Minerva - The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT Geneva Saturday, November 10, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Minerva
    Year: Circa 1930
    Movement No: 1'529'827
    Case No: 480'004
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 19/9CH, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 45.5mm diameter
    Signed: Dial signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    According to the Archives of Minerva, the present watch was manufactured in circa 1930.

    The brand Minerva was registered in 1887 by the watchmaking company Robert Frères Villeret (founded in 1858 as H. & C. Robert). The company owned a number of watchmaking brands (Tropic, Ariana, Mercure among others) but Minerva was considered the top tier of their production. In 1908, the company began the production of chronograph pieces, and by the late 1910s it was highly regarded in the industry, producing chronographs capable of accurately measuring time down to the hundredth of a second. The first Minerva-branded chronographs were introduced in 1923 with the 13’’’ calibre 13-20 and in 1929 the success of the watches was such that the entire company was renamed “Minerva SA, Villeret”. It continuously produced timepieces for the entire 20th century, surviving the quartz crisis, and was eventually acquired by the Richemont Group in 2006. Since then, the know-how of the company has been used to develop Montblanc timepieces.

    The present lot is a remarkable representative of the production of Minerva during the first half of the century. Impressing with its extremely large size of 45.5mm, the timepiece was obviously intended as a technical tool, most probably a pilot’s timepiece. It is powered by cal. 19/9CH, a monopusher chronograph movement developed first for pocket watches in 1909, and later for wristwatches too. The version featured in the present piece is remarkably the first version of this movement, characterized by the chronograph pusher at 2 o'clock. Later, the pusher will be integrated into the crown.

    The black dial with luminous numerals is indeed what one would expect from a pilot’s watch of the time: the black background maximizing contrast during daytime, the large luminous numerals allowing for precise readings during night-time as well. Offered in exceptionally honest and well preserved condition, the present piece will impress any collector with its breathtaking aesthetics and impressive size.


A fine, very large and highly attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black glossy luminous dial

Circa 1930
45.5mm diameter
Dial signed

CHF20,000 - 40,000 

Sold for CHF60,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018