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Thread: Strange S.58

  1. #21
    Order of the Rebreather with Crossed Swim Fins hurley's Avatar
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    Thank you, Ian, as always.

    I offer a few more data points that may be relevant to the S.58 mystery.

    This information about A Cairelli was gleaned from an Italian website. It is verbatim what google translate gave me:

    "Antonio Cairelli is known everywhere in the collection sector for being one of the largest suppliers, if not the largest, of precision watch equipment to our armed forces

    The beginning of the activity is back in the 1930's, and more precisely in 1932

    Such as Guido Panerai in Florence, Cairelli also has a workshop for repair, modification and assistance located on Trionfale Street, and a real sales point located at 144 of the central street of the course in Rome

    The company deals with the import of watches, above all, if not exclusively, produced by Universal Geneve and Zenith
    Which are customized with their own logo on the dial and often on the cases, and on their distribution to the various armed forces

    The type of product is very varied and ranges from pocket to wrist-style models, from dashboards to table-tops."

    Here is the URL. There is some more interesting info there for the curious: http://www.orologiko.it/forum/viewto...?f=134&t=38974

    Also, it may be helpful to know that Zenith's sales and distribution (and perhaps design and fabrication) collaboration with Cairelli was not limited to the well-known AMI chrono, but involved many different models over many years. Here are a few of the marked examples; it is unknown, of course, how many unmarked examples there might be:

     photo _1_1.jpg

     photo 899111484_tp_1.jpg

     photo Unknown.jpeg

     photo 2n02f6u.jpg

    It also appears that Zenith made virtually none of its own cases for watches like the S.58 in the 1950s; they were outsourced. This might provide an easy explanation for the Breguet clone (i.e. that Breguet and Zenith bought their cases from Nardin or one of the the other casemakers they both appeared to use at that time) were it not for the fact that the Breguet also appears to have the same dial base (observe the dial contours), sweep (painted white on Breguet) and date wheel as the S.58. To me, this suggests that Breguet acquired complete S.58s. I don't think it bought them from Zenith. Needless to say, more investigation is required on this point. I will only add that all of the known Breguet clones have completely sanitized cases -- there is not a mark on them. Draw your own conclusions from that.

    The last thing I will add is that the Italian market in the 1950s was significant for Zenith per Herr Rossler. Here is a nice selection of Italian ads:

    http://www.in-vendita.it/zenith-orologi-anni-50-oro

    I am more excited than ever to get my archive extracts!

    Best, Hurley

    PS. Needless to say, in regard to the odd but very professional bezel, the reference to the "workshop for repair, modification and assistance located on Trionfale Street" is intriguing. Having hypothesized the possibility that the odd bezel might be a Cairelli contribution -- I posted a shot of a vaguely similar bezel on a Cairelli dive watch -- many posts ago, it is nice to find at least some indicia of such a possibility.
    Last edited by hurley; 06-29-2017 at 09:35.
    Hurley
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  2. #22
    Order of the Rebreather with Crossed Swim Fins hurley's Avatar
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    I have gotten a few questions about the Zenith clocks with the metal surrounds. Those are sector clocks with configurable sectorization. Best, Hurley
    Hurley
    Order of the Rebreather with Crossed Swim Fins
    conferred by Sapo of Toad Hall, Comandante Caudillo

  3. #23
    Senior Member Seiji's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurley View Post
    I have always liked the S.58. Great stealthy watch with cool bakelite bezel and mysterious back story. Despite some debunking, I still believe that these watches are connected with the Sikorsky S-58. The other proffered stories make no sense. I won't give them airtime here. Suffice it to say the watch was not even launched in 1958 -- and the geophysical year stuff is just ridiculous. My view is premised on the fact that the very strange font used by Zenith for the S in S.58 matches the flying S logo of Sikorsky almost exactly. The copter was known as the S-58. Moreover, at the time the S.58 watch was being produced, Zenith was making watches for a number of military suppliers. Most people know the Zenith/A. Carelli Italian pilot's chrono (helo pilots, to be exact). And guess what...Italy bought 375 S-58s in the late 50s early to mid 60s. Anyway, I think the S.58 was just another watch Zenith was trying to hawk to people like Carelli. The Sikorsky S-58 was hugely popular with a dozen different militaries. And the aircraft was typically configured for marine use, including most of those bought by the Italians.

    Anyway, let's forget about the name. I found a strange one at Portobello today. It had what I instantly spotted to be an irregular bezel insert. It was a countdown insert rather than the usual useless dot insert. It also had BOTH a white triangle AND a radium hash at 12 -- visible in both daylight and darkness. Very very useful insert as inserts go. The bezel is 100% original and correct. The insert is very old and seemingly original to the bezel (no way you could pry it out and reinsert it). It sits perfectly in the bezel and has exactly the same profile as the standard insert. It is bakelite and very clearly factory made. Perhaps it is just a standard late insert, but I couldn't find any examples on the web. It could be a special order of some sort. knowing how people here think, I am sure there will be suggestions of aftermarket or (not implausibly) borrowed from another watch. It just doesn't seem like that is the case. Too old and perfect. Any thoughts?
    Can you show me the Sikorsky logo that matches the Zenith S.58? I'm looking at the top of the "S" for both 1950's logos and not sure I see the resemblance. Kinda like looking at the Honda H and the Hyndai H. And what of the bird wing? I'm probably looking at the wrong version?

  4. #24
    Senior Member Seiji's Avatar
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    Is this the log that looks like the Zenith S.58?


    This is the only other logo that shows up a lot but that is for Sabina Airlines.


    Nothing on the Italian Navy helicopters.


    Last edited by Seiji; 07-01-2017 at 19:33.

  5. #25
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    The S used by Sikorsky bears only a similarity to the Zenith S. They are not close to being identical.


  6. #26
    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    Sikorsky

  7. #27

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    Estimate 1000 - 1500 GBP
    Fellows seems to have professional stuff
    Last edited by dave; 08-23-2017 at 14:09. Reason: embedded video.

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