The ‘Ermeto for Cartier’ Restoration Project

Who doesn’t know these little travel clocks that Movado used to make between 1926 – 1958. Movado made them during these years in a large collection of materials and colours.
Mostly covered with leather like lizard but even with stingray and sometimes lacquered in bright colours. The majority of these purse watches were time only models, but Movado also made them also with an 8 days Lemania caliber, or with calendar, alarm and sometimes even a moon phase. The largest version ‘the Pullman’ had an eight days caliber and could be used like a little desk clock,  the mid size was called ‘Master’ had a mechanical movement and the smallest and most popular model was called the ‘Normal’.
The ‘Normal’ had usually a caliber 150 MN that needed to be wind by hand or automatically,
by opening & closing the case. These watches were used by men and women and fitted easily in a mens pocket or ladies purse.
In the early years, the few watch brands that were already established worked quite often together by delivering parts or calibers for watches, to each other. Cartier worked for instance closely with Le Coultre on watches and clocks.
Right during the beginning of the Movado’s Ermeto project, around 1930,
Movado created a few different Ermeto clocks for Cartier. These clocks were entirely made by Movado and sold at Cartier Paris, New York, London and St. Moritz. Other Boutiques were not opened at that time.
Last month I happen to find such a piece at an auction, an early example from 1930.
The Movado models come by quite often, but the ones that were made for Cartier
are hard to find, simply due to the fact that there were not produced many.
The watch is from around 1930 and arrived in very bad shape, not working, without a glass
and the leather definitely needed replacement.


My RevoOnLine colleague Martin Green gave the watch to his watchmaker, to have it serviced and the order a glass for the watch and I could not believe my eyes when it returned. The fitting of the glass, that was especially made, was done very well and the little clock looked suddenly much smarter.
Next problem was to find someone who was able to replace the leather. One would think Cartier Paris, but since the clock was made by Movado, it was not something for Cartier, what I could imagine. So I went around the corner to ABP-Paris.
ABP is a leather atelier with just one shop in Paris, specialized in straps, belts and all other kind of fine leather work. I left the watch in their capable hands and three weeks later this is what FedEx delivered to me.
Absolutely great work, as new, without looking renewed. It’s always tricky to restore a vintage piece, since it can look awfully when it’s done in a poor way. That’s also the reason why we left the dial as it was.
Although this subject has only slightly to do with Cartier and certainly not with what Cartier is today I still hope it was interesting enough. Since I enjoyed tremendously to see the clock getting better and better looking, I just wanted to share this experience with you.


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