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Hang on! Things might get weird. It's a Louis Rossel thread.

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  • Hang on! Things might get weird. It's a Louis Rossel thread.

    As promised to Andrew here is a reproduction of a thread I once wrote about my Louis Rossels. It is lifted almost verbatim from the original. I am going to do direct uploads of all the photos, so they will be preserved for posterity. I will also break it up into roughly half a dozen posts for ease of navigation.

    Here and elsewhere I am known as a Rado Guy. While this is not untrue I do have another, deeper vintage love. That love is the extraordinarily uncommon brand- Louis Rossel. Over the next few days I will introduce you to one of the wackier and more obscure brands from the latter half of the Twentieth Century

    Very little is known about this brand. What I do know has been gleaned from years of scouring the internets and, more importantly, handling dozens of models over the years of my collecting. We here are probably the largest Louis Rossel resource in the world.
    Louis Rossel was located in Neuchatel Switzerland. They started producing watches in the late 1960s and produced them into the 1980s. I saw a sales receipt for a Louis Rossel dive watch from 1989, but I suspect it was already a few years old when it sold.

    The very first Louis Rossel models, including an alarm watch, were blandly innocuous. The alarm carried over well into the 1970s but lost it's lugs and gained a little style to become some of the tiniest travel alarms around. They were essentially a lugless wrist watch in a very small travel case.

    Construction of the watches was wildly divergent, swinging from cheaply plated base metal models with acrylic crystal , through steel, gold plate and all the way up to chromium hardened steel cases and finally tungsten carbide with sapphire crystals. Their goal was clearly to rival Rado in radical design and advanced material use.

    My watchmaker had actually heard of them and was quite dismissive at first: " house... mumble-mumble", until he got his hands on one of mine. Inside the radical design Louis Rossel followed Rados lead, utilizing high jewel count A Schild and ETA movements. The 1980s models exclusively feature 25 jewel 2836-2s or even 2892s. Construction on their higher end models is exceptional. I have several models that are still more or less water resistant after some 30-40 years.

    On to the watches.

    1968 seems to have been a pivotal year for Louis Rossel. The introduction of Rado models like the Space Wing and the Diamaster seem to have inspired Louis Rossel to re-think their design philosophy.

    My oldest Louis Rossel and their first "forward" design, the Louis Rossel ref. 7624.


    This version of the 7624 came on an LR signed tapered two tone NSA. I have never seen this NSA on a Rado, though I doubt Lous Rossel ever had the clout to get an exclusive design. I believe the 7624 was directly inspired by this famous Rado from the same time period.


    This is a beast for a 1960s watch measuring in at 40mm X 40mm + with a high domed acrylic crystal. The watch is powered by the A Schild AS 1876, with pushbutton quick set date. I cannot seem to find my photos of the LR version of the AS 1876 but here is an identical Rado one.


    That 7624 cost me less than $20 and was bought by accident very late one night,after serving jury duty no less.
    The next 7624 cost a bit more than that. This is a version that dates from the early 1970s and display a lot more funk. This arrived in a nearly unworn state. Note not only the inclusion of Swarovsky markers and the white painted hands but also the new super-funky logo.



    There is at least one more variant of this watch that I would love to get my hands on, but have never actually seen. It is a hardened chrome cased version. The Chrome cased Louis Rossels have a hardness of 1000 Vickers, making them closer to TC than steel for scratch resistance. This model was introduced at the Basel Watchfair in 1972.

    LR Chrome.jpg

    Now, to keep the universe in balance here are two of my wife's oldest Louis Rossels. This is almost certainly the oldest Louis Rossel in the house, a gp model on a bracelet. The middle links are some extraordinarily hard black wood, possibly ebony. It is typically sized, at around 24 mm wide with an acrylic crystal.


    This is a transitional cushion cased women's model. It still bears the earlier LR logo, but the introduction of green Swarovskys and the relatively huge seconds hand points to the future. I suspect it is from around 1970. The ref 1629 measures 25mm X 29mm.


    It is in spotless condition and comes on a two tone LR signed 3 row NSA.
    Solve all your doubts through question mode.

  • #2
    As much as I love the 7624, for me the ultimate Louis Rossel is another, slightly newer model and it's offshoots. The Ref 1624 was introduced in the early to mid-seventies. The first version featured the ETA 2788. and came in a hardened steel case and mineral glass crystal.

