The smaller watch brands: Marvin

In 1893 the MARVIN brand history starts with it’s officially registration in Berne in Switzerland by the Didisheim Family. In 1894 the Company starts operating in the Swiss town of La Chaux-de-Fonds. As early as 1912 the Company becomes a Manufacture in its own right. By 1918 Marvin is one of the largest manufactures in La Chaux-de-Fonds, with more than 300 employees. Below is a great example of one of their complicate watches. A golden triple date chronograph from the late 1940’s.

Marvin chronograph

In 1950 Marvin  launches a special automatic calendar watch and at that time the Marvin company has a workforce of around 200. From this period on the most Marvin wristwatches can be found in the vintage wrist watch market. The watch below is great example of their late 1950’s wrist watches with their own caliber 520. Check out the details here. Take notice of the fact that this is their own movement which is specialy adjusted in 3 positions.

Marvin 1950 cal 520Marvin cal 520

At the beginning of the 60’s, the Manufacture set itself apart with the development of extra-flat chronometers and movements, notably the extra-flat caliber 515. In the 1960’s a large part of the extra-flat chronometers were made by Marvin. These technical innovations were also to be found in the `Victory Chronometer´, which was launched with an automatic calendar. It is shown below, which was part of a 1965 advertisement.

Marvin Chronomtere Victory

Arount the  1970’s, during the watch-making quartz-crisis, Marvin joins the MSR group – Manufactures d’Horlogeries Suisses Réunies. The below pictures features a wrist watch box where the Marvin name is below the Revue-Thommen logo. That is because the MSR was strated by Revue-Thommen in 1961.

Marvin Revue MSR

The other brands were Vulcain, Buser und Phénix. The goal was to share components and technology. The brands established cross-shareholdings. That’s why from 1961 to about 1985 many watches from Vulcain, Phenix, Marvin and Revue Thommen looked the same. Often the only thing they changed was the name on the dial. In 1985 Revue Thommen sold off its shareholding in Vulcain to the latter’s management. Marvin had already quit the deal earlier and Phenix was discontinued in the 1970s already. The remainder of MSR was sold off in 1991 to the Swiss manufacturer Grovana AG from Tecknau (Switserland).  The below Marvin is from the MSR period. If you check out the details here you will find it has a Revue-Thommen symbol on the crown and an generic movement.

Marvin 1970 ETA

Until 2002 when the brand gets revived by a group of skilled and qualified enthusiasts which lauches a new, horology collections in 2007. More detailed information on the brand history is found on their website at www.marvinwatches.com. Below some of their modern pieces, which clearly shows their link to the past.

Marvin Modern watches

Another great example from the 1960’s I found I will not keep from you. It is the Marvin diver shown below. A very sturdy watch with clean design that breaths quality.

Marvin vintage diver

So are all Marvin watches collectable and of high quality. Well not all of them, but I think it is safe to say they made some very interesting pieces. Specialy their watches with Marvin movements are of very high quality. So their pieces from the 1940-1960’s (pre MSR) would be the ones to look for.

 

 

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Date: May 9, 2016
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