The first wristwatch of Junghans!

Junghans J53 NOBRK

For me as an enthusiastic Junghans Vintage collector it seemed to be for many years an unreachable goal to snag one of the few first Junghans wristwatches.

A watch with the caliber Junghans J53.

These watches were produced in the late 20s and often on the dial is printed the name "NOBRK" which should be an indication for the balance staff to be unbreakable (NOBRK = nonbreakable).

On the sales box is noted:

"NOBRK" (Pronounced NO - BREAK) …When a watch falls it is usually the balance staff pivot that breaks. The balance staff pivot of NOBRK is so constructed that it is shock-proof and practically NONBREAKABLE.

NOBRK

= NOnBReaKable

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; Front

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; Front without glas

Lange wurde angenommen, dass das Kaliber J53 eine Entwicklung der Firma Thiel war.

Sicherlich gab es einige Verknüpfungen zwischen Junghans und der Firma Thiel aus Ruhla in Thüringen, die schon früh (ab 1908/09) Armbanduhren z. B. des Typs Darling produzierten. Der Konstrukteur Alex Dürer wechselte 1895 von Thiel zur Firma Thomas Haller nach Schwenningen. Bekanntermaßen fusionierte Junghans und Thomas Haller im Jahr 1900 zur “Vereinigte Uhrenfabriken Gebrüder Junghans & Thomas Haller AG, Schramberg” (siehe auch: Thomas Ernst Haller, Kaliber “Meta”). Im Jahr 1902 trennten sich die beiden Firmen jedoch wieder, die Firmengebäude in Schwenningen blieben jedoch im Besitz von Junghans. Ob auch der Konstrukteur Alex Dürer bei Junghans blieb ist unklar.

Vielleicht wurde aus diesem Grund lange vermutet, dass die ersten mit dem Namen Junghans gekennzeichneten Armbanduhren aus Thielscher Produktion stammten.

Thiel Start

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Thiel Start; Version 3; ca. 1952; Front

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Thiel Start; Version 3; ca. 1952; movement

The Thiel Start shown above is significantly younger than the first Junghans wristwatches, nevertheless I have the opportunity to present the clock because it is the youth watch of my father. The clock should be dated to 1952.

 

The Junghans J53 - an in-house production of Schwenningen

After this little off-topic-trip back to the J53:

The caliber Junghans J53 originated in Junghans factory in Schwenningen and is likely to be a Junghans in-house product. It also was used for a pocket watch for ladies (in the catalog from 1927: "Ladies Ankeruhr") sold under the name "Miss".

In catalog 1927 the watches were called „Armband-Ankeruhren“ ("bracelet lever escapement watches") were named after their form of the case: Rond, Carré, Carré Illusion and Octogon and were each plated and polished or gilded.

Dating

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Trade-Mark registration "NOBRK" 1927

All of my Junghans J53 are from the US or UK.

The registration of the brand "NOBRK" took place on September 27, 1927 in the USA (thank you, Uwe, for the reference!).

The name "NOBRK" was registered 04.28.1927 by the "Smith America Inc." in New York (USA) (Source: http://www.mikrolisk.de) .

More Sources: NOBRK filed: May 12, 1927; used since: April 28, 1927 (United States Horological Trademark Index – Registered U.S. Trademarks of Domestic and Foreign Watches & Clocks; Kurtis Meyers).

A butterfly decorates the movement

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; movement

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; movement

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; case back inside

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; case back inside

The butterfly which can be seen on the movements and on the bottom inside of the cover was recorded in Schramberg by the company Junghans AG on 02.13.1925 (Source: http://www.mikrolisk.de). I would put the production of Junghans J53 accordingly in 1927, the German Society for Chronometry says 1929.

Up to the year 1927!

  • Charles Lindberg flies the first human non-stop across the Atlantic from New York to Paris.
  • May 13 is the "Black Market Friday" in Berlin, the stock index of the Statistisches Reichsamt at the exchange in Berlin breaks within a day a 31.9 percent.     
  • Admission to the New York dance club "Savoy Ballroom" costs 0.50 US $.
  • A steak sandwich in the Cotton Club costs $ 1.25.
  • A jacket made of raccoon fur will cost $ 39.50.
  • Daily wage at Ford officially: only 5.00 $, usually 2.50 $
  • The average annual income (1927) in Germany is 1742.00 RM.

A Junghans J53 NOBRK cost $ 5.00.

Today (2014) this would amount adjusted for inflation a value of about 185 US dollars.

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; Werk; movement

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; Werk zifferblattseitig; movement dialside

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; Rückseite; back

Weiterführende Daten zum Werk sind hier zu finden: Junghans J53 NOBRK

The Ingersoll-Versions

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Junghans J53 Ingersoll version; Front; hands not original

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Junghans J53 Ingersoll version; Front; founding condition

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Junghans J53 Ingersoll version; movement

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Junghans J53 Ingersoll version; back

The Junghans J53 was also installed by the company Ingersoll. For more information and questions about this subject, go here: Der Ingersoll-Report.

Other variants

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Junghans J53 Octogon; Front; picture/collection: M. Bütow

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Junghans J53 Octogon; Front; after servicing; picture/collection: M. Bütow

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Junghans J53 Rond Radium; Front; picture/collection: M. Bütow

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Junghans J53 Rond Radium; Front; picture/collection: M. Bütow

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Junghans J53 Rond Radium; movement; picture/collection: M. Bütow

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Junghans J53 Rond; Front; picture/collection: M. Bütow

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Junghans J53 Rond; Front; picture/collection: M. Bütow

Here more Junghans J53 pictures of the Bütow collection. Many thanks to M. Bütow and Wolfgang Ingerl who always provide me with info replenishment!

And another, this time with original pointers in the "Carré" form

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; front

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; front without glass

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; movement

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; balance staff

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; dial

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Junghans J53 NOBRK; dial

In the side light, it is easy to see the height at which the radium lume was applied.