    This is my oldest 1624. Note the old Louis Rossel logo printed directly onto the crystal and the newer logo printed on the dial. While this may mean it is a franken, that is not necessarily the case. Louis Rossel, like Rado, was infamous for using up every last little bit. In Louis Rossel's case they were indifferent ot anything that was incongruous. More on this very important point later. I am about 50/50 on the authenticity of this one, leaning slightly towards authentic. The scarcity of any LRs makes two into one highly unlikely.


    The first Louis Rossel I ever bought was this later version of the 1624. Instead of the textured hardened steel, it has the more common chrome hardened case, a flat sapphire crystal and has a 2836-1 inside.


    Signed, solid link SK bracelet.


    The 1624-1 is a hardened steel case that has been electroplated. It is the first model to feature the trademark hexagonal faceted sapphire crystal as well as other typical LR features. This watch was donated to my unofficial LR museum by a forumer here.



    The 1624-1 also got an upgrade from an ETA 278X to this very early 2836


    The LR signed NSA clasp has seen better days, so that was swapped out for a huge gp SK I happened to have lying around.


    Typical case engraving on the gp models


    Some LRs carry signed crowns and some do not.


    The star of my 1624 stable is clearly this early eighties 1624-2. Brushed steel dial, Swarovsky markers, faceted sapphire, a chrome hardened case and a chrome SK cuff style bracelet. This watch has a 2836-2 that still keeps exceptional time.


    Solve all your doubts through question mode.


    • #3
      The ref. 1529 is the women's equivalent of the 1624, specifically the 1624-2. The construction is identical to that of the 1624-2, but with a 26mm X 30mm case. They were powered by the ETA 2671. Not only is this movement still used today but Rado made a COSC Chronometer men's watch using it sometime in this century. My wife has at least two ref 1529s.



      I am not sure why I do not have a better picture of this one. The markers on this watch are printed on the inside of the sapphire crystal.


      Both of these are on signed chrome hardened SK cuffs. It was sometime around the acquisition of the second 1529 that I began to decipher some of Louis Rossels ref numbers. When the last two digits are 24 this signifies a man's/unisex day/date watch, 27 is a man's date only while 29 is a women's date only.
      Solve all your doubts through question mode.


      • #4
        The Ref 1624 and the 1529 were Louis Rossels attempts at making their own scratchproof watch like the Diastar. With the development of the 7724 Louis Rossel finally achieved their goal. It is the first TC LR. While not as large as the 7624s, the 1624 and all it's derivatives were still a large for the time 39mmX 42mm. They dwarf the Diastar and it wasn't until the release of the Diastar XL in 2002 that Rado had a scratchproof with a dial as large as the 1624 variants.

        This is one of my all time favourite watches and if I only kept one tungsten watch, all my Rados would likely go. Not gonna happen though.





        Portugeuse/English day wheel


        This photo is a typical LR configured 2836-2, but it is not the movement from this watch. This watches movement looks brand new.

        Solve all your doubts through question mode.


        • #5
          The 7827 is the end of the 1624 line. Mine features an ETA 2892. I believe these later Louis Rossel reference numbers are based on the date of release, 77 for 1977 etc.

          The 7827 looks superficially like it's predecessors but is actually more than a millimeter thinner, measuring a little less than 10mm high.


          Mine is badly beaten up, but is the only example I have ever seen. It came on one of the last NSA bracelet styles produced, a folded, peaked three row.

          The very grubby 2892:


          There are two more models that are shirttail cousins of the 1624b family, but I do not own either. Mike has a tungsten dive LR that with rotating bezel that is very similar to the 7724 and I have seen picture of one 39mm round chrome cased Louis Rossel that is otherwise similar to the 1624-2s.
          Solve all your doubts through question mode.


          • #6
            I have already mentioned that I believe many of Louis Rossel's designs were "inspired" by others. The Ref 7624 is another of those. This time instead of Rado Louis Rossel seems to have looked to Nivada and specifically their GLX models. I don't actually know which came first but I am willing to believe that LR borrowed from Nivada.The 7624 was originally offered as a hardened chrome watch with mineral crystal but once again Louis Rossel decided to take it further and introduced a tungsten version with a sapphire crystal and took it way over the top. A version was introduced at the Basel Watchfair in 1977. It featured a titanium dial that was dipped in acid. Miles had one fo the hardened chrome versions of the 7624.

