It’s Bastille Day — Celebrate with These Vintage French Watches

Though its neighbors in Switzerland get most of the credit, few realize that France has had a long history of watchmaking.


Though its neighbors in Switzerland get most of the credit, few realize that France has had a long, prolific history of watchmaking. Hell, Switzerland’s watchmaking industry was heavily bolstered by French Protestants fleeing religious persecution hundreds of years ago. Still, even in the last hundred years, France has made some incredible watches — even helping pioneer electric watches — and are just as worthy of collecting as anything from Switzerland.

LIP Skipper

What we like: If you love the super clean, minimalist lines of this watch, thank noted French designer and architect Marc Held. LIP, based in Besançon, France, was one of the country’s most notable watch brands in the 20th century (it even was one of the first brands to develop an electronic wrist watch) but eventually tanked due to social turmoil in the late ’60s and early ’70s. This watch was likely one of the last made by the brand before it was revived in the ’90s.
From the seller: Stainless steel case is in excellent condition with sharp lugs and only the slightest signs of “shop wear” consistent with handling. Dial is likewise in excellent condition with crisp printing.

Learn More: Here

Yema Rallygraf

What we like: Yema is a lesser-known French manufacturer of tool watches, though many serious collectors know the brand for its chronographs. The Rallygraf here is clearly motorsport-inspired, with its dash-like dial and tachymeter bezel. While Heuer chronographs from the same era are exploding in value, this seems to be a more reasonably priced alternative.
From the seller: Case does have signs of use and wear. Tachymeter bezel is in good condition with some signs of wear throughout. Dial is in excellent condition with bright colors and crisp printing. Luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands have gained a fine even patina over time.

Buy Now: $3,950

Alain Silberstein Krono 2

What we like: Alain Silberstein is a French architect and designer who started designing his own watches back in 1990. Silberstein solidified his unique style by adding colorful and fantastical design elements — primarily those zany hands, and that’s certainly on full display in this colorful chronograph.
From the seller: N/A

Inquire: Here

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