The current situation with generic chronograph movements from ETA being used across a range of brands from commercial to high-end is not a new one.
The development and manufacture of chronograph calibres is a complex and costly affair and since the earliest days, most replica watch brands have chosen to leave it to the experts. These are specialist chronograph manufacturers who supply movements for the brand to sign and case up for sale; such makers as Valjoux, Venus, Landeron and Lemania. The determining factor for both the retail price and the value to collectors was, and is the name on the dial, irrespective of how much extra work was put into the movement.
The best Swiss Invicta Valjoux calibre 22 was introduced in 1914 and used until 1974. This two-counter column-wheel movement has powered chronographs by Heuer and Rolex alongside many lesser known and some obsolete brands. A Heuer with a Valjoux 22 would be £1000+, a Rolex possibly £10,000+, so what price a 1950’s Invicta with a Valjoux 22?
Invicta is a brand currently known for producing aggressively styled replica Invicta watches with movements of debatable quality, yet this rather elegant timepiece has a movement finished no less well than a Rolex of the same era. A truer example of the power of branding would be hard to find.
Find out more about the Invicta Valjoux Calibre 22 (estimate £250 – £340) featuring in our upcoming auction of Vintage & Modern Wrist Replica Watches.