Today, I’d like to bring your attention to a rather interesting bit of vintage timekeeping – the Lanco-Fon. Of all places, I first ran across this one
while perusing an online auction site. And in fact, I had a hard time finding any more information about the watch outside of that site, as it appears that the company is no longer in production.
From what I found on SomeTimeAgo.com, the Langendorf company started in 1842, and became the largest clock factory in the world near the end of the 19th century. From what I can tell, the Lanco-Fon model came into existence in the 1950’s, and production of the Langendorf lines ended in 1973, after being acquired by the Omega-Tissot group in 1971.
This watch has two items that make it particularly interesting. The first is the fact that it has an percussion alarm built. Likely not the loudest, by any means, but still quite an interesting complication. The second very interesting facet to this watch is that is uses a single crown to set the date, time, and alarm, as well as wind the watch and the alarm! This, itself, leads to a complicated winding and setting sequence to try and remember. I found this on Ranfft.de (also where I found the images):
- Winding watch and alarm: The movement has separate barrels for watch and alarm. They are wound as follows, when the crown is pushed in:
Watch: turn crown in 6h direction.
Alarm: turn crown in 12h direction.
- Attention: A resistance in either direction indicates that the corresponding barrel is fully wound. In this case continue winding only in the other direction.
- Set time: Pull crown completely and turn it in 6h direction.
- Set alarm: Pull crown half out and turn it in 12h direction.
- Alarm on: Turn crown a bit in 12h direction, until a colored spot appears in the indicator aperture.
- Alarm off: Turn crown a bit in 6h direction, until the colored spot in the indicator aperture disappears.
It looks like prices for these watches range from $300-500 (again, from what I can find on auction sites), would make a very interesting, and quite functional, addition to a watch collection. I’d recommend becoming good friends with your local watch shop, as the more-complicated movement may require some specialized attention.
- Movement: manual wind, in-house (Langendorf); 17 jewels
- Case: 36 mm, chromed steel
- Crystal: acrylic