 15500 GBP.