            304531 img.jpg

            It's amazing how small a watch can fit a 2836 movement. The 7624 is only 33mm wide and 43 mm long and has a signed fully integrated custom peaked 3 row NSA with the first link being hardened chrome.



            The 7624 is easily the most complex Tungsten Carbide case I have ever seen. The case front and sides have no less than 15 facets, all sharp enough to fray one's shirt cuffs.


            No less than 2 full millimeters of the 12 mm thickness comes from the lozenge shaped sapphire crystal.



            The 7624 was also offered in a gold coloured TC case. I got this one for less than $20. Note that this is a full tungsten case, not a cover like the Diastar has.


            Solve all your doubts through question mode.


            • #7
              Alright! Are you ready? I've taken care of the gateway Louis Rossels and imply there might be some weirdness. Let's get into (?) ones...

              Louis Rossels largest market seems to have been the Middle Eastern Arab nations. Many models have English/ Arabic day wheels. The most popular models there were the slab/lozenge models. First up is possibly the least offensive that I own in this category. the Ref 8124. There are many variations of this watch available in both chrome and TC and in steel coloured or gold coloured. It measure 37 mm X 39 mm and wears quite large. It houses the ubiquitous 2836-2. The crystal is yellow mineral glass. It came in many colours.


              The majority of the slabs come with giant screw down crowns, some are signed and some are not.


              My 8124 is mounted on a signed tapered flat link NSA with textured centre links. This is the all steel version of the bracelet my early 2624 came on.


              Solve all your doubts through question mode.


              • #8
                While the 4124 is not exactly the ugliest LR I have ever owned, I do think it wins the prize for most obnoxious. This might be the watch I would wear to annoy my wife... if I were to do that sort of thing.

                It is 35-ish by 39-ish and it's "presence" makes it huge. Typical screw down crown, this time signed and a giant signed 30mm wide gold SK cuff style bracellet. I do not own this one anymore. Mineral crystal.





                From left to right, a Ref 78224, a 4124, but radically different and a 78327-1. The 4124 is this picture is a horrible plated base metal case. the 78224 is a really large watch, bigger than the other slab models.


                I might as well get the 78327-1 out of the way now too. It is a bit of an odd duck for Louis Rossel. It seems to be a business guy two tone and features an ETA 2824 in it. The crystal is mineral and the watch is slim wearing 35 X 37 X 10 and it comes on a two tone tapered flat link NSA with the textured centre links in gold.


                Solve all your doubts through question mode.


                • #9
                  Some more women's models. Remember me mentioning Louis Rossel always using up everything? Read the dial on this 3124-2...




                  The women's slab models tended to be around 30mm wide and otherwise featured all the hallmarks of the men's versions.

                  A couple of 793124s






                  And a chrome model with blue mineral glass

                  Solve all your doubts through question mode.


                  • #10
                    And finally, the end of our journey. While the dial is kind of nice, this watch has no redeeming qualities. Yes, it's a 2836 inside so it keeps solid time, but, I mean...look at it... The 5124 is a 39 mm wide lugless porthole shaped base metal cased monstrosity with a mineral glass crystal. It came on some custom bracelet or strap too as it has a centre tab.


                    And the ref 71824, a mid-sized pile of junk I picked up one day. Here is the trouble with the chrome hardened steel cases. If it gets like this one, there is no hope.



                    Solve all your doubts through question mode.


                    • #11
                      Thank you Henry, a veritable feast of lovliness.
                      Agreed they possibly took their 'look' from what was going on around them, however there is something very different about them and having found some of their early stuff ( pre LR but made by parent company Home and Watch Co) I see that they were making some very Funky watches way back before Funk was invented.
                      Agreed, that not every model is stunning and TBH some models are quite mainstream , however the ones that are nice are more than nice,more than handsome ,they draw the eye and demand a closer look, and they really stand out as something very different, The 7827 and 1624's ooze gorgeousness,

                      I am building a catalogue of earlier pre-LR model photos and their brand logos to put under each brand name in the Official LR thread so that we can see the fore-runners to LR and I have some theories about why the company went out of business having seen some of their early work. It's painfully slow as there is virtually nothing out there but I am sifting as much as possible to build some semblance of history pre -LR to give a bigger picture.